It’s the last coaching blog in the series! If you’ve missed any of the previous nine please click here to have a look. We’ve reached the final topic – addressing the “What next?”. This is a critical part of the coaching process. You need your coaching client to commit to doing something. Otherwise you’ve had a nice chat and that’s that. Even if they have a) articulated a goal; b) explained to you what’s happening right now; c) looked at all the options and set criteria to evaluate those options, it will all come to nothing unless they’ve made a commitment to putting things into practice.
So the coach’s role is to extract more than a vague promise to “do something soon”; it’s to get the client to commit to what they will do, and when exactly they will do it.
It’s also about asking the client “How can I help you to be accountable for these actions?”. It’s not about doing it for them. It’s helping them to keep it uppermost in their minds. For example, your client might say to you “Could you drop me an e-mail between now and the next session?” or indeed they might say “Nothing. It’s up to me to get cracking.” If – and it does occasionally happen – they come back and they haven’t done what they said they would, that’s a conversation in itself. Was it the right goal/action? Were they genuinely committed to doing what they said they would? Did things really get in the way?
The people I coach are senior; they are without exception incredibly busy. The kind of people we all look at and think “I don’t know how s/he does it”! However they are not immune to putting unrealistic expectations on themselves about how much they can do in relation to their coaching actions and when they can do them by. So it’s also my job to check out that they’re dealing with realistic timescales and targets. There’s nothing worse than committing to something that you genuinely want to do and not being able to get it done.
Again, they’re busy and successful people, many of whom thrive on having huge amounts of stuff to get through in a day. Their natural optimism and enthusiasm mean that sometimes they want to commit to a timescale that is ultimately unfeasible. As the coach I act as a check and balance.
This is – I hesitate to use the phrase, as it’s a cliché, but nonetheless it’s appropriate – a journey. It takes time; the road is not always straight; there are potholes and diversions along the way and sometimes people get footsore. But with planning, commitment and the right mind set they get there. They are in the driving seat, but as the coach I’m the co-pilot and my role is to help them keep up an appropriate pace and ensure that they don’t run out of fuel before their destination. If I didn’t help them with that planning ahead of the execution, neither of us would get over the starting line.
Ok. Enough. We’re at the end of this particular journey. But we’d love to talk to you about coaching – whether for you, or one of your team. It’s intense. It’s tough love. But it’s great. We know this because our clients tell us so. Can we tempt you to join that roster?
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.