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A Practical Training Course
‘I am a Life Coach!’
This is a coaching course like no other. Sarah writes from a very deep place and is able to facilitate your spiritual growth (and therefore the growth of your client) from the core of your essence. It is a well mapped journey that leaves no stone unturned, from the highest state of being, right down to the smallest practicality. Once you have been able to find your answers to the questions (and there are a lot!) you will have been prepared for every eventuality throughout the whole process. It is one of the most direct, but profoundly rich guides for living life to the full that I have ever come across. It is a wonderful gift that Sarah brings to those who are ready to appreciate it. Julia Williams. www.personalimpact.com
This course has strengthened my ability to coach in an effective way and to protect myself. The material has given me the confidence to go forward as a professional coach, rather than a coach. About myself; the course has taught me that I am on track with my goal to change peoples lives and to make a difference, and that common sense is a large part of this. David Millner. www.earthenergiesnews.co.uk
Wow! Thank you so much for all the guidance. What you have written has made so much sense to me. I feel really inspired and ready to go away and try what you have suggested. Thanks once again. Sara.
Just wanted to say how much I appreciate the wisdom and intelligence you offer. I feel I am really learning from you, that my mind is being opened and stroked in new ways and it is a true pleasure. I also like the warm and kind ways you address people and issues. Much thanks. Love and Peace. Susan.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION THE COURSE SESSION ONE Self-Awareness SESSSION TWO Client Awareness SESSION THREE Congruency and Clarity SESSION FOUR Achieving Goals SESSION FIVE Starting: Suggestions: Feedback and Finishing SESSION SIX Building your Practice SESSION SEVEN Coaching and Counselling TYPES OF QUESTIONS COACHING LINKS
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INTRODUCTION Life Coaching is becoming more and more well known and is seen to work well from the individual, including children, to the large corporations. In simple terms coaching moves a person forward when they have become stuck, for whatever reason, by helping them create new possibilities in their life, and then supporting them in their decisions until that person is ready to go it alone. We all need help at times because all of us, at some stage in our life, have become muddled and unsure; losing confidence and motivation, and wondering if this is really what life is about. At these times it is difficult to know what it is we truly want. We can become influenced by others, even though they have good intentions and wish to help, but they will usually look at our situation from their own experiences and perspectives and then advise us on what we should do. This is very commendable and can help, but their solutions is what worked for them and so does not necessarily mean that it will work for us in the long term. We are all unique and will look on life uniquely. One person’s experiences are different to another’s even when we go through the self-same experiences together because we all will see things through our own eyes; through our own feelings, and through our own perceptions and judgements, as we are meant to. The world will be a very flat place if we all think, feel and do the same thing. Life coaching is a tool to help another through life’s dark patches. Life is not a easy road at times and when we become lost in that darkness, we need a light to guide us out and this is where a coach comes in. They are a guide, that is all, holding a lamp whenever we become unable to hold it for ourselves. 5
The lamp does not belong to the coach, but to us and any good coach will know this. When we have lost our lamps or forgotten we have one, the coach will find it for us and shine its light back onto ourselves. Within our darkness the lamp will begin to illuminate that which we cannot see or have not realised, and then we will find a solution that belongs just to us, free from outer influences and the shoulds of life. Our lamp brings forth our own answers and clarifies what our authentic life really is and can be. It can help to realise a dream, if that dream is in our own best interests, because an authentic life does not necessarily mean a life that society expects of us and what is seen to be successful...Oh no! A life lived truly does not always lead to a promised land of riches and eternal happiness and dreams come true; instead it will lead to a life where challenges can be met without fear; without false expectations and without external manipulations. A good coach will hold our lamp for us and will make sure that we begin to live an authentic life and not a false one, because they will know that a false life will not hold true and will not be sustained, and when we become strong again within ourselves and begin to trust ourselves, to trust our answers and to actually act on them, that is when the lamp is given back and we are left to move on with our lives with and in confidence.
This course has been written to train and teach you to achieve your own dreams and aspirations, if they are meant to happen…..If not, then the life that is calling to you can become illuminated if you are ready and willing to step on it…...as well as training and teaching you to help another to reach their aspirations and authentic life. It will take you, step by step, through the structure and concept of coaching, from the foundations up, to give you the essential tools, 6
knowledge and understanding from which to build your practice, if that is what you want. Or it can be simply used as a day-to-day tool and aide. I suggest that you read some of the many books available on the subject and to keep a portfolio on your progression, your thoughts, feelings, ideas; how you would like to coach and the area you may want to specialise in. Practise on willing friends, ask for their feedback as well as your future clients. Over the following 7 sessions you will be going through your own coaching journey, so that you gain an understanding of how it feels and of the work that is undertaken. All good coaches will always start with themselves and their own progression, because if a coach cannot walk their own talk then they really cannot expect their client to walk theirs. A coach must be willing to ‘stand in the fire’ with their client and to go the distance with them otherwise the relationship will not work. Coaching is about relationship and it has to be trustworthy and in confidence, and that means firstly being in trust with yourself and to be confident within yourself, this is why the first session deals with personal development and understanding and carries on throughout the entire course, and beyond. Please enjoy the process and the journey and remember that life never stops moving on and evolving. There will always be an obstacle or challenge somewhere that might be tricky to negotiate around, but with the tools of coaching those challenges can become a motivation rather than a depression as you are lead to realise that they are put there simply to show you your strengths, talents and creative inspirations, as well as being a living example to others; to show them that life can be truly lived with a lively determination and motivation, instead of just ‘going through the motions’ which is ultimately unfulfilling, uncreative and deadening. 7
THE COURSE Session One Self-awareness
Session two Client awareness
Session Three How to stay clear
Session Four Achieving goals
Session Five How to conduct a session
Session Six How to start a practice
Session Seven When to coach and when not to coach
All ‘the questions’ within the course need to be answered so that you understand what coaching is, and is not, and to make you the best coach you can possibly be. If you do not go through the process of finding your own answers you will miss vital steps and concepts, and will not experience that which you will expect of your future clients. 8
Coaching always starts with yourself! Coaching is about listening and communication!
How many people really listen to another? How many people really listen to themselves? All coaching begins with the ‘self’ even though it is about helping others. If you cannot be aware of yourself, you cannot be aware of another. Everyone has their own inner dialogue which governs their life. This comes from our upbringing, the beliefs of our parents, friends, peers, society, religion etc. It gives us our life experiences, our sense of self-worth and affects our relationships, jobs etc. This session is about starting a real relationship with yourself. You are now embarking on a journey of self-awareness and the goal is to talk your true talk and to walk that talk proudly. This is the cornerstone of coaching.
‘What is your own inner dialogue?’ Write down what you normally say/think/believe about yourself.
‘Is it of a positive or of a negative nature?’ The positive is where you think and/or believe that you can achieve what you intend to do. The negative is where you think and/or believe that you will fail or not do well at what you
intend to do. You are what you have experienced and what you think you believe! “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re usually right:” Henry Ford. Most beliefs live at the sub-conscious (unaware) level and you can act out those beliefs unconsciously. We have all reacted to some situation and then wondered why we acted the way we did. Self- awareness is about bringing those beliefs to the surface, discovering where they have come from and then accepting them, if you like them and they work for you, or changing them, if you do not.
‘Where have your beliefs come from?’ ‘Which beliefs do you wish to change?’ ‘What is the reason for wanting to change them?’ ‘How easy will this be?’ ‘How will these changes change you?’ ‘How will it affect those around you?’ ‘How can you lessen any fears/concerns they may have?’ ‘Do you ‘believe’ that your beliefs can change?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Is what you believe today the same as 10 years ago?’ ‘If they have changed, how have your beliefs changed?’ ‘What happened to affect this change?’ ‘How did it make you feel?’ 10
‘How did your life respond to these changed beliefs?’
Change comes from the ‘inside out’, not from the ‘outside in’. Everything comes from your own perspective, however it is shaped, which drives your behaviours. Changing a behaviour does not work because the underlying belief that governs that behaviour is still alive and kicking. All true change starts by quietening the unwanted inner dialogue/talk and by replacing that dialogue with more positive statements that come from you and not from someone else or from past experiences. This is re-training your sub-conscious mind and it takes time and practise.
‘What are the unwanted dialogues you wish to replace?’ ‘What are you going to replace them with?’ ‘How often will you need to ‘say’ them?’ ‘What can you do to help yourself remember them?’ ‘How long will it take you to ‘believe’ them?’ ‘When will you know that you really believe in them?’ ‘How will it affect you?’ ‘How will it affect those around you?’
Change is not an easy process and is very unsettling. You are walking into new, unknown territory leaving behind the familiar and the comfortable. Coaching is about helping a client leave their comfort zone and supporting them on their journey until they can go it alone. Know11
ing how they feel, because you have gone through a similar process yourself, builds understanding, rapport and trust between you. The true inner voice resides below all that inner dialogue; the key is getting to hear it, communicate with it and then to listen to it. There are ways to overcome the inner talk and to start hearing the true self. Any activity that you enjoy lessens the ‘talk’ allowing that ‘little voice within’ to come through. You have put yourself ‘out of the way’ of your world and this is when a solution to a problem can present itself. This can be achieved by either: Sleeping on it. Through night dreams. By daydreaming. By getting a piece of paper and brain storming. Taking time out through having a massage, or being pampered in some way. By going for a walk or jog. By telling or writing a story because we tend to tell our own story through this process. Through relaxation and meditation, or by keeping still, as this quietens the body as well as the mind and is an excellent tool for everyday life.
A guided meditation: The following meditation has been inspired from the weekly Meditation groups I hold and is designed to help with self-awareness and personal understanding. Many people find that just sitting quietly is a difficult discipline to achieve as thoughts tend to crowd in, confusing us and defeating the object of the meditation. Stilling thoughts, worries and concerns takes practise and 12
dedication. Guided meditation is a journey into another realm where the focus is placed on the route taken and where unknown or unconscious thoughts and observations can take place. As more journeys are undertaken, unwanted thoughts will fade or will not have so much emphasis and more of the truer underlying thinking, inner knowing and inner tuition (intuition) will arise, which can then be noted and acted upon. The purpose of this journey is to help you with your present life. You can then face your future with more confidence, the path before you becomes a little clearer and then you can decide if this is the path you truly wish to go down. There is always choice available to you if you are willing to listen to yourself and this is how a guided meditation can help. The route described is just the bare bones, it is you that fleshes it out and makes it real. Meditation can be done anywhere and at any time, except when otherwise occupied such as driving or working machinery etc. Walking, washing up, standing in a queue or gardening etc. are good mediums for when the body is busy, the mind tends to become clear due to the focus being on the activity in hand. Many people gain ‘insights’ at these times, but these may go unrecognised or are forgotten. ‘Sleeping on it’ is another form of meditation as ‘you’ are out of your situation for a while because the body and the conscious mind are resting. The following meditation is best carried out sitting with both feet flat on the floor, with your back straight, not slumping, but well supported and with your hands resting, uncrossed, on the top of your legs. Eyes are closed. Make sure you are in a quiet environment where you will not be disturbed. Turn off the phone. Gentle music is recommended as absolute silence can be unsettling. The meditation has, at the beginning and the end, a prayer as this prepares you to 13
open up safely and, afterwards, to gently bring you back to the material world. There is also a small prayer during the course of the meditation, this is for any healing needed. Near the beginning of the meditation there is a bringing down of the protecting light. Prayer is a Statement of Intent. Your intentions are also the basis to your life and it is important to see where these intentions lie and what are the reasons behind them. The prayer for the meditation is to intend that only the highest and the ideal comes to you, to guide you forward with love and respect, for yourself and for others. The bringing down of the light is to activate and to protect that intention. The enveloping light can be visualised anytime. It only needs to be asked for and is particularly helpful whenever you find yourself in a stressful or draining situation. The light is a reminder that God’s/The Source’s light, love and protection is always there for the asking. When you feel secure within, you can then channel that light/energy to others who need it, those who have forgotten the source of all energy. Visualisations is that which can be imagined. They can be of a positive or of a negative nature. And is, again, it is what you intend. Visualisations/images are given during the meditation. These images are just the structures for you to build on for as your journey progresses and everyday thoughts lessen, other images or thoughts will come in, seemingly unbidden or unthought of., just let these happen and do not analyse or think about them too much, just note them, let them flow naturally and go with them. Remember……you have intended and activated love. I suggest that you tape or ask someone to guide you through it. Allow 2 minutes to elapse between each part and there are questions within the meditation to be answered. 14
To begin: Have a glass of water ready. Make yourself comfortable as described. Do not force anything. ….Remember this takes time and practise. Start to breathe slowly and deeply. Breathe in through the nose over a count of 4 and out through the mouth over a count of 4. Focus on this breathing method and continue for as long as you like. You may start to feel light and your hands and feet may feel ‘numb.’ This is normal as you are focused and are allowing the outer world to recede. When you are ready allow your breathing to return to a slow, normal breathing pattern. If unwanted thoughts return at any time, concentrate on the slow and deep breathing method again. Take each stage of the meditation slowly, letting events unfold at their own rate and say out loud the following prayer of intention. It is a guide only and you can start and finish it in the way you feel comfortable.
‘Divine Spirit Thank you for joining with me on my journey into myself May your light and love always shine down on me bringing clarity and understanding to my present day life and situations I ask that only the highest and best come to me as I give this time to myself 15
May the peace to be found within be brought forth. Amen’ Visualise /imagine yourself in a garden. The sky is a beautiful blue. There are flowers, trees and plants. Birds and animals abound. There is a gentle breeze. The sun is shining. Walk slowly through this garden enjoying the colours, the sights, sounds and smells, exploring your own space.
‘How do you feel?’ ‘What do you sense?’ ‘What you are seeing?’
The sun’s rays touch the top of your head and slowly descend down the whole of your body, passing your feet and going deep into the earth. You are now enveloped in a beautiful column of sunlight as you continue through your garden. You feel peaceful and content. In the distance you can see a house which you slowly walk towards.
‘What is the size?’ ‘What are the colours?’ ‘How is the state of repair?’ ‘Is it welcoming?’
Walk around your house and observe. Approach the front door.
‘What does it look like?’
The door slowly opens and you step through, the door gently closing behind you. Explore the ground floor and any upper floors. Take as much time as you like.
‘How many rooms are there?’ ‘What are the size of them?’ ‘On what side of the house are they?’ ‘How are they decorated and furnished?’ ‘How many windows are there?’ ‘How much light is there in each room?’
Go to the room you felt the least comfortable in.
‘How you do feel?’ ‘What do you sense?’ ‘What are you seeing?’ ‘What is the cause of your discomfort?’ ‘Where in your life do you get the same feelings?’ ‘How can you rectify this now within this meditation?’ ‘Do you want to?’ ‘If not, why not?’ ‘How can you apply this to your outside life, later on?’
Imagine a lovely pink light filling the room.
‘Divine Spirit Thank you for the healing light that fills up this place within me, restoring peace and well-being, making me whole again Amen’
Go to the room you feel the most comfortable in. Sit and relax for a few moments and enjoy yourself.
‘Why do you feel comfortable within this room?’ ‘In what area of your life do you feel the same?’ 18
‘How does life work for you when you feel this way?’ ‘How can you remind yourself of this feeling?’
In this room a gift has been left for you, which you pick up and look at. Give thanks. Taking the gift with you, have another look around your house.
‘Are there any differences?’ ‘How are they different?’ ‘If you could change anything, what would you change?’ ‘Why?’
Make your way back to the front door, which slowly opens and you step back into the garden, the door gently closing behind you. Walk slowly through your garden to an area that is special to you. Place your gift there and relax for as long as you wish to. Bring your awareness back to the present by wriggling your toes and your fingers and, keeping your eyes closed, say out loud the closing prayer.
‘Divine Spirit Thank you for this journey into myself May the healing light within and my inner gifts be brought out into the world for the good 19
of myself and all others as I walk this outer world with confidence Amen’
When you are ready, come fully back fully to the world by wriggling your toes and fingers again. Stretch gently and stamp your feet, open your eyes slowly and then have a drink of water. Write down the answers to the questions and what you have seen, felt and sensed.
The meaning: The following is just a very basic guideline for you to build on. With practise your own inner knowing/intuition will supply the answers. However, do not get too bogged down with discovering the ‘why’; it is how you feel/are at this given time. Acceptance of yourself ‘warts and all’ is the start of self-awareness and healing. This does not mean that certain behaviours are excused and condoned, it is about being aware that this is how you ‘work’ at this time, with an intention to change the beliefs that are behind those behaviours, to the better, for yourself and for others. The house you have been in is yourself. If it was small and unassuming, there maybe a need to build up your confidence and self-esteem. If it was large and opulent, maybe you a little overbearing or this is what you need to portray more of. The number of rooms shows your many capabilities and talents. If some were unused, then these are areas you can develop. Rooms on the left are of your intuitive/feeling self. Rooms on the right are of your practical, everyday self. 20
The kitchen represents how you nourish yourself foremost and how you ‘feed’ others. The bedroom shows how you rest yourself. More bedrooms could show you have a welcoming nature and you provide a place for others. Too many may mean you cannot say No! or that you want to welcome more people into your life. A games room can depict your playful nature and how you enjoy yourself. The bathroom can be a guide to how you regard and look after your body and how you pamper yourself. The garden is how you walk through and view your place in the world. These interpretations are just a place for you to start from. The ‘rooms’ will mean different things to different people. You know what a kitchen or bathroom means to you and this is what you go with. The House Meditation is a useful tool to use at any time, whether you are happy or unhappy, because it shows you how you are really feeling about yourself at this point in time.
‘How did you get on?’ ‘What did you see, feel and sense?’ ‘What insights did you gain?’ ‘How can you apply them to your life?’ ‘When will you apply these insights/answers?’ ‘How will they evoke change?’ ‘Where in your life will these changes take place?’ ‘How often will you re-visit your ‘house?’ 21
Be gentle with yourself, especially if this is the first time you have meditated. If after a few sessions you find it doesn’t suit you, find another method that does. I suggest that another way to do this meditation is to write down, or draw, what your house will look like in your mind’s eye, and to answer the questions that way. If you do this, make sure that you write down the FIRST thing that pops into your head, however bizarre it seems.
Learning to relax in body and mind is part of the coaching process. It is about creating time and a space for yourself for preparation, focus and to gain access to your intuition. Stilling your thoughts, perceptions and judgements, to become as much of an empty space as possible, to become totally focused, not on yourself but on the client and their session and to hold that safe space for them, is vital to becoming a coach. Knowing who you are, where you are coming from and why and continuing with your journey of self-awareness, is the sign of an excellent coach. Without this, you will project your beliefs/perceptions/ judgements onto your client and you will not give them the quality, impartial coaching that they deserve. After becoming still and focused and before any coaching session begins, the next step to checking in with yourself, is to ask yourself your intentions.
‘What are your reasons for wanting to be a coach?’ ‘What type of coach do you want to be?’ ‘What type of client do you want to coach?’ 22
‘How many clients do you want to attract?’ ‘How will you know that you are ready to start coaching?’ ‘What would stop you?’
It is very common to find yourself coaching a client who has a similar issue/problem that you have and this is why relaxation, focus, continuing self-awareness and the asking of your intentions are so necessary and important. Self-awareness promotes impartiality, keeps you out of your own personal agendas and makes you more aware of your client. End of this first session.
Well done! This is one of the most important tools of coaching and needs to become an on-going exercise. Eventually it will become second nature to you and you will find that it becomes easier and easier to discover your own answers to your problems and dilemmas; in effect, you will become your own life coach. I suggest you take another, a friend maybe or a willing person/s, the more the better, through this meditation as it will help you to begin to become aware of their ‘self’ and, most importantly, will get you listening to their answers without preconceptions and judgements. Listening is the next most important tool to life coaching.
Summary: Coaching always starts with yourself, by being aware of your own inner dialogue, beliefs and intentions, and by being prepared to look at and change these if necessary. Self-awareness is a continuing journey, and you and your coaching will reflect this. Coaching is about creating a time and space for yourself, for the above, but also to allow your thoughts, perceptions and judgements to become as still as possible, so promoting impartiality and to focus totally onto your client and their session.
Making a change: These following 4 questions are excellent when unsure about how life will change, or not. They are to add to your ‘tool box.’ Think about what you want to change about yourself or within your life and then answer the following questions.
‘What would happen if you do make that change?’ ‘What would happen if you didn’t make that change?’ ‘What won’t happen if you do make that change?’ ‘What won’t happen if you don’t make that change?’
Your job and responsibility, as a coach, is to establish a clear, confidential, ethical and trusting relationship with your client! It is to build an effective communication with your client!
All that people really want is to be heard and to be acknowledged. They do not really want to be ‘fixed’ or to be put right. People do like to have a good moan sometimes and are not looking for any answers...Some people are happy complaining about their lot in life just to gain sympathy and attention and will certainly not take up, or even be thankful for, any solutions that you may offer. In fact, these types will very rarely act on any solutions that they themselves may come up with, however, they are good to practise your listening skills on because the majority of the session with your client will be taken up with just listening. Most clients are so relieved to have someone to really talk to, at last, that they will ‘offload’ just wanting to get everything out, and as quickly as possible. As most coaching sessions are for about 45 minutes or so, it is necessary to pick up on key points very quickly and to bring your client’s focus and attention onto these. However, do allow for this offloading for much of their first session as clarity and goal setting can be of secondary importance, for your client, at this stage. NB. Any issue that may come up, at any stage/session, will need to be offloaded too before your client can really get moving forward again. The key to effective communication is to start building rapport as quickly as possible as 25
this is the absolute basis to any coaching relationship. Without rapport, your relationship with your client will simply not work and your coaching them will lead no where.
Rapport: Rapport is when two people ‘hit it off’ because they are on the same wavelength, they are communicating on the same level, they are sharing similar aspirations and goals and they have developed a mutual trust.
‘What does rapport mean to you?’ ‘With what type of person can you establish rapport?’ ‘What does it feel like?’ ‘What is the outcome?’ ‘How do you feel when you are with this person?’ ‘How often do you say their name?’ ‘How would the person feel as you say their name regularly?’ ‘With what type of person can you not establish rapport?’ ‘What does this feel like?’ ‘What are the reasons for this?’ ‘What can you do differently?’ ‘What else can you do?’ ‘What would change?’ ‘What would be the outcome?’ 26
If you cannot establish rapport within a few minutes, then your coach/client relationship will not work. Your client will know automatically that you are not there with them and so are not really ‘hearing’ them, which will lead to any communication between you breaking down. Any trust and confidence that they may have built with you will disappear, and then their goals will become less of a reality and will become unreachable to them.
‘How do you build rapport?’ ‘How long does it take?’ ‘How do you feel?’ ‘What areas do you need to develop?’ ‘How does the other person respond?’ ‘How does this make you feel?’ ‘What will you do if rapport is unattainable?’ ‘How will you go about this?’ ‘Why is it so important to have confidentiality?’
Rapport gives your client a confidential and ‘safe environment.’ After all, they have come to you because they will be probably be undergoing big or even major life changes and with all the accompanying stress that goes with it. Even the smaller changes still need the same level of support and respect, as any change is not easy for many people. For you, as the coach, rapport gives you that ‘safe environment’ too; to be able to relax into the session and to really listen to what your client is saying but, more importantly, to listen for what your client is not 27
saying. If your client is avoiding the issue; if they are getting uncomfortable in any way, then you are probably getting close to the source of their problem! Rapport also gives you the confidence to ‘hold the space,’ to keep silent, whilst your client’s real feelings/thoughts are coming to the surface. You will need to practise and to really develop your instincts, your intuition, to know when to remain silent whenever your client pauses within their session. There is the pause for thought……. Allow for this. The pause for a release…………… Respect this one. And the pause for an effect……… Ignore this one. Next time you meet someone and they start talking to you, create your ‘empty space’ within yourself and focus on them totally, however do make sure that you are not staring. Really listen to them, noting their body language, how they are saying what they are saying and what their tone of voice is. Do not over concentrate, this is really easy to do, as you will then miss things because you are too taken up with concentrating! NB: Do not concern yourself with asking questions at this time. The point of this exercise is to simply listen, however, do ask questions if you feel the need of course. 70% of coaching is about listening! It is not about you ‘fixing’ anything or finding answers because, eventually, your client will do that for themselves. ‘How did you get on with this exercise?’ ‘What happened when you totally focused on the person?’ 28
‘How was the rapport between you?’ ‘How did you hear what they really said?’ ‘How did you hear what they did not say?’ ‘How did you know that they were leaving something out?’ ‘What did you do if this was the case?’ ‘How many silences/pauses were there?’ ‘How did it affect you whilst holding these silences?’ ‘How did it affect them?’ ‘What have you learnt from this?’ ‘How quickly did you pick up on any key points?’ ‘If you asked questions: How did you know what questions to ask?’ ‘How did you feel when asking these questions?’ ‘How quickly did they find their answers?’ ‘What are the areas you need to develop?’ ‘What is the difference between really listening and just waiting to speak?’ ‘When have you done this?’ ‘How can you be aware of this when you are coaching?’
Listen to as many people as you can because this will not only develop your rapport building, but the silences/pauses will also become easier to hold. Empathy and understanding will become apparent and your questioning skills will become more natural and spontaneous. 20% of coaching is about questioning! 29
Many new coaches (and, if they are honest, even some experienced ones), worry about the questioning side of coaching. They ask themselves…..“Are my questions good enough?” “What if I can’t think of one?” “Am I asking enough/too many/too little?”………..and so on! Getting hung up about asking fantastic questions or by being worried about asking any questions at all, is a signal that you have come out of your ‘empty space’ and that you have refocused on yourself. This will cause you to lose rapport and will stop you listening properly. Also this could lead to your impartiality be compromised. This is very common and is, again, why the personal development side of coaching is an on-going practice A coach is human themselves and it is very easy to lose concentration and focus. This is why sessions only last for about 45 minutes. If this happens, be honest and tell your client because it will build an even more trusting relationship between you and will give you time to re-focus yourself.
‘How will you know that you have temporarily lost focus?’ ‘How will you let your client know that you have lost focus?’ ‘What will you tell them?’ ‘How will you tell them?’ ‘What will you do to ‘become empty’ and focused again?’ ‘How will you resume the session?’
Coaching is about your client finding their own solutions through your listening and questioning! It is not your job or responsibility to give advice or to supply the answers for your client. 30
Giving advice is not coaching; however, you can offer suggestions if they are stuck. A suggestion is not advice as it is just an option given and it is up to your client to choose to use it, or not. The real aim of this is to just to get your client moving forward again. Have you ever really taken advice or acted upon the answers given by another? Has anyone really taken or acted upon the advice or answers you have given them? The answers to the above will probably be ‘not very often.’ People may ask for your advice/answers, but generally they are only offloading, just wanting to be heard and acknowledged and to get their problems out into the open, into the nearest sympathetic ear for as long as possible. Also advice takes away a person’s own problem solving abilities, absolving them of their responsibilities and potentially giving them the opportunity to blame their advisor. Also, if you do try to ‘fix’ them, you immediately lose their interest because your attention is no longer fully on them, even though it is their problem, but onto yourself. You will then access your beliefs, values and experiences to solve their problems. Your client will lead you naturally into the questioning stage and they will give you your ‘answer’ about the type of question to ask, as long as you stay focused and listening. Coaching is not about ‘passing a test,’ it is about being ‘in tune.’ If a ‘wrong’ question is asked, then ask another or re-phrase it, it doesn’t matter within a strong relationship. If you can’t think of a question at all, tell your client and ask them what question they would ask themselves at this time. How to question: Asking ‘open’ questions keeps your focus and attention onto your client and it makes them feel ‘heard’ and valued. Open questioning allows your client to access themselves, to start 31
getting them out of their problems and into their solutions.
‘What……………………………………?’ ‘Where………………………………….?’ ‘When…………………………………..?’ ‘With…………………………………….?’ ‘Which…………………………………..?’ ‘How…………………………………….?’ ‘Who…………………………………….?’ ‘Why…………………………………….?’ ‘If…………………………………….?’
These are ‘open’ questions and they are designed to open up your client’s mind and thinking processes which will lead them into themselves and into their own inner answers. This is why the silences, or giving them the time to think things through, is such an important tool in coaching. Sometimes some pauses can last up to 5 minutes; at these time make some gentle noises, especially if you are on the phone, so that your client knows that you are still there with them. NB: When asking ‘Why,’ make sure that it is in the context of confirming an option etc. otherwise your client could become defensive. Eg: “Why are you taking this course of action?” is a fixed position and negative ‘why’….it is better to use, “Tell me more about this/that!” in this context. “Why is this important to you?” is more of a positive ‘why’ question as it asks your 32
client to move forward into a deeper look without causing a feeling of justification. Some people can become quite stubborn if the ‘why’ question is framed in a way that they need to justify themselves. Do be aware also that ‘why’ can also elicit more ‘don’t know’ responses too. ‘But’ * and ‘Because’ * are both forms of open questioning. These encourage your client to open up even more after they have paused or have given an, answer, and when you can ‘hear’ that there is something, yet unspoken, to be said.. *(Hold the silence). Information questions are useful if a situation/problem needs to be understood, accessed or offloaded. Sometimes people will need to vent and it is normal for them to become angry as well. Hold the space for them as acknowledging this problem will be very therapeutic and releasing, however, this will keep your client within that situation and not moving forward so do not allow your client to remain there for too long. Information questions will still need to be of an ‘open’ nature.
Eg. “Why did this happen?” “What’s causing this?” “Why did they say that?” These are closed information questions’ and support the problem.
“What have you learnt from this?” “What do you need to know?” “What could have made them say that?” These are open information questions’ and will begin to move out of the problem. 33
‘Did……………………………………..?’ ‘Do……………………………………...?’ ‘Can…………………………………….?’ ‘Will……………………………………..?’ ‘Would………………………………….?’
These are ‘closed’ questions because they just need a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ answer and will keep your client’s mind closed to any solutions. However, coaching is not a rigid process and there will be times when a closed question is appropriate, within a certain context or by using voice tone etc. As with the pauses, and as you practise these techniques, you will develop the ‘knowing’ of which type of question to use and when to use it.
There will nearly always be a time when you will receive a, “I don’t know” answer. When this happens, the best solution is to hold the silence for a few moments as this encourages your client to access themselves and then they start finding solutions. It also clarifies to your client that you are not prepared to accept this type of answer. Coaching is a 2-way street and your client has their responsibilities too. If all you are getting is, “don’t know,” “don’t know,” “don’t know,” then you will need to look at their commitment level and to firmly clarify that they really want to evoke change. Coaching does require the need to really challenge your client at times, after all, this is what they have employed you for, to move them forward in their life.
Practise on a friend who has agreed to be coached. Focus, listen, stay impartial, tell them that everything is confidential and ask them what it is they want to talk about. Listen and practise your questions, and ask them for their feedback afterwards. NB: This exercise is not about asking loads of questions. In fact, the less you ask the more you are listening and holding the space during the pauses.
‘How did you get on with applying all the tools you have learnt so far?’ ‘Which areas were easier for you?’ ‘Which areas were more difficult?’ ‘What was the cause of the difficulty?’ ‘What did you learn?’ ‘What else do you need to learn?’ ‘What will you do differently next time?’ ‘How will you do this?’ ‘If you didn’t know what question to ask, what did you do?’ ‘How did you feel?’ ‘How did your client respond?’ ‘How could your client have helped you?’ ‘What is the difference between a directive and non-directive question?’ ‘Why is it important not to lead or direct your client to their answers?’ ‘How can you be aware that you are asking directive questions?’ 35
What is the difference between interrogative questions and encouraging questions? ‘If you received a “don’t know” response: How did you overcome this?’ ‘What else could you have done, or can do?’ ‘How did you feel if your client found their solution?’ ‘How did they respond?’ ‘How often did you say their name?’ ‘How would a reinforcing signal help your client to remember their solution/outcome?’ ‘What feedback did you receive?’ ‘How will you apply this?’ ‘When are you booking your next ‘client?’ ‘If not, why not?’
End of this second session.
Coaching is not a rigid process by any means, and remaining open and flexible is important as a coach follows the needs and requirements of their client, whilst keeping to your own values and boundaries. Who you are tends to attract a certain type of client, so it is important to know what type of coach you wish to be and how you want to coach. Remember, you are only being a temporary guide for your client, however, coaching is about a relationship too and like any good relationship, mutual respect, responsibility and honesty is vital within this relationship. When questioning, make sure you are not interrogating your client as this will put them 36
on the defensive especially if you need to establish a reason for a certain situation etc. Looking back to when a problem first began is usually necessary, but do not ask them ‘why’ they did this or that..…...they did, so that is that! Encourage your client by them by asking them what they have learnt from this experience, and then moving them out of it and forward; this will engender more positive feelings and will encourage them to really move away from it once and for all. You, as the coach, will probably be able to see the route that you think your client needs to go down to reach their solution or goal; however, this will be from your own perspective and is not necessarily the better way for your client...in effect, they will then tell you what you want to hear, which will please you but which will not cause them to really ‘own’ their solution. Asking for more options will help to overcome these potential directive or leading questions. It is important to make sure that you do not ask your client leading questions...this takes practise as it is very easy to do because you are just wanting to help your client as quickly as possible….but the quicker, directed route is not always the most appropriate or even lasting one, and sometimes you will need to remind yourself as well as your client of this fact.
Coaching moves a person out from their situation rather than lingering within it, however, as said, a little clarification of the past is needed at times to understand where your client is coming from. Having clarity and being clear is the next tool of coaching.
NB: There are examples of ‘types of questions’ for you at the end of this book.
Summary: All people really want is to be heard and acknowledged. They do not want to be fixed or to be directed to their solutions or goals, otherwise this will come from you and not from them. Coaching is about building rapport, trust, confidentiality, saying your client’s name regularly, and to simply LISTEN for the majority of the session by focusing, but not staring, totally onto your client and by being aware of what they are really saying, but more importantly, by what they are not saying and to encourage them to open up more and more. Coaching is not about giving advice, because this takes away your client’s own problem solving abilities and absolves them of their responsibilities, however, there will be times when your client will become stuck and really can’t access any answers, so this is when giving suggestions helps and will start to open them up again. Asking them to tell a story is a good ‘tool’ to use for this. Coaching is a step-by-step journey; it is a process to draw out solutions and to clarify a way forward from out of your client. This is achieved by using open and non-directive questions as these open up your client’s thinking processes which in turn, encourages them to move out of any problem or dilemma with more confidence, within themselves and in their own abilities.
Congruency and Clarity
Coaching is about staying congruent! Coaching is about being clear of your values! . Your life is responding to: What you are thinking! What you are believing! What you are saying! What your actions are! If any of the above 4 processes are out-of-harmony/not-at-ease with each other, life will not flow as smoothly as it could because there is a dis-ease within one or more of those processes; something is jarring, it is not in harmony and this can hinder any progress. To be congruent is to be in harmony with yourself, your beliefs and your values!
‘What does congruency mean to you?’ ‘How do you know when you are being congruent?’ ‘How does your life respond?’ ‘How do those around you respond?’ ‘How do you feel?’ ‘How do you know when you are not being congruent?’ ‘How does your life respond to this?’ 39
‘How does this affect you?’ ‘Why does it affect you?’ ‘What happens to those around you at these times?’ ‘How do you feel when a person says one thing and then does something else?’ ‘How do you respond to this?’ ‘What are the reasons for this?’ ‘What is your level of trust with that person?’ ‘How often have you been aware that you have done this?’ ‘How did you rectify it?’ ‘What is your feeling or signal when you are in harmony?’ ‘What is or can be your feeling or signal that you are not in harmony with yourself?’
The life values set: As a coach you will need to clearly establish what your values are, so that you and your coaching stay congruent to those values, otherwise you will start to compromise yourself and then your client. It is no good following your client’s lead if it leads you into areas that you are not comfortable with because your personal integrity, values and impartiality will then be seriously challenged. Who you are will attract your type of client, so being really clear of your own values and boundaries is vital, and is a process that your client will need to look at also. Values and being clear about them is another one of the tools of coaching
Write down everything that is important to you including your wants, dreams etc. 40
This is a brain storming exercise and you will end up with quite a long list and the more bizarre the better. I suggest you take a couple of days to do this. Re-organise your list into no more than 8 sections/sets giving each one a title. eg. ‘work,’ ‘family,’ ‘leisure,’ ‘security’ etc. You will find that the same ‘thing’ can be put into more than one section. Keep your mind relaxed, as well as your feelings, whilst doing this as this exercise is not about being scientific and very practical; needs and wants also come from your intuitive self. Write down the reasons why each of these sections are of value to you. This is going to take time so be patient with yourself and allow your thoughts and feelings to rise naturally. Remember, you are learning to meditate, in your way, so apply your technique when doing this. Now this is where it gets really interesting! Making sure that they stay congruent to each other, place some of the sections together to form a group and form as many different groups as possible. You will find that a section can be placed into more than one group. Eg: You may place ‘family’ with ‘leisure:’ ‘family’ might also be placed with ‘security’ and with ‘work,’ and so on. Now you will discover which section/s has been placed the most often within those different groups and the placements of the other sections. Eg: If you had say, 9 groups, one section may have been placed into 5 of them. Another section may have been placed into three and so on. You are now clear about your sets of values…….At this point in your life! Now you know which section of your life is of the uppermost importance, how valuable it is to you and it probably isn’t what you thought it was. However, this doesn’t mean that your 41
other sections are of a ‘lesser’ value, it just means that you have become more clear of their truer place and you can adjust/adapt to them accordingly; after all, you still have your reasons for having them there, in the first place! Every section of life interacts and affects the other sections, one cannot work without the others and this is why they all need to be eased/harmonised into your life, otherwise your life will not be truly balanced because ‘something’ will be missing from it. This exercise will also establish your personal boundaries and how far you are prepared to stretch them. Maybe you are not, and that is your personal choice too, as a person and as a coach. However, as said, these values are what is important to you now at this stage of your life, and as life is an on-going and moving process, do be aware that your values, needs and wants may have to be adjusted, adapted to and changed accordingly.
‘How did you get on with this exercise?’ ‘What have you discovered about yourself?’ ‘How congruent were your 4 processes before this exercise?’ ‘How congruent are they now?’ ‘How congruent were your values?’ ‘How congruent are these now?’ ‘What can you do now to attain more harmony within yourself?’ ‘How will you maintain this?’ ‘How will you now apply this to your life?’ ‘How will your life then respond?’ 42
‘Which areas of your life need adapting or changing?’ ‘What are the reasons for this?’ ‘How can you begin this?’ ‘When will you begin?’ ‘How will it affect others around you?’ ‘What beliefs will you apply to your coaching?’ ‘What values will you apply to your coaching?’ ‘What are your boundaries with these values?’ ‘Why have you these boundaries?’ ‘How will this affect your impartiality?’ ‘What do you need to do to ensure that you stay impartial?’ ‘When will you know that you need to re-evaluate yourself, your beliefs, your values and your boundaries again?’ ‘How often do you expect this to happen?’
This is a useful and important exercise, especially if you or your life are not flowing well, it is changing or you are feeling uneasy. Evaluate your 4 processes and/or your beliefs, values and boundaries and make the adjustments or changes when you are able and ready. Walking your talk is what coaching is all about, for you as well as your client….if you can’t or aren’t prepared to, then you can’t expect your client to either and they will know when you are being true to yourself, or not, as you will know when your client is being true to themselves, or not. 43
You will need to do this exercise with your client as a way of looking at and establishing their beliefs and values, before the coaching process can truly begin, especially if your client is going to go through big life changes. Straightforward themes will not always require this exercise, however, it is still a very useful tool to know in any case and can only bring more clarity and understanding into a situation or problem. It is your job and responsibility, as their coach, to stay aware of your client’s sets of life values etc. and to re-evaluate them often, as it is vital that they stay congruent to those values. This is to keep them clear, within their boundaries and moving in the right direction, intact, otherwise your coaching will lead into incongruent goals and outcomes. It is no good coaching someone into, for example, having a successful career if it is at the expense of their home life and family; this is not good and congruent coaching because is it has not lead to a balanced life. Some people acquire a coach to level up their lives, to bring together and integrate the unfilled or neglected areas and this is how the life values exercise can help.
No matter what your client’s ‘set-up’ is though, no matter how ready, willing and able they are, they still need a ‘key.’ Coaching is about having clarity: About being clear about what you really want and why you want it! This is the key to achieving your outcomes/goals!
‘What does clarity mean to you?’ ‘When are you being clear?’ 44
‘How do you know?’ ‘How does life respond when you are clear?’ ‘How does this feel?’ ‘How do you know what you want?’ ‘Why do you want what you want?’ ‘What do you do to achieve what you want?’ ‘What is the outcome?’ ‘When are you being unclear?’ ‘How do you know?’ ‘What happens at these times?’ ‘How does this feel?’ ‘’’How do you know what you want at these times? How clear are your reasons for wanting this?’ ‘What action is taken?’ ‘What is the outcome?’ ‘What can you do to bring about more clarity?’ ‘What else can you do?’ ‘What happens when you become really ‘stuck’?’ ‘What do you need to become unstuck?’ ‘How would a suggestion help you?’ ‘What other options do you have?’ ‘How can you start moving again?’ 45
You will need to be clear about how you want to run your coaching practice and how you want to coach. For example: Do you want to be a firm, quick and no nonsense type of coach, or do you want to take a more slow and gently probing manner? The type of client you want to attract is also important and they need to be congruent, more or less, with your values and boundaries. For example: It is no good coaching a client who, lets say, supplies drugs and wants to increase their patch, if this is not part of your own ethical belief system. Yes, a coach needs to remain impartial and non-judgemental, but if you are compromising your own values and boundaries with a client like this, then it will be practically impossible to keep yourself out of the equation and impartial. What the client does and how they live their life is their own choice and responsibility, but this does not mean that you have to condone this and to coach them. This is also why it is important to know the reasons behind why you want to coach; how you want to coach and who you want to coach as this clarifies and becomes your key, your theme to your coaching training and subsequent career.
Clarification of what your client wants gives them their theme; the subject or problem they wish to discuss with you. This is their key to moving them towards their outcomes/goals. NB: If your client cannot decide on their theme, which can be a common sticking point, refer them back to their sets of values as their ‘wants’ will be listed within their sections. If there is still a problem, then they will need to do the life values exercise again, this time labelling it as ‘the wants set.’ Brainstorm the wants; and re-organise them into their titled sections, then ask them to 46
give the reasons behind this. Then they match sections together. This will give them their uppermost wants and the whys. End of this third session.
Clarification is another tool of coaching. If at anytime the coaching process becomes unclear or incongruent, then it needs to be halted and this area needs to be addressed until all is clear, for your client as well as for you. If an answer given by your client is hazy, or you simply do not know what they mean, then you have to ask them and keep asking them until you do understand. Do not blag your way through it because eventually you will lose your way and will then have to backtrack, which wastes time, energy and money. Coaching is not about looking and being knowledgeable and trying to second guess anything...no, no, no! Ego has no place in coaching because it is about an honest, open and mutually respectful relationship. A coach does not put themselves ‘above’ their client: A coach is a guide shining a lamp into their client’s ‘darkness’ to illuminate and resolve problems, obstacles and/or dilemmas, for their client. This is why, again, it is vital to keep your own self-development going because, without a doubt, coaching will change you as well as your client, and you need to be aware and be prepared for this at any stage and with any client. Personal development….knowing thyself….should, really, become part of their life for any coach as it can only lead to a congruent and authentic goal…..which is to be the best coach that you can be!
Summary: Coaching is about being congruent and clear, not only with yourself, but also by keeping your client congruent and clear and to be aware, and to work within, their life values. This keeps them within their boundaries and moving in the right direction intact, otherwise your coaching will lead into incongruent outcomes. Clarity establishes what your client really wants and why. This is the key to achieving successful outcomes and goals, and is also why you need to keep yourself, as a coach, clear and congruent and within your own personal ethics and boundaries, otherwise you and your coaching practice will not reach your desired and wanted outcome. Be prepared to change as you become a coach and as you coach. Life is always moving and progressing, or not, and you need to be aware of this and to adapt accordingly, putting time aside for yourself and for your own personal development.
A clear theme or subject establishes where your client wants to go; why they want to go there and how they want to achieve this. Coaching is about establishing realistic goals and achieving them, step by step! The goal of coaching is to help your client reach the goal that they have decided they want, in the way that is best for them and for those around them. As a coach, you will need to make sure that those goals remain realistic, that they stay within your client’s values, boundaries and limitations, otherwise nothing will get achieved, for you and your client. Choose a straightforward theme, one that you have wanted to achieve before and write it down into a positive, re-inforcing statement so that it is easily remembered. For example: “I want to have extra time for myself,” is a positive and ‘open’ statement. “I haven’t enough time for myself,” is a negative and ‘closed’ statement. The correct type of statement is necessary because it starts the thinking processes off straightaway, whereas negative statements tend to become an obstacle almost immediately, and that is the last thing that is wanted.
‘What is the reason for choosing this theme?’ ‘How do you know that you want to achieve this?’ ‘How congruent are you with this?’ ‘Why haven’t you achieved this before?’ 49
‘What stopped you?’ ‘How can you avert this this time?’ ‘How will you know you have succeeded this time?’ ‘What will happen when you achieve this goal?’ ‘How will others ‘show’ you that you have succeeded?’ ‘How will you feel?’ ‘What is happening in your life now?’ ‘What beliefs/values support this goal?’ ‘What beliefs/values do not support your goal?’ ‘Why?’ ‘How can you make these more positive if necessary?’ ‘What have you done so far to reach your goal?’ ‘What haven’t you done?’ ‘What is the reason for this?’ ‘What do you need to know to achieve your goal?’ ‘What is the first step to finding this out?’ ‘What other options are there?’ ‘How realistic and reachable are they?’ ‘When you achieve your goal: What will it feel and look like?’ ‘What other signals will there be?’ ‘When are you going to start with this first step?’ ‘What would stop you?’ 50
‘What will you do to stop it from stopping you?’ ‘When do you want to achieve your goal?’ ‘What is your commitment score?’ (10 is a full commitment: 1 is not any commitment) ‘What can you do to improve this score if it was less than a 10?’ ‘Are you really ready to do this?’ ‘How do you know that you are ready?’ ‘How will you know that you’ve achieved this first step of your goal?’ ‘What is the next step?’
This is a very basic example of the coaching model. This process is not set-in-stone as it is designed to be flexible, adjusting to the needs of your client. It shows you the raw outline of the process and is a focus for you, for as you tune-in and listen to your client, their answers will lead you into more in-depth questioning and onto slightly different processes and routes. The route, or the how, to a goal is really not that important, achieving the goal is, in whatever form, route or process this takes.
This particular route/process is called ‘The Grow Model.’ Goal. Reality. Options and obstacles. Way forward, will and when. 51
The Goal: Setting the goal starts the process off. Your client needs to be clear about where they want to go and their reasons for aiming for this. As their coach you will need to know their destination and how they want to be guided there. Coaching is not about taking one giant leap forward. That is too much growth, too quickly and it will not be sustained. It is about taking small steps, achieving smaller goals, within the larger one, one step at a time so that each of those steps are lasting when the finish has been arrived at. Too often a goal is reached, only to collapse after a while due to unexpected problems surfacing because they weren’t explored properly, or were not thought of. Coaching is a journey; it is not a race. The fastest doesn’t necessarily get to the finish first. Remember the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare! If your client wants to achieve fast results, then you will need to establish the why. Sometimes this occurs if the theme or problem is going to be ‘painful.’ Your client wants to get it out of the way as quickly as possible, skirting over the issue, which is understandable, but it is not realistic to any successful outcome. Or there could be other reasons and these will need to be discovered, encouraged and explored. Committing to the process, however long it takes, is paramount to a successful outcome. Any issue that does not want to be properly addressed and dealt with will compromise commitment and the goal! Setting the correct pace gives results in a sustainable way and keeps the momentum going. Looking at the results of the goal, from the present standpoint, gives your client the excitement of the finish and the will to get going. It is also a marker, letting your client, and you, 52
know when they have reached their goal, as it is very common to not recognise a successful outcome. Coaching requires you to question your client at each step or stage, even if this means going back to previous stages or jumping forward to another. Remember, coaching is a flexible process. The goal is to keep your client clear and to get them through any potential problems or obstacles, not by avoiding those obstacles, but by looking at them and dealing with them in a realistic way.
The Reality Check: Looking at where your client is now in their life and at their circumstances establishes what the reality of their situation is and whether their goal is actually a real possibility. It is no good aiming for a goal of say, going deep-sea diving, if your client is afraid of water. That is the reality now and it will not lead them to achieving their goal. The first step is to discover the reasons behind their fear of water and then to help and encourage them to devise step-by-step strategies of how to overcome that fear. The second stage is to discover the skills and qualifications needed and to clarify if they are really prepared to go for it and that they are actually capable of doing it and so on, otherwise it may be best to simply leave it as a dream to be dreamed and, realistically, unrealised. It is wonderful to have a dream and it is a very necessary part of life as it keeps a person feeling alive and is a something to believe in and hope for, especially when times are not easy. Usually though a dream remains just that, a dream, and this can be necessary sometimes. If there is no real belief that it will, or ever could, come true and, deep down, it is not really wanted to 53
be realised at all, then it is best to leave it because achieving the reality of the dream may not live up to expectations and can lead to disappointment and a lesser life. Sometimes any dream will do and it does not necessarily have to be achieved because the dream of it is enough. Some people love to live in their imaginations and are fulfilled by this. As a coach you will need to establish the real dreams and goals from the ones that are just an imagined dream, or is a larger-than-life fantasy, because some people simply love their fantasies and the last thing they really want is to have them actually realised. A dream or goal has to have the belief, and the commitment, behind it as well as the focus and the will to overcome any real or potential obstacles etc. otherwise it will never become a reality. Questioning your client’s real belief on this matter will give the answer to the reality of their dream, or not. Also, knowing what your client has done so far to help themselves, up to now and finding out the level of their intent, will clarify a real dream from one that is not. The reality check establishes the true reality of the goal, shows what has indeed been achieved so far and clarifies that which doesn’t need to be done; this will then naturally lead into the next step which is to discover what options your client has to start them working towards their desired goal.
The Options and The Obstacles: Awareness is the prevention rather than the cure and looking at other options can, in the long run, save time, avert unnecessary potential problems and which will lead to a more realistic and achievable way forward. Exploring other ways also gives your client more choice and opens their mind to other possibilities, as well as giving them, and you, more awareness to what can 54
happen which can then be prevented or be prepared for. Too many people use the same tried and tested methods then wonder why they get similar results. A goal or dream to be realised, especially if it has been attempted but has not been achieved before, will need different strategies and approaches as well, maybe, a different belief pattern behind it. Remember, beliefs govern behaviours, so it maybe necessary to look at your client’s beliefs again, and again, and again throughout their coaching sessions. Exploring the many options with your client will give them a feeling, and a belief, that they have more control over their outcome, as well as preventing them from going down a course of action half blind (unaware). This gives them a more realistic picture of any future pitfalls and these can then be anticipated, and dealt with, before they become a potential and much larger problem. There is always more than way one to do anything and nothing is set in stone, or has to be.
The Way, The Will and The When: Clarification of the best way forward starts the action part of the process and this becomes your client’s first real step towards achieving their goal, so how willing they are now needs to be questioned. Many people say that they are, ‘going to do this and are going do that!’ talking about it, but actually doing nothing. It is easy to talk, but not so easy to actually walk that talk. The best way forward is to ask your client to give themselves a score of between 1, which is to do nothing to achieve their goal, to a maximum of 10, which is to be totally resolute in it. This scoring tells you how really committed they are to taking their first step forward. 55
Any score under a 7 means that your client isn’t real about their commitment or they just aren’t ready. Even if they do start, they are very likely to stall and then to stop. Something isn’t congruent within them and this will need to be addressed before anything else takes place, otherwise you will be wasting your time, and theirs. The way forward in this situation is to either question the reasons for this lower score and/or to re-look at the options and their motivation, or to re-look at the actual goal because something isn’t right here. A score over a 7 is a more realistic move and any steps taken are more likely to be sustained. However, getting your client looking more towards a score of 10 becomes a much better and truly realistic move forward. However, do not get hung up about getting your client to a 10 score because this could hold them, and yourself, back causing enthusiasm to weaken. Questioning your client about when that step will actually be taken pins them right down and motivates them to really move on. Ready, willing and able they may be, but by committing them to an actual time, with you expecting them to start at this time and them knowing that, focuses their energies and charges them up. After all, your client will know that if they don’t start at the time they specified. ie: that they haven’t done their ‘homework,’ that this will lead them into having to answer a whole set of sticky questions at the start of their next session.
The GROW model is designed to be a guide and focus for you when appropriate. It is easy to 'get lost' within a session and, also, sometimes the client needs to be put back on track and this process is excellent for that. However, coaching is about listening intently to your client for much of the session and their talking to you will give you the questions and will clarify the way or direction that you, and they, need to go whether you use the GROW model or not. It 56
doesn't really matter how a session is run, because it is your client communicating with you, with rapport and trust, that is most important. Intuition or instinct is the biggest factor, the major tool, in coaching: To feel your way through a session along with a great deal of common sense. Your intuition or instincts will be the main tool for you and will also be your guidance to you, within your coaching as well as within your life. Through your intuition, and by utilising the other tools of coaching, you can then guide and help your client to realise their requirements and to help them to move forward into starting to achieve their goals and outcomes.
This exercise has 2 separate coaching sessions to it so find a willing person, preferably someone you don’t know too well; this is better for you because you will not be as involved as you would be with a close friend. It is also easier to begin your coaching training with someone face-to-face rather than having an die-embodied voice on the telephone, even though 90% of coaching is carried out this way. This is so that you can learn to associate certain voice tones with a certain body language, behaviour, mood etc. Clarify a theme and then take your client through the GROW model, remembering to apply what you have learnt so far. Ask for their feedback at the end of the session. Your client is, and will be, your best teacher...always! NB: Can I give a suggestion? ……..Make notes as you go through your coaching sessions and ask your client to make their own notes too. Some coaches like to present their clients with a nice looking notebook as doing this makes their client feel important and that time, effort and belief, on the coach’s part, is being put into the sessions, as well as it being a subtle form of 57
commitment for both parties. Book a second session with your client and take them through The Grow Model again.. Ask for their feedback, about their progress, at the beginning and at the end of this session.
First session: ‘How did you go about booking your client?’ ‘How did you prepare for this session?’ ‘Would you do anything differently, and what would that be?’ ‘How was the rapport between you and your client?’ ‘How long was the session?’ ‘What was the easiest part of the process for you?’ ‘What was the more difficult?’ ‘What did you learn?’ ‘What do you need to improve on’ ‘How will you do this?’ ‘What else do you need to know?’ ‘How clear and congruent was your client?’ ‘How clear and congruent were you?’ ‘How were your listening skills?’ ‘How spontaneous were your questions?’ ‘How observant were you to your client’s body language and voice?’ ‘How could all these be improved?’ 58
‘What happened during the pauses?’ ‘How did you establish that the client’s goal was real and achievable?’ ‘How could the option part of the process have been expanded, if necessary?’ ‘How long did it take to clarify a solution or a goal?’ ‘What score did your client reach?’ ‘How did you improve it if there was a need to?’ ‘If you couldn’t improve it, what did you do then?’ ‘How did you clarify a start date with your client?’ ‘How did they feel about it?’ ‘How did you finish the session?’ ‘How do you feel?’
Second session: ‘Did your client start as specified?’ ‘If they didn’t: What did you do?’ ‘What were their reasons for not starting?’ ‘What else can you do if your client didn’t start or wasn’t ready?’ ‘What have you learnt from this?’ ‘If your client did start: How much did they achieve?’ ‘How did they feel?’ ‘How did you feel?’ ‘How did you run this second session?’ 59
‘If it was different from the first: How was it different?’ ‘Which session did you prefer?’ ‘What have you learnt?’ ‘How did you ask for feedback from your client?’ ‘What was your client’s feedback like?’ ‘What type of approach do you need when receiving feedback?’ ‘How did, or will you, discuss this with your client?’ ‘How can you apply this feedback?’ ‘How did/do you know that your client is really ready to move forward?’ ‘How did/do you know when they were not?’ ‘Are you going to continue with them and why?’ ‘How long for?’ ‘When are you going to book your next client?’ ‘What would stop you from booking another client?’ ‘How can you resolve this?’ ‘How do you feel after this second session?’
End of this fourth session.
Well done! It is nerve racking when you begin coaching a real client, whether it be for training purposes or not. Most coaches become slightly nervous and this is a good thing because it keeps you on your toes and stops over-confidence. Remember, this is a working relationship 60
but it is a relationship nevertheless and needs to be kept as a 2-way street, each with their own responsibilities. Everything does not rest with just you alone, but with your client too, because you are working and achieving together. You do not need to know the full in’s and out’s of your client, their work, or of their situation to effectively coach them, because this, as well, could potentially cause you become too involved, and so less detached. A coach works from the now, with maybe just a quick look back into the past, which is only to clarify and understand certain things, mostly for your client. Detachment does not mean that you don’t care, but simply means that you are keeping a healthy, respectful but emotionless relationship. It is not good to become emotionally involved with any client because your impartiality will become compromised, as well as your professionalism and, when the time comes as it invariably will, to really challenge your client about something: For example: They may keep making silly excuses instead of having good and genuine reasons….there is a difference!….Then you could find it very difficult to re-establish you professional authority and proper coaching relationship. Your coaching relationships and their processes will be different each and every time, and this is another reason to not become too rigid within it. Keep to your values and what you want of your coaching practice and of clients, but also realise that goals can, and do, change for yourself as well as for your client. Flexibility within parameters is another tool as well as adaptation and creativity, and remember, what works for one client may not necessarily work for another, but this is what makes coaching interesting, inspiring and fun.
Summary:: Coaching is about establishing REALISTIC goals and by using step-by-step solutions. It is not about taking one giant leap forward, as quickly as possible, because this is too much growth, too quickly and will not be sustained. This process can be achieved by using The Grow Model. The Goal. The Reality check. The Options and probable Obstacles. The Way forward; the Will and the When. Commitment is vital to the coaching process otherwise nothing will be achieved, for you or for your client. Asking your client to give a score from 1 (this being no commitment), to 10 (full commitment) will give clarification of this. A score under a 7 indicates something isn’t real or congruent for your client. The way forward is to either question the reasons for this lower score and/or to re-look at the options. Be aware that goals can change even several sessions later….usually if a client isn’t carrying out their specified tasks, then this could mean that their goal isn’t the real one, so this is why it is important to remain open and flexible to possible changes and to different processes. That is life! Coaching is about life and all of the diversity that is contained within it.
SESSION FIVE Starting, Suggestions, Feedback and Finishing
Starting your session: A coaching session starts with: Rapport building which makes you and your client relaxed and ready to proceed. With new clients, informing them about what coaching is; giving them a general outline of the process and how it is designed to be flexible. Stating the length of the session as this gives, and reminds, your client of the time frame. Asking your client if they would like to be given suggestions if required. Asking your client what type of feedback they would like for the forthcoming session Getting their feedback about their progress from the homework set.
Starting a session correctly re-establishes your professional and working relationship, sets the boundaries and has given clarification. This only takes a few minutes to do. Your job is to manage your coaching sessions, with confidence
‘What will be your opening remarks to your client?’ ‘With a new client, how will you start your coaching journey together?’ ‘How will you inform them about what can/may happen within this journey?’ (ie. that there could be times of discomfort etc.)
‘How often will you say their name?’ ‘How will you manage the time frame?’ ‘How will you ask your client how they wish to receive your feedback and suggestions?’ ‘How will you approach your client about your requirements and feedback?’ ‘How confident will you be with setting the boundaries?’ ‘How will you do this?’ ‘How will this feel?’ ‘What else would you like to do?’
The next stage is to clarify with your client about what was decided upon on the previous session, and to then question them about the homework that was set and what action was taken. Most coaches ask their client to fill in, and to send them, a preparation form before their next coaching session. This helps to keep focus and clarity and saves time at the start of the session. An example of a preparation form is given at the end of this session for you.
‘How well did you proceed from your own GROW model from session four?’ ‘What was taking that first step like?’ ‘What were the results?’ ‘What else could you have done?’ ‘Did you do this?’ ‘How do you feel?’ ‘Has your long term goal remained the same?’ 64
‘What is your goal for this session?’
‘If you didn’t take that first step, what stopped you?’ ‘What were the reasons for this?’ ‘How could you have averted this?’ ‘How do you feel?’ ‘Has your goal changed?’ ‘How has it changed?’ ‘What are the reasons?’ ‘How would the filling in of a preparation form have helped you?’ ‘How do you want to proceed with this session?’
Suggestions: There are going to be times when your client becomes stuck and really can’t see a way forward or any other options. This is when you can give them a suggestion/s. Suggestions are given just to get your client moving again; they do not have to be accepted and acted on! As a coach, you will be able to see the ‘bigger picture,’ because you are observing from a more detached perspective so the road ahead is clearer to you, whilst your client is right in the middle of it and probably in a fog. Giving a suggestion helps to lift that fog, shows a way forward and is designed to get more ideas and options flowing again.
‘How will you know when to give your client a suggestion?’ ‘How will you approach them with this?’ ‘What will you say to them?’ ‘How many suggestions are you prepared to give?’ ‘How will you know when to stop?’ ‘What will you do if your client starts to shift their responsibilities over to you?’ ‘How will you respond if your client doesn’t accept the suggestion?’ ‘If this provokes a reaction in you, what will you do?’ ‘If you can’t think of a suggestion, what else can you do?’ ‘What will you say to your client?’ ‘How can you overcome this?’ ‘If it can’t: What will you then suggest to your client?’ ‘Will the goal need to be re-looked at in this case?’ ‘What feedback would you require?’
Feedback: Feedback is an important part of the coaching process because it re-clarifies the session, the goal and how the client is feeling etc. as well as making sure that the session/s are staying on track. This all deepens the relationship which engenders more trust and opens up your client even more to the possibilities within their life and to the belief that it can be reached and achieved. Coaching is a mutual journey and your client’s progression will also becomes your own, as you will learn something from every single session and from every client. 66
Coaching is about feedback; not only from you but also from your client! Generally feedback is held at the beginning and at the end of the session, but can be given at any stage. It is up to you and your client to discuss how much feedback and what type of feedback you both require within your coaching journey together.
‘What kind of feedback will you require?’ ‘When will you need it?’ ‘How will you ask your client to give you feedback?’ ‘How will you respond to positive feedback?’ ‘How will you respond if the feedback is not what you expected?’ ‘How will you feel?’ ‘What will you do?’ ‘What will you say to your client?’ ‘What kind of suggestions can they give to you?’ ‘What will you learn?’
Something can be said yet it can be ‘heard’ and be understood in many different ways by just using a certain tone of voice, or by missing out a key word, or through pausing in the wrong place and/or by mis-quoting etc. All of this can give different meanings to the listener and will eventually lead to confusion and in-congruency. How many times have you heard, “but I told you….!” only for you, back then, to have understood it in a completely different way? Feedback from you, to your client, is needed 67
during the times when they have given an ambiguous or unclear statement because, without a doubt, ambiguous and unclear statements will lead to all sorts of problems. It is so important that you remain clear to what your client is actually saying, and meaning, and not to what you think they are saying. At these times you will need to pause your client and go over again, and again and again if it is needed, the statement that your client has said so that you become absolutely clear about what they have actually said, and to clarify their true and real meaning. Do not worry about taking time over this because you will save time in the long run. If your client gets agitated then you will need to explore the reasons behind this agitation and annoyance, encouraging them gently and re-affirming that you are there to help them
‘How will you pause the session when you are not sure of your client’s meaning?’ ‘What will you say to your client?’ ‘How will you say this to them?’ ‘What type of feedback will you give them?’ ‘How will you re-start the session?’ ‘How important, do you think, is the taking of notes?’ ‘What are the reasons for this?’
It is so common for your client to say something, only for them to deny it or to say that they didn’t mean it that way at all, at a later date, and this can happen even within the same session. This could mean that your client is becoming defensive or is using avoidance tactics and you will need to challenge them about this if this is the case. Do also realise that it could be a 68
matter of a simple mis-understanding as well. Whenever these denials happen, for whatever reason, it is so easy to become unsure when you are being challenged like this and this is why the taking of notes will keep you clear to what your client has said and then this can be fed back to them word for word.
Finishing your session: A coaching session comes to a close by: Reminding your client of the time that is remaining. Asking them how they want to finish in the time that is remaining. Asking them for their feedback on how they felt the session went. With new clients, also asking how this first session was for them. Setting homework. Make sure that your client writes this down. Book or re-affirm the next session. Signing off with rapport. Writing up your notes.
Coaching is about you being business-like, friendly, assertive and by finishing on time! After all, this is a working relationship as your client is paying you to coach them and correct closing establishes that. Allowing your client, or yourself, to overrun the session will not give enough time to write up your notes, clear yourself and be ready for your appointment with your next client. 69
‘At what stage will you remind your client about the time remaining?’ ‘How will you remind your client?’ ‘What will you say?’ ‘How will you respond if they ask for a few minutes extension?’ ‘How will you feel?’ ‘What will you learn from this?’ ‘How will you avert this in the future?’ ‘How much time will you allocate for feedback and for homework setting?’ ‘How will you book your next session with your client?’ ‘Your client has paid in ‘block’ and this was the last session of that block, how will you clarify the next sessions and about being paid?’ ‘How will you ‘sign off’?’ ‘What will you say?’ ‘When will you say their name?’ ‘Why is it important that your client writes down their own notes, homework and goals?’ ‘How much time will you allocate to the writing up of your notes?’ ‘How much of this time will be for given to write down your progression?’ ‘Where will you store your notes?’ ‘Where will your working space be?’
Coaching is ‘going to work’, even though the majority of it is done at home, either face70
to-face or by the telephone, so it is important that you have a space to work in which can be separated, or feels separate, from your everyday, home environment and where you can ‘feel the part,’ even if this ‘space’ is only a table in the corner of the room, because what is important is that when you are there you feel business-like, ready for work (focused), and that you know that you won’t be disturbed. End of this fifth session.
So, only two more sessions to go! At this stage you will probably be thinking and feeling that you will never make it as a coach because lots of things would have gone wrong...you probably have had a disastrous session, or even a few, and your confidence it falling rapidly, or that you can’t remember everything etc. Relax and fear not!! This is very, very normal in these early stages of coach training and if this hasn’t happened…...well done to you!..... do make sure that you don’t start to get ‘clever’ and overconfident. Every ‘mistake’ you make can only make you a better coach because we all, really, only learn from our errors etc. The bit to remember, and to really take on board, is not to beat yourself up about it and to think about giving it all up, which is common at this stage; however, nothing ventured nothing gained…..and like the coaching process, it is the dedication and commitment that you put into your learning that will eventually result in you becoming, and being, the best coach that you can possibly be. 71
Coaching takes practise and this is needed to begin to build up your practice! This form is to benefit you and your client. It is designed to keep them focused and clear about their weekly goals, and you of course. It is recommended that they return this form to you before each of their coaching sessions.
CLIENT PREPARATION FORM Please complete and return prior to each coaching session: 1. This is what I have achieved since my last session.
2. This is what I did not get done, but intended to do.
3. These are the challenges that I am now facing.
4. These are the opportunities that are available to me right now.
5. This is what I want to focus on during my next coaching session.
To be completed after the session: 1. This is what I have gained from this coaching session.
2. This is what I still need to work on.
3. This is what I want to do before my next session.
4. Anything else!
Summary: Your job, as a coach, is to manage your sessions with confidence by starting with rapport building and with your session ‘rules.’ To get feedback from any homework set and for what is required, by both of you, during the coming session Suggestions can be given if your client becomes really stuck, but this is to just to get them moving forward again. A professional session is about being business-like, friendly, assertive and by finishing on time, because, after all, this is a working relationship. The writing up of notes, as well as your own progression, is very important, as this clarifies the session; the progress of your client and of yourself. Practise, practise, practise is the key to a good practice!
Building your Practice
Most coaches begin building up their practices by having non-paying clients at first. This gives you time to build up your confidence with your new profession and to try out various techniques until you feel comfortable and practised with them. Every client you have will be, different and will need different approaches and every coaching session will be different, even with the same client. Non-paying clients reduces much of the pressure to ‘deliver the goods,’ at first, and helps you to relax into your coaching and, of course, allows you to practise, practise, practise. Also, these first clients can supply you with testimonials and references which can then be used when you start advertising for your paying clients. Note: Do be aware that non-paying clients are only investing in their time, and maybe their curiosity, and not their money etc. Would your sessions be ‘of value’ to them and would they really act toward their goal? I suggest you choose your practise clients carefully and that you limit your free sessions per client.
Coaching is a professional business; contracts are signed and working practices are established and adhered to! Not everyone likes contracts, however they do set out, in writing, your fees, your terms and conditions and how you run your coaching practice.
A ‘letter of agreement’ is a more subtle approach. It is your coaching practice and it is your choice which method you use. Contracts and letters are a positive sign that your client is committed to the coaching process. Two copies are sent to your client with a request that they sign and return one.
‘Which method have you decided to use?’ ‘What are the reasons for this?’ ‘What can you do to help yourself draw up a contract/letter?’ ‘How are you going to phrase your contract/letter?’ ‘What else can you add?’
Coaching is a self-employed profession and will need to be declared to your Tax Office. Term your coaching as ‘one-to-one training,’ this way you do not pay VAT. Taking out a Public Liability Insurance is recommended.
Fees and payment: Coaching sessions are usually booked in blocks of 4 weeks, however, this is again for you to decide and with what you feel comfortable with. Do make sure though that your client pays you in advance as this keeps everything clear and business-like. Your client pays your fees in advance. This avoids bad debts and the risk of non-payment. Do not start your coaching sessions until you have received your payment and it has 76
been cleared. During the 4th week, confirm the arrangement for the next 4 if appropriate. Be firm with late calling clients. Finish the session at the appointed time. It is your practice and you determine the dates and times that you will coach.
‘Have you decided on a fee for your services?’ ‘How did you reach this decision?’ ‘Is it congruent to you?’ ‘How does your fees compare with the fees of other coaches in your area?’ ‘If you don’t know, how can you find this out?’ ‘Would you pay this, or more, for coaching sessions for yourself?’ ‘How much more, or less, would you pay?’ ‘What are your reasons for this?’ ‘How do you define “value for money”?’ ‘What is your value to yourself and your practice?’ ‘How often are you going to review your fees?’ ‘What will be your reply if your client says they cannot afford your charges?’ ‘How will you ascertain their reasons for this?’ ‘What would you offer them if they really cannot pay your maximum fee?’ ‘How would you offer a fee reduction?’ ‘How much would you shorten your sessions by?’ ‘What are you prepared to reduce your fees by?’ 77
‘For how long?’ ‘What other options are there?’ ‘Will you ask your client for an interim contract?’ ‘What can you do to find out when your client can pay your full fee?’ ‘How will you inform your client about this?’ ‘When will the full fee start?’ ‘When will you issue your invoices?’ ‘Will you send receipts?’ ‘How will you approach your client if they are slow or reluctant in paying?’ ‘What does this signify to you about their commitment?’ ‘How would you re-clarify their commitment to moving forward?’ ‘If your client cancels a session/s, what will you do?’ ‘How will this affect your time and your appointment system?’ ‘How far are you prepared to compromise?’ ‘If your client cancels their contract, how will you deal with this?’ ‘How will you feel?’ ‘What will be the effect on your confidence?’ ‘What will you need to do if it is affected?’ ‘How important is your coaching business to you and why?’
Most coaches offer a 20 minute free session to potential clients as this gives them a taster of your coaching and will also clarify for you if they are the type of client you want. How the 78
rapport is between you can also be determined as well as how committed they would be to the coaching process. It is wasting your time and your credibility, along with their money and the risk that they may give you bad references, if the potential client will not seriously commit themselves, for whatever reason. Sometimes this is because some people like to have a coach, just so they can say that they have a coach because this is a form of attention seeking; it is a ‘poor me,’ and it fosters dependency as well as bolstering their negative self-belief system. Coaching is a supportive system that is designed to help your client out of their problem and to move them forward and away from it. It is not to probe and to stay within it, as this will keep your client looking back and could possibly keep them stuck within that problem.
Record keeping: Keep a regular record of your coaching income and expenditure. Keep a record for each client including non-paying ones. Keep the records of finished clients. Note the dates, start times and finish times of every contract and of every session. Write up notes immediately after each session. Review them immediately before the next session. All records are to remain confidential.
Ethics and good practice: It is a sign of an excellent practice to adhere to a code of ethics and good practice. This 79
sets out clearly the standards you are prepared to work by and builds trust and an effective communication with your client. It is a ‘contract’ that sets out the essential elements of an ethical, competent and effective practice.
‘What will be your code of ethics and good practice?’ ‘How will you inform your client of this?’ ‘What will you do if the code is compromised?’ ‘How will you rectify this?’ ‘A coach has no judgements about their client’s decisions and goals, however, what will be your course of action if you are unable to carrying on coaching your client because your own personal code of ethics and integrity is being compromised too much?’ ‘Will you tell your client your reasons for this?’ ‘How will you tell them?’ ‘How will you feel and what will you learn from this?’
An example of a basic code of ethics is set out for you at the end of this session.
Advertising: Networking is the best form of advertising and it is free! Wherever you go, tell people what you are and describe your profession in a brief, but proud way. The best way to get people interested is to have an opening statement that makes them question what it is you actually do. Hand out your business cards and place adverts around your area. 80
Personal recommendations and references are another good form of advertising, so ask every client to write one for you. Put these references onto your adverts if you wish, however there is a school of thought that this is not good practice, but this is for you to decide. Keeping a portfolio is another good way because this can then be shown to potential clients and it will also show them any on-going training that you have undertaken, or are planning to do. Getting your local paper to write an article about you usually generates many potential clients and a lot of coaches use this method, as well as approaching your local radio station. Bizarrely, a lot of coaches have found clients by advertising in the local hairdressing salons. Sport halls are good too and where any form of personal development/fitness etc. takes place.
‘How will you know that you are ready to accept fee-paying clients?’ ‘How will you feel?’ ‘What can you say to yourself to keep your confidence up?’ ‘What can you do, or what signal, can you give yourself to remember?’ ‘When will you start advertising after making this decision?’ ‘What form will your advertising take?’ ‘What other forms can you use?’ ‘How will you word your adverts/business cards?’ ‘Will you state your fees on your adverts?’ ‘What can be your opening statement?’ ‘How do you feel when you talk about coaching?’ ‘How can you boost your confidence if needed?’ 81
‘How will you know that a person might be a potential client?’ ‘What will you say to them?’ ‘What approach will you use to encourage the potential to take up your offer of a short, free session?’ ‘When will you book it for?’ ‘How will you coach them, face-to-face or by telephone?’ ‘How will you encourage the potential to sign-up for fee-paying sessions if all goes well?’ ‘When will you send your contract/letter of agreement?’ ‘If the potential wants to sign up, but you are not comfortable with them, what will you do?’ ‘What will you say to them?’ ‘When will you look into the reasons for your feeling uncomfortable?’
Complaints: If your client complains, clarify the nature of the complaint and question your client about how they would like you to rectify it as this effectively throws the ball back into their court. If there is still a problem, offering one free session to solve the problem usually works as your client will feel appeased and heard and it will strengthen the rapport between you, as well as the trust.
‘How will you question your client if a complaint is made?’ ‘How far are you prepared to go to appease your client?’ 82
‘Will this cross your boundaries?’ ‘If a free session doesn’t work, what else can you do?’ ‘If this doesn’t work and other options have been investigated, what is the best way to close your contract with this client?’ ‘Would you offer their money back?’ ‘What are the reasons for this?’ ‘How will you feel?’ ‘Why will you feel like this?’ ‘Do you need to re-analyse yourself?’ ‘What can you do to re-build your confidence?’ ‘When will you need a coach?’
Closing a contract: Inevitably your contract with your client will come to a close. They will have reached their solution/goal, with your valuable support and they will be ready to make their own way forward from then on. Closing a contract is a time of celebration, tinged with sadness, because a special relationship is ending with all the happy and sad emotions that can accompany that. You, as the coach, will be proud and happy for a job well done and for helping another; but also because you are losing a ‘sort of friend’ and a source of income. Your client will be happy that they have come through a challenging time in their life and can now go alone with confidence; but also because their supportive ‘friend’ has gone and because, as said in session one, any change is unsettling. 83
‘How will you know that your client is ready to go alone?’ ‘How will you feel?’ ‘How will your client know that they are ready?’ ‘In what way will you close your relationship?’ ‘Will you ask your client to periodically keep you updated with their progress?’ ‘How will this make your client feel?’ ‘How will it affect the reputation of your business?’
End of this sixth session.
Building a practice, as with all new businesses, takes time and dedication and you will have to decide how much of your time you will need to build up your practice if you wish to eventually coach full time, especially if you are in other work. This is an area most new coaches find tricky at first, as obviously we all have financial commitments; however, it is possible to run a successful practice alongside your other work and, as with the coaching process, it is the commitment that you apply that determines your results. Keep networking and keep your skills up because there is always something new to learn to add to your talents and abilities but, above all, be yourself. Coaching is an on-going journey and the more experienced and knowledgeable you can become, about yourself and your profession, the higher your fees can go. There are examples of a Letter of Agreement: Code of ethics and Letter of Achievement following. 84
LETTER OF AGREEMENT
Thank you for signing this letter of agreement. Please can you read through it; sign both and then return one to me.
The Agreement: The Coaching sessions are over…… sessions and I… …………..have paid the fee of …………which is only refundable if my Coach, or another appropriate party, cannot complete. The sessions will be via telephone calls which will be paid for by myself and will be within normal working hours unless otherwise agreed. Everything is to remain confidential. I abide by the attached code of ethics and good practice. I am happy to accept an electronic signature. If not, my Coach’s copy will be returned by post and received before the first session commences.
CODE OF ETHICS AND GOOD PRACTICE The person receiving coaching is called the client. All clients should expect a high standard of practice from their coach. Coaches are required to recognise both personal and professional limitations. Clients are required to recognise their own personal and professional limitations, or be willing to explore this with their coach within their session/s. Coaches must maintain good personal health and fitness in body and mind. If general fitness is compromised, the coach is required to withdraw from their practice until they are restored to good health. Clients must be offered the appropriate, alternative support during this period. Coaches are required that their clients are informed of the coaching contract/letter of agreement, terms and conditions, prior to the initial session. This includes confidentiality, costs, any refunds and frequency of sessions. Coaches are required to be honest and straightforward with any requests for information from their client about the methods in which the coaching process will be conducted. Clients are required to be honest and straightforward with their coach and to inform them of any change of circumstances, whether personal or professional, that may affect the coaching process and their coach’s reputation. Coaches must respect their client’s culture, religion, gender, race and sexuality. Coaches must respect the client’s right to terminate their coaching contract. The client must abide by the terms and conditions of that contract/letter of agreement. Coaches must maintain appropriate records of their clients and their progress. 86
Coaches are required to keep themselves informed of any statutory or legal requirements that may affect their work. Coaches are strongly advised to have insurance. Coaches must act in a manner that does not bring the profession of coaching into disrepute.
LETTER OF ACHIEVEMENT
Thank you for your very enjoyable sessions and congratulations on your achievement and future success.
It is easy to forget, or to not realise, how much effort and dedication is required for an achievement of this kind, and I am sure that the knowledge and confidence that you have gained will go toward helping you successfully reach your future goals and aspirations.
I will be delighted to hear of your progress and of future achievements.
Summary: Coaching is a professional business; contracts are signed and working practices are established and adhered to. This is covered by: The type of contract you and your client feel comfortable with. Setting fees and payment methods. Ethics and good practice. Record keeping. How to deal with any complaints. Closing a contract. Advertising your services. Keeping your skills up as there is always something new to learn. By being yourself most of all.
Coaching and Counselling
When is a coach not a coach? There will come a time when a client will come to you to help them with their problems which are out of the boundaries of coaching. It is important to realise when your client needs the support of another professional and your job and responsibility is to coach and move them into the best method of treatment for them.
Coaching moves a person out of their problems, into their solutions and clarifies a way forward! Counselling looks back into a problem to find the cause and the way to treat and heal that problem!
Personal ego has no room in coaching. The goal of coaching is for your client to achieve their goals, even if this is through the services of another. A coach is not a counsellor! If you start to suspect that your client has a disorder of some kind, then this needs to be addressed by a trained counsellor and not by you. Closing a contract because of this does not mean that you or your coaching methods have failed. On the contrary, it establishes that you have clarified a situation and have shown the way forward to treating and healing that situation for your client as well as proving your integrity and sense of responsibility. 90
Your coaching is not for you, it is for your client! Responsibility is ‘the ability of how to respond to a given situation’. If you feel a failure or lose confidence over this, or over any other matter, then this is a signal that there is an issue within yourself that needs to be looked into and dealt with. This is the awareness of self as set out in session one.
‘What signals do you need to be aware of, that point to a disorder within your client?’ ‘If you are not sure, how will you find out ?’’ When will you find out?’ ‘What approach will you use with your client?’ ‘What will you say to your client?’ ‘How will you move them into more appropriate forms of treatment?’ ‘What suggestions can you give them?’ ‘How will you close the contract?’’ Will you follow up?’ ‘Where does your responsibility to your client end?’ ‘If your client denies that they have a problem, how will you respond?’ ‘What can you suggest to your client then?’ ‘When does the time for suggestions stop and advice giving begin in this situation?’ ‘How firm are you prepared to be?’ ‘How will you close the contract if your client is still denying, but you know not to continue?’ ‘How can you advise them?’ ‘How can you clarify that you have helped them to the limit of your knowledge and ability?’ 91
‘What else can you do?’ Make sure that all your notes are written up in full and detail what you have advised your client to do etc. Most coaches keep a list of the names and telephone numbers of all the local therapists and counsellors which can then be passed onto your client. It is your client’s choice on how they proceed after they have finished with you and whether they take up therapy, or not.
Friends and Family: Although for the purposes of this course you have been asked to practise on friends, most coaches would agree that it is best to leave your friends as just that, friends. It is very normal to want to use your new found skill on everyone you meet and all new coaches tend to do this; however, there is a line between friendship and work and you could end up coaching to all and sundry (great for practise sessions) to the detriment of your coaching practice and to your friendships. If a friend wants you to coach them, I suggest that you put friendship aside and regard them as a normal paying client. You only coach them at the times decided upon and never in a social setting. This does seem clinical, but it is very easy to be taken for granted and not to be valued. After all, this is your living and no matter how much we all freely wish to help another, there do need to be boundaries set up and adhered to, for the sake of yourself, your friends and your clients.
‘What would you say to a friend who has approached you for coaching?’ ‘How would you say this?’ 92
‘Would you sign a contract or letter of agreement?’ ‘If you don’t, what will you do instead to keep clarity?’ ‘What would be your fees?’ ‘Would your friendship be compromised if they become a “client”?’ ‘How can you avert this?’ ‘How would you guarantee that your impartiality isn’t compromised?’ ‘How would you feel if your friend/client has issues come up?’ ‘How would they feel?’ ‘If they become uneasy, how will you deal with this?’ ‘If necessary, how would you suggest that they go to another coach or counsellor?’ ‘How would you close this contract?’ ‘How would your friendship be changed and affected?’ ‘What is more important to you, in this situation, your friendships or your practice?’
The Family is where very, very few coaches tread. This is an area which can become, quite literally, a minefield! Children and teenagers respond brilliantly to coaching, but it is far better if it is done by someone outside of the family. Even the adult members can be very….surprising! Too often a coach will be told… “Don’t you do that coaching stuff on me!”....or issues will come up which can lead into all sorts of unexpected emotions and problems. I suggest, very strongly, that you leave your family alone unless you are really aware and prepared for any possible consequences, whatever they may be. 93
If they approach you, be clear, and that you make sure that they know your ‘rules’ and how far you are prepared to go. I recommend that you keep it to straightforward themes.
A Life Coach never stops learning, changing and adapting, just like life itself because life is a very diverse and, at times, challenging road and coaching and the clients that you will have will reflect that, and in all of that diversity. Coaching is wonderful work which rewards immensely and it is an honour and a big responsibility to help others but, through it all, really enjoy your coaching and have fun with it because life is all about that too
‘How has this course helped you?’ ‘What else do you need to know?’ ‘How can you find this out?’ ‘Has it inspired you to begin coaching?’ ‘How has it inspired you?’ ‘When will you begin?’ ‘What is your first step?’ ‘What area/s of the course did you find particularly challenging?’ ‘What has it taught you about yourself?’ ‘How can you incorporate your previous skills with your new knowledge of coaching?’ ‘If you have a problem, will you engage the services of a coach?’ ‘If not, why not?’ ‘How can you meet other coaches?’ 94
‘How have you changed since you began this course?’ ‘What affect has this had on you?’ ‘How has it affected others?’ ‘Where do you see yourself this time next year?’
End of this seventh session.
Well done for completing the course and, hopefully, you are now feeling that you have gained enough background knowledge, and have had good experiences, to give you the confidence to move forward into your own coaching practice, however that may be. If you do not, then I suggest you go over some of the sessions again and keep practising on pro-bono clients. As was said before……. ‘Your client is your best teacher’…..and do please take advantage of that. Coaching is not rocket science, it is the ability to listen with empathy and rapport, to another, to help them to clarify a way for them and to move them out from their situation. Sometimes listening is enough…...this being the most important tool of all!
Coaching, it seems, has become a bit exclusive, complicated and is now very expensive, so it is out of the reach of a lot people who would love to coach, but believe that only an accredited or well-known course will help them to achieve this. However, most people are naturals and are listening to people, and helping them, without probably being aware of it and this is where this course comes in as it gives the foundations and the methods, or tools, of coaching. Some of 95
the best coaches have had no official training at all, but coach through a genuine and heartfelt desire to help another…..called to service if you like…..and through experience, intuition and common sense. Like everything, the more complicated something gets, the more difficult it is to just simply let yourself know what the next step, question or move is. Coaching, or those who teach it, state that everyone has the answers within them and that we all really know what to do….and it is the same with actually coaching someone. You will have the answers within you, it is simply about pulling them out, and this is what this course has intended to do. Of course, damage can be done without the right training, intentions, integrity and care, and some do want to coach simply as a power or ego trip because, after all, coaching does affect people’s lives so there does need to be a very healthy respect for this. However, as said, it is not rocket science and coaching does emphasise that the client has control over their coaching session, with the coach just being the guide and the clarifier.
Thank you for joining me on this course. There are many excellent accredited training courses out there which are available and do not cost the earth, and I hope that this course has inspired you to take up that further training, or to actually start coaching. Following are examples of types of questions....they are not in any particular order, and do remember the 4 questions ‘making a change’ from session one….these are most clarifying. Happy coaching! Sarah Koch. www.dragonduciel.com/lifecoaching.htm 96
Summary: Coaching moves a client out of their problems and into their solutions and clarifies a way forward. Counselling looks back into a problem to find the cause and the way to treat that problem. The goal of coaching is for your client to achieve their goals, even if this is through the services of another. A COACH IS NOT A COUNSELLOR. Be clear with friends who wish to be coached by you. Regard them as a normal paying client, coaching only on the times decided and never in a social setting. Be clear if a ‘mates rate’ is to be applied. Leave your family alone unless prepared and keep to straightforward themes.
TYPES OF QUESTIONS What do you want? What is the essence of this? What is ahead? How do you feel successful? How do you not feel successful? What has happened for you to feel successful? What gift are you not being responsible for? What if there were no limits? What’s in your way? What can you do about this? What would make the biggest difference? What would it be like to experience excitement and fear at the same time? What’s important about that? What would it take for you to treat yourself like your best client? What decision would you make from a position of strength? What decision would you make from a position of weakness? What are you not saying? What needs to be said that hasn’t been said? What is working for you? What isn’t working for you? What do you have invested for continuing this way? 98
What is motivating you? What isn’t motivating you? What is this person contributing to your life now? What is this person not contributing to your life now? How can you resolve this? What is the best that can happen? What is the worst that can happen? What is your vision for yourself and for those around you? What are you denying yourself right now? What do you feel that you have been putting up with? What goals have you set aside as unachievable? What personal habit or trait do you want to change? What do you want to happen? What don’t you want to happen? What is getting in the way of your full potential? Where in your life can you make change and movement? How will you feel when you achieve your goal? How can you begin to start feeling that way now? What resources do you have? What is the simplest solution? What haven’t I asked that I should have asked? What are you willing to give up? 99
What aren’t you willing to give up? How will this affect your goal? What comes first? What consequence are you avoiding? How is this worth it? What good qualities are in your present situation? What are the different ways you can approach this issue? If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do, What do you respond to? What do you not respond to? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? How can you change this state? When were you successful in the past? How can you apply this principle again? Why not? When is an excuse not an excuse? What is really stopping you? When did you decide to do this? Why did you decide this? What sort of person are you? What sort of person do you want to be? 100
How does your behaviour affect others? How does it affect you? What mental strategies do you have? What skills do you have? What skills would you like? How do you feel worthy? How do you not feel worthy? What can be delegated for the short term? Who can help you? What is the difference between the you of now and the you of yesterday? What stopped you from doing this before? What mistakes have you made? How did you resolve these mistakes? Looking back from now, would you still call them mistakes? What did you learn from them? How can you take charge? How do you know it is right? How do you know it is not right? What is the most useful question I can ask right now? What suggestions could I make to you? What limiting beliefs do you have? What positive beliefs do you have? 101
How does the beliefs of others affect you? What can you do about this? Are you doing this for yourself or for others? How can you compromise? What is the difference between a should and a want? What happened when you followed a should? What happened when you followed a want? What are you frightened of? What excites you? How do others inspire you? How do others not inspire you?
What other questions can you now think of?
www.learndirect-advice.co.uk www.coachingnetwork.org.uk www.associationforcoaching.com www.comptogether.co.uk www.coachville.com www.24-7coaching.com www.coachingformore.co.uk www.coachfederation.org www.peer.ca/coaching.html www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/life_coaching www.coachingsupervisionacademy.com www.new-oceans.co.uk www.groups.yahoo.com/group/training-ideas www.dragonduciel.com
This is a simply written, proactive, unique and practical course which takes you, the would-be-coach, through your own personal coaching experience as you learn. The course will take you, step by step, through the structure and concept of coaching, from the foundations up, to give you the essential tools, knowledge and understanding from which to build your practice.
The course will cover and teach: Self-awareness Client awareness How to stay clear Achieving goals How to conduct a session How to start a practice When to coach and when not to coach
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