Setting expectations upfront about coaching
In this short but very effective post Coaching is Not…, the author brings a very good distinction between coaching and other disciplines such as therapy, mentoring, management and consulting.
In my professional (and personal experience) so far, there is nothing more powerful and important than setting expectations. If you do it right, the path is clearer and better laid out for you and your client. So setting the expectations about what coaching is and is not is one critical step before initiating the coaching sessions per se.
And it is even more important in the current scenario where coaching is increasingly becoming more popular, and so we run the risk of having misconceptions about what it really is.
The coaches already know this but let me reinforce it: it is vital that you spend some time with your client setting the right expectations for the work. Even if your client does not think it is important or does not have the time for it.
If you are a client, make sure your coach addresses the nature of the work and what you can expect upfront. It is a well spent time.
Many clients are unclear of what to expect from coaching. Some of my clients come to their first coaching sessions expecting me to tell them what to do, focus on their past behaviors, or fix them. I explain coaching focuses on the present, goal setting, and forward movement. As a coach, I view my clients as naturally, creative, resourceful and whole. They have the solution. They may not realize it, but they do! It is my job to help them uncover the solution and to create action.
A colleague from the local ICF Chapter created the below distinctions between Coaching and other service professions.
What other distinctions stand out for you?
Therapist: Can deal with past patterns that don’t work and with intense emotions; Analyzes problems to find out “why?”; Often focuses on non-functional behaviors; Model: something is wrong that needs fixing
Coach: Focuses on present and future…
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