Coaching – one of the most unpredictable trades in the world. Coaching – one of the “riskiest” jobs in the world for both the coach and the coachee. Coaching – one of the most fulfilling activities in the world.
Coaching is about having respect for the other. Nearly 10 years ago, Aoki-san, a coach from Tokyo, told me over a glass of wine: “To be able to see greatness from others, we must be humble.” From the coach position, we can do nothing for those we “train”, unless they want to change.
Suppose it’s about the top and middle managers in the company: no matter how much the sponsor of the coaching program wants to change the managers – this is not possible. This is not the purpose of coaching. Coach and managers can work together to set goals. They need to keep in mind something important: rather than wanting EVERYTHING, it is better to want SOMETHING. SOMETHING is more than EVERYTHING. Because in coaching, EVERYTHING risks being NOTHING.
The coaching fever has caught the Romanian market for some time, and this fever has unfortunately mystified the perspectives of this tool in terms of people’s development. So, without doing something for themselves or without knowing what to do to increase the impact of their own leadership style, some leaders appeal to external coaches with this request: “Please, fix these managers!”
Many people know, coaching is not to fix, coaching is for development. And yet, one day, a prospective client tells you directly: “Please, fix them!”
What options do you have?
Obviously, you can say NO; sometimes being assertive is a very good way of expressing oneself and strengthening self-confidence. But that will not solve the situation, which is not even about you. Suppose you want to say YES either because it’s a challenging situation or because it’s a mission you want to take.
What should you be doing next?
The first step is to clarify who the clients are and what their purpose is for the coaching program: one pays, another uses your coaching services. Never forget the client who pays. The following questions are key to a good relationship with this sponsor:
Let’s suppose this “Fix’em” program is a success story: How will we know this? What will be different afterwards? (very useful questions in setting goals)
- What are you going to do different then? (it refers to the sponsor’s support for the coachee’s efforts to produce lasting results).
- What else do you want to mention? (it refers to the questions above, and the answers are somewhat related to opinions and/or beliefs that the sponsor often holds, but “what else” brings him to things he has not thought of before, sometimes even solutions to problems its.
If we turn our attention to the beneficiary of the program, to the coachee, if he does not know why he needs coaching (and in Fix’em programs, this is a constant), it is good to ask:
- Dear coachee, please tell me what brings you in this conversation? What do you hope to be different – better – for YOU because of coaching? (these questions help the coachee recontextualize the situation from “my boss wants to do something with me” to “I want to do something for me”)
- The program sponsor wants to invest so that you enjoy the benefits of coaching. What are the aspects that you think the sponsor appreciate about you it comes to making this decision? What does the sponsor hope you to get out of this program? (it creates trust and helps eliminate a possible perception that everything is black).
- What else? (it helps to explore things beyond what the coachee is already conscious about. It’s about getting to “I did not think about that up to now” or “I’ve had a different perspective so far. I’m a little confused.”)
Once you have clarified the relationship with these two types of clients, you need to know how the process will go: directly with the coachee and without the sponsor’s involvement, or a process where all three will be present. Additionally, you need to be aware of the three main challenges of coaching in “Fix it” programs! About all of this in the second part of the article.