This blog will share some of my thoughts as I embark upon this adventure of launching my coaching business. Perhaps some of the lessons I will learn along the way may be of use to others.
My recently completed a Level 7 Executive Coaching and Mentoring Diploma course required me to log 100 hours of coaching and mentoring work. These hours, plus the coaching I have done since qualifying, have given me much to reflect upon, and I am aware that my coaching style has evolved over this period. Initially, I felt very tied to following the coaching models in my sessions (GROW, OSCAR etc.) and I relied heavily upon a bank of ‘good questions’ to ask. I am pleased to note that as my confidence has grown, I am more prepared to trust myself to listen more deeply for meaning, stories, metaphors and ‘hot words’ and to observe non-verbal clues in the client’s communication. By being prepared to listen and observe quietly, without feeling the pressure to stick to the agenda of a model or think of something clever to ask, I have been able to ‘dance in the moment’ (I love that phrase) and trust my intuition to point to the next step in the conversation. This gives me great confidence.
A further boost to my confidence has been the positive feedback I have received from clients. It is affirming and pleasing to know that one can occasionally make a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes, this feedback follows some deeply thoughtful and useful work covering several sessions, but frequently a client will express satisfaction from being simply listened to or using me as a sounding board for ideas. I therefore conclude that a coach can sometimes achieve much by being a listening, non-judgemental and thoughtful presence for the client, and letting the client do most of the talking.
Coming from a teaching background I have to occasionally curb the impulse to offer advice. This can run against the grain for a teacher, but I am now more willing to allow the client to explore their situation and to seek solutions for themselves. Throughout much of my career, I supported young people making important life-changing decisions such as career choices and UCAS higher education applications. I have used this experience and some coaching tools to create my own 10-step decision making model to assist clients grappling with tough decisions. Whilst I can’t claim this is an entirely original piece of work, we all ‘magpie’ ideas from each other, I am pleased with how it has worked so far with a handful of clients. If you are interested, I have written an article on this at:
I would welcome any thoughts on how to improve this approach.
So it is evident to me that it is a slow process getting a new business up and running; fortunately I have other income streams to keep me going. Though I am spending time writing this piece, I am all too aware that merely having an online presence is not enough, and there is no substitute for speaking with potential clients face-to-face and presenting an effective ‘elevator pitch’ to hook their interest in what I can offer them. However, the trick is finding the opportunities to do this. I have some ideas on this, and I shall let you know how I get on. My slight frustration, no doubt shared by others in similar situations, is that I know that my coaching skills, whilst developing all the time, are strong and I love doing coaching; but I have yet to convince paying clients of this.
Well, back to it.
‘One, two, three heave!’