Successful coaching requires a partnership between you and your client. There are rewards and responsibilities on both sides. You’ve probably read and heard a lot about your side, the coach’s side, of the equation. But what about your clients? What do they need to contribute to your working relationship to maximize their success from working with you?
The 10 Client Commitments
1. Show up to sessions on time and in focus: Being on time means your client is committed to maximizing her experience and to having integrity around the process. Integrity in this context means keeping agreements with oneself and with others, and is a basic requirement for success not just in coaching, but in life. Being in focus means not allowing distractions—no email reading, no texting, etc.
2. Be honest: If your client is intentionally lying to you, distorting facts or leaving out critical pieces of information, he is sabotaging himself and limiting your ability to help.
3. Ask for clarification if something isn’t clear: When you explain something, give an example or tell a story, your client should be willing to admit if he doesn’t understand how it relates to him or his situation, and to ask.
4. Be coachable: Your client must allow himself to be open and vulnerable with you, willing to consider ideas and actions you suggest and willing to do what he commits to do.
5. Focus on the positive: Since we get more of what we focus on, this is important for goal oriented successful coaching.
6. Don’t make excuses: Excuses leave your client powerless, so she needs to get into the habit of taking responsibility for what happens to take back her power.
7. Be kind to himself: You’ve heard the expression “you catch more flies with honey”–it applies to people as well. If your client can be kind to himself and willing to forgive himself, he will be more willing to try again or try something new.
8. Be non-judgmental: Judgment is a strong negative feeling that interferes with the ability to be reasonable and objective, so it sabotages successful coaching.
9. Celebrate wins: Patting yourself on the back or jumping up and down shouting “I did it” might seem silly, but if you celebrate and acknowledge each step forward, no matter how small, the next step is easier.
10. Be responsible for your results: Your client’s results are up to her. Her willingness to play full out, her commitment to doing whatever it takes to reach her goals and her ability to stretch beyond her comfort zone all determine how successful she will be.
Successful Coaching Both Requires and Strengthens The Commitments
I ask each new client of mine to sign a “client commitment form for successful coaching”, with each commitment written out and a space for initialing each one. And if you think that someone new to coaching probably won’t entirely understand all the commitments, you are right! In fact, you might have to coach for a while before they become really clear and before your client can really keep them. But that’s OK. Signing off on them is the first step to taking responsibility in the coaching process, and throughout a successful coaching relationship, you work on all of them.
If you don’t agree with my list, don’t see the point, or feel that some commitments are missing from the successful coaching equation, I’d love to hear about it.
Give this strategy a try and see for yourself that it works. If you liked this coaching tip, leave a comment or use the handy bookmark buttons below to share it with others on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. Thanks!
Dorine G Kramer
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach