The other day I was asked what kind coach I am; a great question that I’ll try and answer here.
Over the twenty or so years I’ve been ‘responsible’ for other people in the various teams I’ve managed in the corporate world, and the clients I’ve served as a consultant, mentor and coach, I’ve developed a clear idea of who I am and what I bring to coaching clients.
Firstly, a word about the types of clients I work with: these are typically high-achieving individuals who have reached the stage in their career where they are looking to advance further, or wish to get back on track, possibly even consider a change of direction. A common theme is that they desire to focus on developing their working life so that it has more meaning and fulfillment for them.
It may, of course, be a combination of those reasons, but one common characteristic is clients reach out for support because they firmly believe they have scope to make progress.
Having had a successful career myself participating, leading and facilitating change in large organisations, I know what it takes to achieve career advancement, and what it means for both the individual and the organisation in which they work. I bring that experience and knowledge to clients who experience improved effectiveness, a greater sense of direction and control, and more satisfaction in their work. Their employers also enjoy better retention of their talents!
My starting point is that the person I am working with is first and foremost is a highly-valuable individual; with abilities, potential, and the desire to be the best they can be in their working life. They go to work with an eagerness to do good work, to make a contribution and to make progress for themselves and their business. My job is to be there for them, to be their trusted coach, to help them turn those aspirations into real intentions and then achievements.
I always begin with a ‘get to know you’ session, by the end of which both the client and I have shared our ‘back-stories’, the high-level aspirations of the client, and whether we share the compatibility necessary for a productive coaching relationship. What follows is a schedule of coaching sessions (usually six to begin with) at intervals of between four and six weeks, by the end of which the client is ready to move on independently or we agree to continue to work together for a while longer.
In addition to years of experience, there are a range of theories and concepts I draw upon to support my practice including transactional analysis, gestalt theory, relational coaching as advocated by Ashridge Business School, and systems thinking and strategy mapping. I feel it is important to integrate therapeutic theory with business tools to create outcomes that provide value to the client and their organisation.
The client experience
Clients will experience someone who is accessible, approachable, supportive, and when required, prepared to confront and challenge their commitment to making progress. I operate in the same working world they deal with and have often travelled a similar path to their own and can bring empathy and understanding to their situation. It’s much more than a ‘fireside chat’; the focus is on gaining clarity on goals, the rigorous development of an action plan, and a shared commitment to tangible progress being achieved. Mentoring advice can also be provided when necessary to help remove a blockage related to a specific professional difficulty.
The outcome of the coaching process is a re-energised client, more in touch with their true aspirations and intentions, and with a greater openness to personal and professional growth. There is also a renewed desire to making valuable contributions to both self-development and the organisation.
If you are interested in discussing a possible coaching assignment for yourself, or others in your team, please get in touch. I’d be delighted to speak with you.