Coaching around the situation vs. Coaching the client
In 2nd practical coaching session, I heard Ben mentioned Coaching around the situation vs. Coaching the client and after a while, this is my finding.
I realize that most of the time I focus too much on situation like "what happened," "what is going on," "why it happened," "what is the issue."
And get too busy to be able to attend to other area like awareness, meaningfulness, or clarity.
I think the reason might be I put my focus point on the situation. As soon as I switch my focus point to the client, everything change. My questions are all about the client:
"What does it mean to the client?"
"What drives the client."
"What is the client's thinking pattern."
"What kind of awareness or clarity the client need?"
"What is stopping the client?"
These questions are normal. Somehow during coaching conversation they just don't come out because I put my focus on a wrong thing. By putting my focus on the situation, I ask questions to investigate, to gather information so as to arrive at a solution. Then I would ask leading questions to guide the client. All the time it feels so wrong to me and it tires me out as I have to understand the situation to find solution.
With this new finding, I notice that the issue at hand is nothing more than a contact point through there I could, as a coach, explore what inside of my client. Considering the client is a room, issue/situation is the door and what really matters is behind that door. As a coach, I should invite the client to explore the room, not to examine the door. If I were the client, I would really appreciate when my coach could point out the things insides, things that matter and I couldn't care less whether my issue is resolved or not.
So this is my new learning/understanding regard Coaching around situation vs. Coaching the client. Hope it could help other coaches to open up new learning and I would appreciate if you could share your opinions.
Hi An_Le, Thank you for sharing this. I was also trying to understand the different between this two and your sharing is very useful. I think I understand more especially when reading the example you give about the room and the door.
I haven't yet listen to the record the second time, will get back to share more after I finished that.
Insightful comments An Le. As a consultant and problem solver, I tend to be trapped by focusing on the situation. The questions you listed are highly relevant to help us all coach the client. Opens opportunities for reflection and will power to change one's situation
Even as I started to focus on the client, and very often my tongue are tied, I do not know what to say or ask. Even as I try very hard to connect, listening attentively, I find my self in a situation or fixed... How to? Do I ask the right question? how does it sound to the client? Am I making sense to the client... Knowing does not translate that I do it right... Maybe I am still very inexperience and I need much more learning at this point to even ask those questions.... My only hope is that the client would go on to talk more and more without my intervention, until a time when I can spot a clue from the client that allow me to understand what he really really needs and then maybe draw out that agreement with him. But it is so very hard, even for the agreement. It's never really what the client thinks he wants! The last time I was coaching the client, I kind of stopped halfway cause I do not know how to continue... And then from there I gave my feedback to get feedback...
Last edited by Soh_Philip; 05-23-2015 at 04:49 PM.
During the 4 days course, Ben said that questions are only tool. That the coach's intention is what really important. The coach asks questions to achieve a specific intention. If the coach have a clear intention, questions will come naturally. What is your intention during the coaching conversation?
Thanks for your insight on this. This is very helpful for us. its a great reminder and explanation on how to focus more on the client rather than the situation. Also the point about the intention really helps in keeping focus during a coaching session.
have learned so much from this thread. I struggle in making a distinction between knowing your intention and having your own agenda. for example. if i want to know more about a client's reaction because i want to see if there are new perspectives that would come out, and then thereafter, i tend to lead into a particular perspective that i want to highlight for the client to see. Sometimes i feel i am leading and therefore have my own agenda, when perhaps the only agenda i have is to illuminate areas of theclient's life for her to see and reflect on. Reading through this thread, helping the client explore the room , is what perhaps i am trying to do. thanks for this great metaphor. will keep this in mind.
... if i want to know more about a client's reaction because i want to see if there are new perspectives that would come out, and then thereafter, i tend to lead into a particular perspective that i want to highlight for the client to see. Sometimes i feel i am leading and therefore have my own agenda, when perhaps the only agenda i have is to illuminate areas of the client's life for her to see and reflect on.
Maryln, your intention can include (1) helping the client to explore and (2) directing the client's attention to aspects that he/she may not be seeing or (3) telling/ instructing/ suggesting/ guiding the client to your conclusion or what matter for YOU as the coach.
thanks for sharing that. recently I came across the concept that we all do what we do in our individuals ways because it makes sense to us. so even though others can not understand why we are doing what we are doing we do it because it makes sense to us. likewise we can often view other people and not understand why they do what they do. however if we can accept that they do it that way because it makes sense to them to do it that way. this then opens up the possibility as coaches to help our client gain the understanding that they are doing what they are doing because it makes sense to them. then they can have the choice to perhaps review that understanding or that making sense of what they are doing and see if there is another way of things also making sense. so i guess that when we help someone make sense of why and what they are doing or being we can then ask the question that i have heard ben ask how is that serving you that way of making sense of your actions. so we somehow help people move from mindlessness to mindfulness or from autopilot to intentional living/