As I mentioned last week, I recently attended the 1st ICF Philippines Summit International Coaching Summit in Manila. I enjoyed a day with 800 other professionals, listening to a star studded lineup of speakers.
One of the speakers was David B. Peterson Ph.D. who gave an intellectually intoxicating talk titled: Accelerating Leadership Development Through Coaching.
David is a leader in the coaching profession. He joined Google in 2011 as Director of Executive Coaching and Leadership. He coaches senior leaders, manages Google’s network of external and internal coaches, and supports a variety of leadership, learning, and executive development initiatives at Google.
He shared his occasional frustration with new coach’s regarding their coaching process. Sometimes being too cute when it came to their listening and questioning skills. At times being too rigid, wanting to make sure they hit all 11 ICF Core Competencies with clarity and grace.
For example, David describes a scenario where someone comes up to you asking where is the nearest bathroom. A new coach might say:
- Why is this important to you?
- How important is this on a scale of 1-10?
- Describe what it will be like when you find the bathroom?
The majority of the crowd burst out in laughter! They got what David was saying!
In addition to coaching entrepreneurs/business owners, leaders, and people in career transition, I also mentor coach’s who want to uplevel their skills and build a coaching business.
Part of my mentoring process is listening to mentees recorded coaching calls and giving feedback on opportunities for improvement.
A common thread among new coach’s (including myself when I first started) and sometimes those with years of experience is they try too hard. They try too hard because they’re worried about their own performance. Why? The client is paying them a fee and they feel the need to add value.
Sometimes the client just wants to know where’s the nearest bathroom. Next time, just tell them already!
Coaching and leadership are all balancing acts of listening, collaborating and sometimes telling. It’s important to know what people need most when and to be flexible to provide it.
Exactly! Flexibility is key.
I remember meeting with a business coach who wanted me to help her create a brochure promoting her services. She had me take a seat on a small couch in her office, rather than in a chair across from her desk. Then she came around her desk and sat down right next to me on the small couch.
She was new to the business and kept telling me how much she wanted to connect with her clients, get close to them. I suspect by sitting next to me on the couch, instead of across from me as in a business meeting, she was attempting to physically illustrate this point. Awkward. I sensed she was, to use your words, Steve, “trying too hard.”
Susan, interesting story. On a scale of 1-10, my guess is your client was an 11 on the trying too hard scale.
What’s funny is that you & I have had this conversation, and what David expressed is the type of thing I’ve been talking about. Sometimes the obvious is okay to share with others; then again, as a consultant I better! 🙂
In one of the classes I teach at Coach University, we discuss the distinctions between consultant, therapist, parent, mentor, and coach.
There are times when I hop between roles such as consultant and coach.
As a consultant they’ve paying you for your subject matter expertise.