Coaching Strategy And All That Jazz

Listening last night to a recording of Django Reinhart and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, I was struck by how many correlations there are between great jazz and great coaching strategy. Just as jazz played by a great musician is shaped by the unique interpretation and skills of the musician, coaching by a great coach is shaped by the unique personality and skills of the coach. In both realms, interaction, collaboration and improvisation play major roles.

It takes two to tango–coach and client interact

Coaching strategy is based on the ensemble and partnership of coach and client. If the client is on the phone, you both interact based on what you hear–intonation, pace, actual words spoken, etc. If you are physically together, you also have visual input and you can physically mirror your client to interact in a way that boosts rapport or you can model particular behavior. Even if you are coaching via a recording, you don’t coach in a vacuum. You must use those same factors of intonation, pace, etc. just as if you are directly interacting with a client.

Collaborate to make beautiful music together

Without collaboration between coach and client, no coaching strategy is going to work. You are already invested in getting your client the result she wants. And your client is already invested–you know because she paid you! But you have to work together to develop strategies and accountability. Beware of obstacles to full collaboration. These could be fear, lack of trust, lack of confidence or lack of integrity. Get your client past any obstacles so she can fully collaborate with you to get the results she wants.

Coaching strategy is enriched by improvisation

Does your coaching strategy include following a tight script? Some coaching schools demand strict adhesion to the script they provide. But improvisation as a coaching technique allows you to respond from a more intuitive place to what’s happening in the session. Many coaches say that while the general outline of their sessions is planned, the words, the strategies, the visualizations they use with their clients aren’t. These come through the coach rather than from the coach. Just like musical improvisation, coaching improvisation arises from the interplay of the participants. Improvised changes in rhythm and pace of your speech, tonality of your voice, force and volume of your language contribute to a masterful coaching strategy.

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

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