I went to Georgetown University to learn how to be a leadership coach. My academic training introduced me to the art and science of coaching another person. I had a journal from those days back in 2010, and I often go back and read it. On the first day of the first week of my training, I wrote: an essential part of being a coach is learning to deconstruct another person’s story, so I can understand how they create meaning. I must be curious to be a good coach.
This concept of curiosity and being willing to deconstruct a story is not just crucial for me – it is also fundamentally important for the client. However, there are a lot of leaders who do not know how to be in a coach/client engagement and often struggle to get value out of this vital relationship.
So, what does it mean to be a good client?
I have come across a lot of different people in my ten years of coaching. There are those in pain trying to recover from a professional setback. Others are anxious to promote and want to soak in as much professional development as possible to be prepared. Some clients feel stuck and unmotivated; they need someone to help them get clear on all their possibilities. Certain leaders have clear objectives and bring them into a coaching relationship. And then others do not know the first thing about being coached, but they want to take advantage of an opportunity and see where it takes them.
Here are two tips that apply to every client, especially those in the last category.
There are other ways to be a good client, but these two are fundamental. When I know someone is ready to share their story and is willing to stay open and reflect – growth is inevitable!
In my next post, I will talk about the importance of having clear objectives when working with a coach and how to prepare for the coaching sessions.
Do I know my own story? Who has heard it?
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel of Colorado coaches at a local chapter meeting. We discussed what it meant to have a generative and thriving practice. It was an opportunity to share tips and suggestions with others who are all trying to make sense of what it means to do the work we do in a way that matters.
Our conversations rarely touched on money – instead, we talked about the impact and value we bring to our clients.
I have been in private practice since 2011 and the last eight years have taught me several things. All of them are similar to tending a garden.
You do not have to be a solopreneur for this garden metaphor to resonate. Relationships, projects, work streams, divisions, and responsibilities are all represented in your professional garden. As Spring descends, consider not only what you plant in your actual garden at home, but also your professional one.
Is your garden growth by design, or is it accidental? What needs pruning or watering? Where is the soil ready for something new?
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University