Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Why I'm STILL Not a Cookie-Cutter Coach

Perhaps since I'm preparing to teach a Coaching Skills for Managers workshop this week, I've been thinking more about my own coaching approach and philosophy.

I'm reminded of an article I wrote almost two years ago called: Why I'm Not a Cookie-Cutter Coach. It was prompted by an encounter I had at a networking event at which I was challenged by an attendee to come up with my Top 5 Tips for Reducing Stress. You could imagine me experiencing a similar situation today; only the request would probably center on my Top 5 Tips to Find a New Job.

Ironically, my epiphany about this situation didn't come from a debate about the tips themselves; but from the frustration exhibited by the person with whom I was speaking. Somehow, his perception of my credibility changed because I didn't just rattle off 5 ideas from the top of my head. Instead, I chose to ask questions and learn more about the fictitious "client in distress" he described. You can re-read the article for more details and my response.

In the upcoming Coaching Skills workshop, I'll be discussing with participants how to strike a balance between probing (to learn of concerns, goals, needs) and telling (to share tips, recommendations, guidance) with their employees. Being mindful of this balance is important for both internal managers and external coaches -- both of whom want to help facilitate positive growth and results.

I stand by my earlier affirmation: I'm Not a Cookie-Cutter Coach. Each client is unique and each situation has different parameters. I'm not aware of any "add-water-stir, one-right-answer" that will work for everyone. I do know that I'm really good at listening, and can help others flip the script to achieve their biggest dreams. I know this is my calling because I enjoy asking provocative questions to learn more, and help my clients surface their true concerns, goals, needs, dreams, and aspirations.
Perhaps this makes me a "start from-scratch" coach? :)
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