When coaching, it's all about the client, be that as a professional coach, or a line manager/business owner using coaching skills in their own business, with their own people. But it's so easy sometimes to turn the tables and be the client..oh, so easy...:-)Let Me Tell You About My Day
Coaching is about the client and NOT about the coach, usually. Sometimes a coaching experience might be worth a share if a coachee is stuck ? but not usually. It's all about them ? not you. Honour that.
Well, You're Just Useless Aren't You!
It's bad enough to criticise them for their past ? but this reinforces their own self-doubt about their future. You have even taken away their hope for goodness sakes. A coach's role is to enable potential and open the client's eyes to possibilities. Not slam it shut.
You Think You've Got Problems - Well, Let Me Tell You?
OK, so you've got some issues you are facing yourself. Sorry about that. In a coaching context, you are there to support and grow the client ? not devalue what is truly on their mind, by filling it up with your issues. You can share them ? but on your time, not theirs.
What I'd Do is This?
Now this is very tempting ? and sometimes ('Stop coaching me for a minute, throw me a rope!') it might, just might be acceptable ? yes, I have done it myself! But in the main, the coach's job is to extract the greatness out of the client and then build on their abilities and confidence going forward.
Sit Down and Shut Up, I've Got Something to Say
No, we haven't quite got the hang of this here, have we? Coaching is about listening, more especially, really hearing and asking some challenging questions - maybe. Even listening is all some clients need ? they process solutions as they talk ? it's remarkable. So how does the line above help that? Not at all.
Well, You've Wasted the Last 20 Years of your Life then Haven't You?
Spot the mistake here then? Everyone in the world has value, often untapped and often hidden under piles and piles of history and baggage. Your job is to help them rise above it ? NOT to stick another six of the best Samsonite's on the top!
Excuse Me if I Just Check my E-mail While You're Talking
Ever done two things at once? In the case of a coaching relationship, trust and focus are vital to build the relationship. If you are doing something else when talking to the client, you are not giving your full attention, whether the discussion is on the phone or face to face. Make sure there are no interruptions or distractions.
I'm Not Interested in What's Causing the Problem ? Let's Just Fix it Fast
You could do this?but where will they come next time for a solution. Yes, to you. So when will this stop? When can you get on with your own job? When you take the time to build their ability to solve their own problems ? that's when. It requires questions and a 'blame-free' culture. And it requires a coaching style.
I'll Tell You What Your Problem is?
Go on then, do it. This takes a punch at what their weaknesses are and not their strengths. People already know where their weaknesses are, believe me. Coaches build on strengths and leverage them to cope with areas that the client finds more challenging.
Can I Call You for a Date?
Just for fun this one. But with a serious side. It is challenging to have a professional relationship and have other things on your mind. It is quite hard to be very objective if there are other distractions ? so take care in this area. Though coaching in Starbucks would be my idea of bliss! Oh, yes - and according to the International Coach Federation, quite understandably, it's unethical.
The constructive way to use this is to take the opposite courses of action to those listed - then you will have the foundation of a valuable coaching relationship with your client, privately or in your workplace.
Copyright 2005 Accredited by the ICF, Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, http://www.coaching-businesses-to-success.com.
(Note to editors. Feel free to use this article, wherever you think it might be of value - it would be good if you could include a live link)
...helping you, to help your people, to help your business grow...