One of the quirks of leadership coaching is that you never know where the coaching will end up. Clients and their organizational sponsors of ten hire a coach for one thing, usually one of the “usual suspects” like: a behavioral or style change, resolving team conflicts, improving leadership presence, changing the culture, or managing multiple priorities. However, as the coaching progresses, something completely different becomes part of the focus for coach and client.
Almost every engagement, the focus of the coaching eventually shifts to the personal toll that leadership takes on the business owner, executive or manager. The coaching shifts to client issues like:
– How can the client find a more fulfilling and significant career?
– How can the client find more time for family?
– How can the client find more time to rest and stay in good health?
– How can the client reduce stress and overwhelm?
In addition, once the client trusts the coach, they often want a sounding board about issues outside of work – a conflict with a spouse, a child that isn’t getting his homework done on time, and of course never-ending issues with the in-laws. The client doesn’t even need the coach to be an expert. They just want to vent, process, and have someone listen to them. One of my colleagues calls these “at the door issues.” That is, as soon as you are at the door ready to end the session, the client asks you if you have a few moments to talk about something a bit outside of the domain of work.
Life coaches reading this are probably salivating right now. These kinds of topics are right in their sweet spot. However, the problem for life coaches is that no client trusts the coach enough to talk about these issues until the coach demonstrates value on more business-related, logical topics. These topics feel safer and less vulnerable. Only coaches with credibility in handling leadership, executive, and management issues get hired. Then, when the coach and client get traction on these issues, the client feels more comfortable opening up about other things.
If you want to coach the whole person, you first have to have credibility to resolve the safer, more logical, leadership-specific issues.
Often, everything fits together. For instance, I worked with the CEO of a billion-dollar health system. His health was at risk because he slept maybe 3 hours every night. His doctor was telling him that he was reaching a crisis point in terms of stress and wellness. When we looked at how he was spending his time, it became clear that his lack of delegation was causing him to do the job of 5 executives (not an exaggeration). We worked on creating a new organization structure and hiring leaders for some of the roles that the CEO was doing. This helped the CEO get more sleep, improve his health metrics, and also feel much more fulfilled in his role. The health system started achieving its goals on schedule, too. If the CEO hadn’t trusted me enough to talk about health, we might never have gotten the results we did.
At the Center for Executive Coaching, we give you the tools to earn the trust and credibility of leaders, managers, business owners, and up-and-coming talent. We do this with a deep, in-depth set of coaching methodologies for the most pressing problems that clients face. We also give you the skills to coach the whole person, once they open up to you about other issues – which they almost always do if you get good at more traditional business- and leadership- related coaching.
You have to be ready, and you have to earn the trust of your clients in order to create a lasting relationship based on significant value.
We can help you develop this kind of depth and substance. Contact me at anytime at [email protected] to find out if we are a good fit.