1. Surprise and DELIGHT your clients with a "Welcome Pack". Who doesn't love to receive a surprise package in the mail? Include a hand-signed welcome letter and some coaching exercises to get them started. For extra impact add a small but relevant gift like unusual pens, coloured sticky notes or a fun or classy notebook.
2. TURN IT OVER to them. Try, "Well, what do you think I should ask you next?" This is a handy question to have up your sleeve for a tricky conversation or when you're not sure which direction to follow next. And it's also a life-saver if you're stuck and genuinely don't know what to ask them next!
3. TRICK your clients. They're stuck. You want them to brainstorm and get creative but they keep hitting a brick wall. So, ask them not to come up with just 3 or 5 ideas -- but 30, 50 or even 150! Their conscious, inner critic will shut down in panic. And now that they've been challenged it becomes a fun game for their creative right-brain. They may not come up with 150 ideas, but if they manage 43 you've broadened their possibilities, 43 times over!
4. PUSH YOURSELF out of your comfort zone. Take some risks with your coaching. RISK angering your clients, RISK upsetting your clients, RISK pushing their buttons -- always with the bigger picture of their goals and their agenda in mind. If you don't take risks why should they?
5. SWAP roles. Pick an issue they're stuck on and pretend to be your client while they role-play you -- their coach. Be kind but real, and make sure to use their own phrases and expressions. And allow them to 'play' you however they see fit, you might gain some insights of your own!
6. BREAK the rules. If you think something is getting in the way, don't wait for them to bring it up -- throw in some homework around it! Maybe it will simply be a pondering assignment, to get more sleep or to review who they spend their time with. This isn't about leading them, but trusting your instincts to get them most out of your clients.
7. Give them YOUR helicopter perspective. Instead of asking them, say what YOU see currently and share what you'd LIKE to see for them going forwards. Make it clear that its YOUR perspective -- and be totally up front and honest, but make sure you have good rapport!
8. Be OPEN. Ask your clients how you could get more out of them. What could you DO differently? How could you BE differently with them? And then customize your style for each client.
9. "And IF YOU DID KNOW?" This is one of my all-time favourite questions -- given in answer to, "I don't know." Use it carefully, or launch it at them, but be sure to have good rapport with your client first. Be prepared for quizzical or annoyed pauses in the conversation, but don't react. Say NOTHING. Let them sweat, stew, ramble on. And then see if they really did know, but were just afraid to say it out loud.
10. Bring out their INNER CHILD. This is about being childLIKE -- but not childish. Get them to imagine they are 5 and full of wonder at the world. What possibilities do they see now? What really matters to them? How are they different? Give them a magic wand and see what they do with it!
11. Be VULNERABLE. Share your journey with them. Not how you became a coach, but your successes, failures and fears. People love stories and sometimes when you're being coached it can feel like the coach is the expert -- over there -- and they're sat over here. Underneath we're all the same, and showing a little (strategic) vulnerability now and then can do wonders to build your coaching relationships.
Copyright 2009 Simplicity Life Coaching Ltd.
Emma-Louise Elsey is the CEO of Simplicity Life Coaching Ltd. and The Coaching Tools Company.com. She is a certified Life Coach, NLP practitioner and recovering perfectionist who loves creating coaching tools, writing and over the years has worked with many successful professionals and business owners.
Free Coaching Tools: So, if you're curious, there are Free Coaching Tools and templates for you at The Coaching Tools Company.com. There's a complimentary Wheel of Life, Coach Question Sheets to get clients unstuck, set extraordinary goals as well as business templates for new coaches and seminar organization - and we add more Coaching Tools and free resources on a monthly basis!
And while you're there, you may want to sign-up for our monthly ezine -- The Launch Pad -- and get my all-time favourite tool "Troll Travels - Who am I?" as a sign-up gift. Be the first to hear about new tools, get special subscriber discounts and links to other useful coaching resources!
If you have any other questions or suggestions - just give me a shout, I'd love to hear from you!
I totally agree, if we hold back than we are being less than our best. I think the key for me is being present and to share what "comes up". They can get "help, advice,sympathy and conversation" from their friends and colleagues. Coaching is much bigger than that.
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Emma-Louise Elsey helps fellow coaches raise their game with awesome coaching articles, exercises and tools at The Coaching Tools Company.com. And coming in Fall 2011 she helps people coach themselves to find happiness and meaning at Bite-Sized Life Coaching.com
Pearl’s clients become better leaders, and better people. They are better at having the real conversations that create results. They are better at moving their organization towards the changes they believe in. They are working more collaboratively and learning to thrive in teams and partnerships.
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Linda Dessau, CPCC, is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online. She helps coaches and other small business owners get better results from their online writing. Visit her website for a free article writing tool.