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3 Rules for Relational Integrity in Coaching

Old phone

Is this the party to whom I’m speaking?

“What I just heard you say is that however you are acting or feeling in real life, you bring those actions into your coaching relationships.”

Wow.  I really couldn’t hide.  I had to be me.

Now, why that scared me is another topic for another post, but it absolutely taught me something.  If coaching effectiveness really does rise and fall with the strength of the relationship between coach and client, the same challenges you face in every relationship will show up in your coaching.

If you’re generous and charitable, chances are that’s how you’ll be as a coach. If you’re quick to judge or leap to a conclusion, that is most likely going to show up in your coaching relationships. It’s a hard reality to admit that both character strengths and character gaps show up–even when you are operating in your coaching wheelhouse!

Launching a coaching relationship well can minimize both the unrealistic high points and disturbing low points that come any time two people are in a relationship. Being proactive about what you bring to the conversation–positive and negative–goes a long way toward ensuring that your relational integrity stays intact.

Here are three things to pay attention to as you launch, so that who you are becomes your biggest personal asset in your coaching.

1) Make sure that both people in the coaching relationship fully opt in. This can look like any number of things, from actually asking “hey do you want this coaching relationship to happen?” all the way to checking in with your client throughout your relationship to ensure that they are still fully bought in. Like a buy-in-or a loss of buy-in-is one of the single most common things that sidetracks coaching relationships. There’s a great rule of thumb: if you have any doubt at all, ask about it. Don’t leave this to chance.

2) When challenges come up (and they will), settle disagreements well. Talk through challenges. Use Matthew 18. Be sure to ask the other person what’s going on, and listen closely to what they say. Above all, if the fault is yours on it. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity that your relationship gives you to apologize, if it’s needed. Nothing renews the energy and vigor in a coaching relationship faster than settling a disagreement thoroughly and well.

3) Agree on the intentionality of your relationship. This is not a relationship where you’re hanging out, or enjoy each others company, although you will probably do some of that during your coaching time. This is a relationship that is designed to facilitate some kind of change. That only happens if your intentional about what you’re trying to accomplish. As you’re nailing down you the exact intention that you need, remember ideas #1 and #2 are likely to come up. You may have to check on buy in, and you may have to sell a disagreement or two–even in the early stages of your relationship as you get going.

By watching these three areas closely you can launch and maintain coaching relationships being exactly who you are. It not only establishes relational integrity but it allows for relational authenticity. The combination of integrity and authenticity will make any relationship stronger.

[Infographic] Why Coaching Works

Here’s an interesting graphic from the International Coach Federation about why coaching works…

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