Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

3 Questions Leaders Ask About Coaching

I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with hundreds of senior leaders in organisations of all sizes, complexity and sectors. During the early days of meeting with clients they can seek extra information to help establish what and how I do what I do. Here are three that get asked of me frequently.  I’ve added how I might ‘typically’ answer them.

It’s not important what my answers are.

The important thing here is that I have an answer.

You need to develop your own responses that fit your way of working. The benefits are many but I have found over time crafting my answers has allowed me to get clearer about what I do and it helps me remain more authentic rather than trying to promise to be everything to everyone. I hope you find this interesting and that it helps you clarify your own thinking.

Question 1:

Are you accredited in any psychometric tests, for example, MBTI®?

Answer: One tool that I am accredited to use is the Hay-McBer Emotional Competency Inventory® but I don’t use it. In fact, I don’t use any such tools and certainly wouldn’t ‘pretend’ to be accredited where I am not.

I have a philosophical position that we are all unique and that as such this relativist position means I don’t think labelling people is very helpful to me as a coach. I think I’m pretty good at spotting trends in people where they do exist but I’m less confident psychometric tools do that very well at an individual level.

Question 2:

What is your coaching style like?

Answer: Well, it has been variously described as, “challenging”, “transformational” and “like work-therapy” ! My view is that coaching needs to bring about change: in output, work performance, thinking or behaviours. If you as the client can’t observe the impact of such changes, I haven’t done my job very well.

Mostly, my style is cognitive-behavioural in nature, always person-centred and pragmatic. It works for most people but not all. Whilst I can flex my style, if it just doesn’t work, you have not only the opportunity and power to change coaches but a responsibility to yourself and your organisation to do so. I can help you find other coaches if you want me to – my priority is you getting the kind of help you need.

Question 3:

How many coaching sessions will we have?

Answer: As few as you need to help you get to where you want to get to. But – and here’s the kicker – my job is to do myself out of a job. I won’t be here as your permanent ‘critical friend’. Let’s focus on either where you want to get to or what you want to wrestle with, then work on getting there as quickly as you reasonably can. If you get a new role at some time down the road or hit an obstacle that’s a different matter, call me and we can discuss helping you out.

Now, I may not use these exact words but the sentiment and views would be consistent. I don’t care if that doesn’t work for everyone. It’s not meant to and importantly, I couldn’t possibly be the best coach for everyone so, I just want clients to be clear about what they can expect. Develop your own set of answers and refine them as you get asked them more frequently.

Glenn Wallis is an experienced Executive Coach and Coach Developer who will help you improve your own results and those of your organisation. When you are ready to  raise your performance to the next level, find out more here

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