I was talking to a new coaching client earlier this week and she said something that I would love to share.
It was our first call together, so we were spending lots of time designing how we were going to form a powerful team for her — I’m officially a ‘Life Coach’ but what that can actually look like is highly individualized; some clients want to work through challenges and transitions, while others are looking for more of a practical, tactical cheerleader, so we get really clear at the start of our relationship (and throughout our work) to pin down exactly what the expectations are and identify what success will really look like.
As she explained where she is and what she would like some support with, she pointed out that she had worked with several coaches in her career and that what she really likes is that a coach is completely dedicated to listening to her.
Listening. Sounds like a small thing, but it really isn’t.
Think about it, when you meet your friends for drinks to talk and catch up, there’s a reciprocal nature to the conversation; you both share, you both encourage one another, and it might not serve you in a way that will move you forward.
In coaching, it’s a little bit different. When I am with a client, I am with my client. I am not there to interject my own stories, and I am not there to tell them what they want to hear. I am present with them, I listen and listen and listen some more, I ask questions to help them get clear on what they already know but perhaps need to say out loud and act as a bit of a mirror for them to see what they need to hear.
Unlike your well-meaning friends, I am not afraid to point out when you are perhaps getting in your own way and I am there to see your greatness, without a single thought to how lovely you think I am or if you’re going to invite me to your wedding.
Next time you are having a conversation over a frappa-coffee-thing with your best friend and she launches into comparing your relationship with how her boyfriend ‘is the exact same way,’ think about what it might be like to have a cheerleader/kind ear/subjective sounding board sitting across from you, instead.
Save the shopping and gossiping for friend time; think about designing your life with a coach.