Our second guest post in the series on “Positive Practices in Coaching & Mentoring” is brought to you by Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach) who runs Kingfisher Coaching with a mission to help people, teams, and organisations to deliver on their potential.
I love the way that the message here is applicable beyond the world of coaching & mentoring… Enjoy!
It is ALL about the client
I read a lot of blogs and I try to read broadly so that I don’t just read things that support my own point of view. The downside of this is that I read a lot of things that worry me about coaching as a profession. I’ve read plenty of things suggesting that the only way to make money as a coach is to develop a product (like an e-book) that will generate a ‘passive income’ or to produce a new approach that you then licence to others. Of course, both of these approaches have to be supported by fairly aggressive marketing and they often seem to go down the ‘success secrets’ and the ‘amazing, guaranteed results’ road.
I don’t want to come across as snarky and there are some good e-books and some very good approaches but the positive practice that I want to focus on is that ‘It is all about the client’ and I do worry that there is too much encouragement that ‘It is all about the coach’!
If I think back to my first few experiences as a coach, there were two ways that I was very different to how am I now:
(1) Method: I remember being hugely prepared with ‘my approach’ and a little too fixed in my ways, having a preconception of how I was going to help my client.
(2) Ego: I recall a slight sense of desperation in wanting my clients to know how clever and skilled I was, hoping that they would tell others how skilled and clever I was!
The positive practice that I want to highlight is that it is ALL about the client. As coaches, this means that it doesn’t matter how we label ourselves and what ‘kind’ of coach we are, we need a flexibility of approach, method, and style that is in the best interests of the client. And it means that we need to approach our clients from a position of humility in that it is not in any way about our own ego, but is all about the client.
If you are a skilled coach and your entire focus is your client, then I believe you will drive positive results for your clients and will be successful. You may not have ‘success secrets’ to sell, but working with clients with flexibility and humility will shine through over time.