I see so many business coaches that are basically just rehashing the same thing over and over again, their methodology being a one-size-fits-all. Obviously, this is neither interesting nor efficient for either the coach or the client.
First, I spend a lot of time preparing our first session in order to have a much better grasp on the background, challenges and goals that the client mentioned in their message. I usually ask for at least a CV, description of the challenge and relevant documents that will shed light on the current situation. A good preparation will help us save time and get the client more value for its time faster.
Based on the research made, I will define an agenda that I will communicate to the client. Having a agenda is key to respect a structure that will make the session much more efficient and focus on the key points.
During the session, I will complete my initial assessment by asking further questions to create a SWAT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). It is also key to understand the client’s mindset, whether the client is in a defensive or offensive posture, estimate its motivation and focus. Furthermore, I need to determine the means that will be dedicated in this effort in terms of skills and resources. Of course, the more skills the client brings to the table, the easier the work will be. Similarly if the financial resources are important, it will be easier for the client to invest in education, or time to overcome its challenges. These two factors can significantly alter the strategy that we will choose. Once I have made a fair assessment of the client, we move to the awareness phase where we need to agree on the challenges he/she is facing before being able to tackle them. Usually there is some type of resistance that will be overcome by showing concrete proof with cause(s)/consequence(s) in order to get a common agreement on the situation.
This is the phase that most client are eagerly awaiting, what should I do? First, usually, by clarifying the client’s profile in the previous step, we naturally come up with a goal together to tackle the current challenge. The difficulty comes right after, defining a goal does not mean that the goal is magically achieved. It takes time and efforts and unfortunately a lot of people want instant gratifications and delaying it create a certain frustration. This is why I’m always very clear that coaching does not solve client’s challenges right away. It is also commensurate to the difficulty you are facing. Sometimes all it takes is one session to clarify the situation. Psychology does play a role and talking to a person outside of the client’s personal or professional circles in complete privacy can be enough to remove this psychological barrier. One thing that I find really stupid and counterproductive is to increase the number of sessions artificially to keep the client longer than necessary. Not only this is completely unethical but it will hurt the coach reputation and reduce the opportunity to get more clients later on. A client is smart enough to understand that he is wasting its time and this will be included in its review of the coach (yep bad karma).
Based on the defined goal, we can create a roadmap with a clear timeline, several intermediate goals to achieve with concrete projects to tackle and acceptance criteria for each projects (similar to project management). Of course, according to the client’s profile, I will adjust the difficulty of these projects but always maintain progressivity to keep the client motivated, increase focus and confidence.
I will assess the progress during the different sessions and also the work done by the client on the projects. I will respond to clients by emails in between the session in order to smooth their learning path and remove any roadblocks.
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If you are interested by my methodology and would like to know more, check out my website and/or contact me at [email protected] .I will be genuinely happy to talk to you and help you.