Here’s an interesting graphic from the International Coach Federation about why coaching works…
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Remember that through it all our goal is to facilitate change in the person were coaching. So that’s our end goal, and how we measure whether we’re effective. All of the tools in our toolkit are available for that purpose.
With that in mind, it’s imperative to remember that coaching needs to be your default. By design, you always want to listen first, ask bold questions, and draw out action steps from the people you’re talking with. That’s what a coach does.
But the other intentional relationships absolutely do have a role to play. Sometimes you’ll find your clients stuck, or not able to brainstorm a new solution, or maybe you just won’t have the right question that gets them moving forward again. I want to suggest that it’s healthy to admit that there are times when stepping out of coaching–just for a moment–can add energy back into your relationship and get your client moving forward again.
And this is the key: it’s got to be about the clients. You don’t step out of coaching just because you have something valuable to add. The best coaches only do that when the client is stuck–it has to be about them. I know a coach that will only step out of the coaching role when his client asks him–he NEVER offers. Only upon request. That might be a rule of thumb that would work for you.
And even if you do step out of coaching role, always always always have a strategy for how to get back there. Here’s the one I use: I watch for a breakthrough. As soon as the lightbulb turns on, I revert back to coaching in that I begin to draw out application. Think about that: breakthrough then application. It’s all about what’s going on in the life, ministry and work of the person being coached.
Give yourself permission to occasionally mentor (to teach a skill that you have) but then get back to coaching. Or give yourself permission to counsel to help them deal with the emotion that’s come up. But then get back to coaching. You can even occasionally consult, as long as you* get back to coaching.* As always, coaching needs to be your default..
You know the old joke: a consultant is someone who lives more than 50 miles away, says exactly what you would say, and is paid big bucks. There’s actually a little more to it, but I think you get the idea. As we walk through the 4 main types of intentional relationships, it’s time to shine the spotlight on consultants.
Let’s start at the roadmap: Relationship + Intention + (a variable Idea) = (a type of intentional relationship). In this case, the type of relationship is Consulting. The distinctive component that sets the relationship as Counsulting–the moving part–is Assessment.Here’s what I mean by assessment: gathering some information that tells you exactly where you are. It could be a lot of things, like a tool or actual assessment like the Myers-Briggs. Or it could be a series of opinions, from the coach or from people otherwise involved in the situation. Data of some kind is what were after, meaning something that adds detail to the particular situation where the person is. Any kind of data input that is solid, helpful, and that deepens the relationship is okay to use. This is why consultants love white boards so much…they’re a great place to record all the “You are here” data and information!
If you think about it, this is what consultants do. They come in they give an opinion or assessment and then they go away. Implementation happens afterwards, outside of the consulting relationship. And once, you move past the moment of assessment, a coach would do well to move back to drawing out action plans by listening and asking powerful questions.