When I told my husband I was looking for inspiration for a blog on successful coaching, he said “how about this?” and pulled a new wooden puzzle out of his carrier bag. As I watched him take the puzzle apart and work on putting it back together, I realized the puzzle and his approach to it exemplify a great approach to successful coaching so…
Successful Coaching Requires Focus and Persistence
When working on a puzzle, my husband is a great model for a coach working with a client. Whether wood, metal, numbers or words are involved, his focus is totally on what he is doing. He doesn’t hear the phone ring. He doesn’t stop for food. The computer is forgotten and all other activities are put aside. And he will usually keep working until he has solved the puzzle. Coaching should be approached just the same way. Whatever the subject and goal of the session, you need to be totally focused on your client and persistent in working toward a successful outcome for him.
Failure Is Not An Option
No puzzle left unsolved is my husband’s motto. In the 30 years I have known him, he has never thrown up his hands in despair over any puzzle. Puzzles are endlessly intriguing to him, no matter how tricky or how difficult, and he does not give up. As a coach committed to successful coaching you have a responsibility to have that same attitude toward your clients, whether they are a joy to work with or difficult, prickly and confusing. There is a difference, however, because unlike inanimate puzzles, clients share equal responsibility with you in the coaching process. As long as your client is committed to his goals, your commitment is to work with him until he accomplishes his goal or quits coaching.
If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again!
What a familiar phrase–one I’m sure we’ve all heard since childhood. And in case you couldn’t guess, it applies equally to successful puzzle solving and to successful coaching. Sometimes my husband gets the puzzle right the first time, but often he has to try arrangement after arrangement of the pieces until he finds the way they go together to make the finished puzzle. Coaching is just the same. Often you ask just the right questions and use exactly the right techniques. But even as an experienced coach sometimes you don’t get it right. When that happens you need to try something else. And if that doesn’t work, you try something else again. Successful coaching requires you to be willing to change direction and keep changing until you find something that works.
Dorine G Kramer
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach