Coaches love the sweet spot in coaching – that place where a conversation flows easily with clear focus and emergent insights, and all of that leads to decisive action. There’s a feeling of substantive productivity. As a result of this interaction, Something Changes for your coachee.
In contrast to the productive, flowing sweet spot, there’s this Other Place in coaching. The Place where your session never jells. Never quite comes together. While it may be fabulously flexible, there’s nothing truly substantive occurring. Or resulting.
You know what I’m talking about. Perhaps your coachee meanders throughout the session, with a focus that floats along like a feather on the wind in spite of your best efforts to have a productive conversation.
It may be your coachee sounds caught in a loop, circling the same topics over and over again, never achieving anything resembling forward movement.
Or perhaps you leave the session feeling unsettled because you don’t see how the session served your coachee in spite of his/her declarations that it was “a great session.”
When this happens, it sets you up to go into Coaching Limbo, where you doubt your coaching, and ultimately, yourself. Maybe even your decision to become a coach. Coaching Limbo does more than rob you of satisfaction; it will also slam your self confidence and undermine self trust.
Avoid Coaching Limbo by ensuring your coaching interactions are fully jelled by:
- Being fully present so you can be aware of yourself, of how present your coachee is and of the nuances that show up in the conversation to guide you to ever-richer discovery. (P.S. This may require you to update your understanding of what it means to be fully present.)
- Learning how to invite your coachee to be present and fully engaged. Some of the most un-jelled sessions I’ve observed were that way because the coachee was not truly engaged and the coach did not know how to handle it. Or possibly even recognize it.
- Lingering in the establishing of the desired focus and outcomes for the session to be sure both you and your coachee are fully clear on the objectives.
- Evolving your perspective regarding accountability and learn to invite the mature version of accountability that becomes possible when you fully partner with your coachee.
- Developing your ability to work with the concept of the coaching session as a container. Learn how to co-create the container and how to monitor the container (and all containees!) throughout the interaction.
Bottom line: You can avoid Coaching Limbo, trust your coaching and deliver even more consistent value for your coachees when you apply these guidelines. They are the primary teaching points from the January, 2015, Heart and Soul of Coaching program. If this information is useful for you, be sure you listen to the full program in the audio replay, available here.
In celebration of your deliciously cohesive coaching!