I’ve just come back from a coaching session with a new client. It went well and I think the client went away feeling more confident about how to address the issues they were grappling with. However, as usual after one of these sessions, I am reflecting on what I did to help them – and more importantly, if I could have been more helpful by doing something different. Of course I can never know if a different approach would have worked better, but the questions I am asking myself right now are:
- How did being non-directive in my approach help the client?
- Were the questions I asked sufficiently open to enable the client to fully own the solutions that were identified?
- How well did I manage the separation of immediate and long-term goals, in what was a pretty complex situation?
I shall be reflecting on these more myself, and also seeking feedback from the client at our next session. Self reflection and feedback are both important parts of my coaching practice – however well a session goes, there is always something to learn from it, for the coach as well as the client.
What I think definitely helped was to break the situation down into clearly defined areas, and to map out visually how these linked with each other. This gave the client a sense of clarity that was previously missing. This in turn enabled the client to identify a series of decisions for the future, how these connected in terms of timescale and magnitude, and most importantly what the starting points were. Interestingly – and not by design – three clear actions identified related to short, medium and longer term goals: each, at least in theory, enabling the client to begin to address issues which were impacting on motivation and focus, and ultimately on performance.
I am a strong believer in combining a bold vision with a ‘next steps’ approach – considering the big picture and imagining a better, greater future – but also identifying clear and manageable plans of action to get you there. I shall be interested to see how successfully these actions have enabled positive change for the client, when we meet again in three weeks time.