Donít Take the High Ground in Business Coaching
A small thing that those new to business coaching often succumb to is assuming a higher ground and trying to conduct coaching by directorial methods or by dispensing advice. While a fraction of such approaches may work for a small number of business coaches Ė in most instances, they donít work.
Keep in mind that the purpose of the coach is to enhance skills, especially problem-solving skills of the target population. This can hardly be done by taking an ďI know more than you doĒ approach in dispensing advice. In addition, directorial methods usually donít work because if the target population were excellent in following directions, the senior management would not have needed a business coach in the first place.
However, time and again in business coaching, we come up against situations where the only alternative seems to be to complete sessions either by being directorial or by dispensing advice and without truly engaging the target audience. This usually happens when the coaches are pressed for time.
Though business coaching is not meant to be a quick fix, organizations who hire business coaches often need things to be fixed as soon as possible. Business clients have little time to hear out the concerns of the coach or give time to address the real causes that are the root problems. They feel they have hired a coach or a consultant, and it is the job of the coach to solve the situation. Thus, coaches by necessity often have to assume a directorial attitude or one of ďI know more than you doĒ in order to get things done more quickly.
The danger with such an approach is that clients do not trust the given solution because they have not developed a personal connection or understanding of the advice. When the business coach finishes his contract, itís difficult to see him being called in a second time, unless his clients trust his solutions and feels personally connected to them. Clients are not wholly wrong to feel that if a coach is someone who simply gives orders for the target audience to follow, then that is something that can be done without a coach.
In business coaching, our real objectives are to help the target audience build problem solving skills by truly internalizing the solutions, by taking ownership, and by becoming energized through discovering new skills and activities. We donít simply tell others what to do. Instead, through exercises and actions, we lead clients to discover what they probably knew all along, but failed to connect the dots until the coach showed them.
Again, simply regurgitating or dispensing advice, though often needed when facing urgent issues, is dangerous, because when you give advice, you are making an assumption that you know more about the clientís business than you do. You can know more than the client in many other areas, but it is difficult to see how you could know more about the clientís own business.
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Small business coaching cannot work without your clients while working along with you.More often than not, we find clients who through our coaching learn how to connect the dots themselves, come up with much better and effective solutions than we could have offered.