Equally coaches needs to understand that each business is unique and not simply a cookie-cutter exercise in “helping” people see they need coaching.
Sometimes some coaches suffer from the delusion that they know more than their hapless clients. And it’s probably happened to all of us coaches at one stage or another.
That’s the wrong approach.
Coaches should realise they know a lot about some aspects of business or personal lives and “how to coach” and their client knows an awful lot about their current situation, what they’ve tried before, what worked and what didn’t.
A good executive coach should bear in mind these 10 “rules” for coaching
- Listen, listen and listen again before saying anything about your clients lives or business
- Do not be judgmental, people get to where they are through a series of choices, some of which are forced. You don’t know what they are. A coach’s job is to move them on from here and now, not sigh about how they got there or where they’re from.
- Qualifications do not make a coach, no matter what everyone else thinks if you don’t get results you’re not coaching right – qualified or not
- Don’t be all things to all men. If you don’t know the subject inform your client so that they understand they’re using you purely as a sounding board and you have no expertise in the area to assist them with.
- Your clients have lives, let them live them. If they can’t do some work you both agreed don’t get on their backs, unless you know it’s simply an excuse
- If your client and you don’t have some fun get out of that coaching relationship.
- A new client has ideas about how they want to be coached, how frequently and whether they want to be held accountable. Discuss it with them and explain how that fits in with the way you work. If it’s a good fit great. If it’s a bad fit, explain why and let the client decide whether they could be coached using the process you describe. If they’re don’t want to change you both know where you stand and you need to release your new client. Because you know it’s never going to work!
- If you discover that your client is not implementing what you’ve agreed with them. Find out why, then agree a reasonable time table to do so. After all you get your kicks from seeing how your coaching helps your client grow as a business and as a person. If the client is unable to commit to taking action fire them!
- Love your clients. You need have the attitude that you’re always there for your clients. Don’t simply do the coaching equivalent of the 9-5 office hours. Continually look out for news items, books, events and other companies that can help your clients.
- Great coaching deserves great referrals but if you don’t ask for them you wont get them. So prepare your client at your first ever meeting by saying you’ll ask for referrals. Then at a good time (delivery of great service, success of a new process or approach) ask for referrals.
Those tips are purely from my own experience and whilst following them wont make you the best executive coach in the world not using them will make you much less effective and of much less value to your clients.
One final tip: If you realise your coaching approach is not for your client don’t abandon them. Suggest other coaches whose approach fits your client.