I start each of my coaching sessions with a couple of short questions to help my client identify THE most important professional objective he needs to have successfully solved by the end of the session or coaching process (during more sessions). Many times this contracting phase is pretty subtle, as it happens that my client may have more than one objective he claims important. The simple fact that he is in a safe space, where there is trust, no criticism or judgement and in which my only concern is to contain the person and ensure a good flow of the process, gives him the possibility to:
- Share out loud – through talking – what already exists in the mind under some form of an idea, concept, possibility;
- Prioritize choices easier – by hearing his own thoughts coming out in loud, clearly articulated phrases;
- Clarify choices which strengthens the motivation to get things done;
- Continue the conversation will further clarify available resources, or any possible roadblocks as well as the final impact over his professional strategy;
A young manager may find the objective “to be a good example for his team”. As this objective is quite large and complex, I assist him, through open questions, mirroring and constant feedback to get more clarity over his thinking patterns, believes, as well as his general frame of reference. He starts building up on his own definition of what a good example is. How would the relationship with his team looked like if he succeeded in becoming “the example” that he wished to become? How would that impact the present dynamic? What needs to change or adjust?
The simple exercise of navigating through a wishful future clarifies blockages, saboteurs and limiting beliefs and makes room for some new perspectives. How would it be if he would start delegating more of his own tasks (to show trust), or get to know his team better (to increase his trust in return), or show more recognition and praise (to improve team’s overall well-being)? How much support, connection and presence will he create if the strategies and organizational changes were communicated more often, more clearly? What if he would encourage team members to ask more questions, share more ideas or give more feedback? Would that strengthen team’s morale and the trust in its own potential?
Having a partner coach helped my client align with himself and increased his self-worth. He left the session with a feeling of fulfillment. He was not alone in his search for a better version of leadership, and that triggered positive emotions and a real boost in his self-esteem.