In a world filled with coaches, I’m still often asked “So what exactly does a coach do?” The idea of a coach for sports or fitness or even a job is quite easy to understand. But tell someone that you are or that you have hired a life coach – often a puzzled look comes over their face. I wait for it. I see it happening in their minds. “Oh – that’s cool – so you help people with their problems”. Well…not exactly… There is one word that describes (easily) what ALL coaches do. We help others transition.
I wish it were as simple as just that one word. However, it isn’t. People that come to coaching come from various walks of life. Some have invested in coaching previously, others have had professional therapy. Others have simply had great friends. Whatever the case, there is a process that one must go through to have a successful coaching relationship. This month, I’m discussing how to Ignite your Clients Transition to coaching.
The online dictionary defines the word transition as the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. As coaches, we help people get from where they are, to another desired state. How we do that and in what area of life we do that varies. Just like a kaleidoscope, the range of coaches continues to grow (what seems like daily). There are so many varying methods, tools, and specialties that ANY person who has a desire to change something in their life, can find a coach to assist them.
As a coach, the one thing we all desire is a successful coaching experience. Remember, the transition is not an event, it is a process. And while it is very true that a client must be ready for coaching – it is also true that as coaches we are responsible to facilitate the process.
This month I will share five things you can do to ignite your clients’ transition while coaching them.
1. Don’t assume they understand what coaching is.
2. Be clear on your policies and the methods you use in your business.
As I said, coaches are all very different. We are certified by different schools and organizations, trained on different methods and tools to use in our coaching and of course, our own life experiences help to make us all unique. You must be clear with your client on what to expect. This becomes increasingly more important if they have coached with someone else in the past. Clarity makes the process of coaching flow much more freely (and successfully) This will assist in keeping your client engaged (ignited) as they travel through their process.
One thing I often share with coaches is to create a document that explains how a coachee can get the most out of coaching. I’ve been coaching a while and my experiences caused me to put this document in place a few years back. I want to ensure that my clients are ready for coaching and I want them to get the greatest value out of the money they spend. So I make sure that they understand the importance of doing their self-appointed homework and that they are not walking down the street window shopping while we are in our meeting. (Yes, this has happened).
3. Work with people that ignite you!
4. Become an SME (Subject Matter Expert) in communication.
Yes, all coaches need to be able to communicate. But if you want to ignite your clients’ transition you have to be a master communicator. There are lots of tools and methods, but I would say start with these areas:
- Listening – People want to be HEARD. You cannot communicate effectively without listening. And don’t just listen to answer, listen to HEAR. There is a difference.
- Feedback- ensure you are giving feedback immediately and effectively. Correct with love, challenge paradigms that don’t serve your client, and remind them of their desired outcome. Linking feedback to outcomes is a great way to keep them ignited.
- Praise – Transition is not easy. When your client is successful, be willing to make a big deal out of it. A bit of encouragement can be just the energy they need to continue moving through a difficult shift. Also, teach them to be their cheerleader. Many people have achievements that go unnoticed and un-celebrated because they simply overlook them
5. Ensure you are at your best.
We all want clients that are making strides in their transition, achieving goals, and having positive outcomes from their time with us. We must remember, part of our responsibility to ensuring that our clients remain ignited throughout the process of coaching is our responsibility. It’s true, some clients are simply not ready for coaching and that’s fine. But when they are ready, let’s ensure that they reach their fullest potential by properly managing the relationship and consistently igniting our clients’ transition.