CoachVille member? Use your CV password at this link
and access all 24 Critiques (8 brand new links as of Jan 26, 2003.)
Transcript of Critique
Thomas: I want to welcome you; good
morning, Frank, and welcome to coaching critiques!
Frank: Good morning, Thomas.
Thomas: You have a great voice; this is
Thomas Leonard, and if you’d give us a thumbnail about the work you’re
doing with this client and the nature of the client, we’ll get right
into the critiquing part.
Frank: This is a lady I’ve been
coaching with for about 3 ½ years and she has an unusual profession –
she is a horse whisperer, so she does a lot of horse gentling and
horse massage, but she’s also somewhat of an entrepreneur because she
does some marketing for related products retail in support of her
practice. She also had a very unusual circumstance happen to her just
after we started coaching, and she fell off a horse. She had several
broken ribs and was out of work for about a year, so I had to coach
her through that whole period of recovery and re-establishing her
practice. At this point, she’s still trying to rebuild the horse
gentling practice and she’s been supplementing that with other kinds
of activity to keep the money coming in, so that’s where we’re at.
Thomas: All right. What are you going
to be doing in this - ?
Frank: Well, we’re going to pick up
on what’s going on with her; she’ll tell us what it is . I just coach
her through whatever issues she brings up. I think the first thing
she brings up is that she wants to give up the retailing of the
massage oils and stuff because it hasn’t been has profitable as she’d
Thomas: And you’ve worked with her for a
year from what I’m hearing?
Frank: Oh no, around 3 ½ years we’ve
been working together, but there was about a year where she was unable
to practice her profession, so that was a very difficult time. She’s
still time to roll that practice back up to where she’s working at it
full time and it can support her.
Thomas: So you’re going to be working in
a response mode?
Frank: Yeah, more just responding to
how she’s feeling and what she feels is important to be dealing with
at the moment.
Thomas: Okay, great. Here we go.
Frank: How are you doing? Good
Client: Good morning; how are you?
Frank: What’s new with you this
Client: You know, something that’s
new, I just talked a girl this morning, Shannon, who I’m going to
transfer Equinox to because I’m – I guess, I’m going to narrow my
Frank: Oh, so you found someone to
take over the business, right?
Client: Yeah, and I doubt she does
anything with the rest of it, probably only the essential oils . I
hope she’ll be successful working it.
Frank: When you say you want to
narrow your focus, can you clarify what that means?
Client: Well, I really want….
Thomas: I’m going to stop there for a
second. Did she say – I think she must’ve because you pointed to it,
but I didn’t hear it, that the client wants to narrow her focus or did
you know that outside this particular recording?
Frank: No, well I know it outside the
recording, but she mentioned it earlier in the conversation.
Thomas: I’m glad you caught it because
when somebody says ‘narrow their focus’ it could mean about a million
different things, right? They toss it out as if we know what they’re
talking about and you asked a good question. It’s perfectly fine –
for the new coaches that are hearing this – to interrupt and make sure
this gets addressed so as you move forward through the rest of the
call, you know where she’s coming from. The client assumes that we
know, but we don’t know yet, and that’s not good enough for high-end
coaching. Good job. Here we go.
Client: … and right now, I’m doing
the cake shop 1 or 2 days a week, and that feels like a distraction to
me. Then, I have the company and it’s not that I’m spending much time
with it, it’s more just knowing that I’m not doing anything with it.
Frank: so it’s just a distraction or
drain or emotional - ?
Client: Yeah. Well, it’s….
Thomas: That was great, frank, because
she used that word ‘distraction’ and that’s a word that can mean so
many things. it’s ambiguous, and you gave her a couple of options.
That’s one of my particular preferences, too, like, ‘when you say
that’s a distraction, is that like a diversion or it’s expensive or
it’s toxic? You’re giving her some ideas and laying out some dots so
she can connect the dots or point out the one that fits for her, or it
may be none of them. Then, she can say, ‘oh no, it’s this instead.’
Often, the client doesn’t have the words at the tip of their tongue
that accurately express what they’re wanting to say and so by
prompting – some clients like it and some clients find it terribly
Frank: Right, and one thing that I
probably should’ve included in my description is that she’s in the
process of trying to write her 2nd book and she’s saying
that this time she’s spending at the cake shop is a distraction for
her energy towards her writing.
Thomas: Writing takes RAM and
freedom to have the room to do that. With working at the cake shop,
Thomas: Here we go.
Client: Just a sense of – I feel like
it’s a waste just sitting there, with no one working the product. I
just felt an obligation to find someone to pretty much give it to
rather than letting it go to waste.
Frank: Okay, is that an issue for you
at this point, then?
Thomas: And what’s behind that?
Frank: Well, I’m trying to find out
if she’s just trying to bring me up to speed as background or if she’s
trying to let me know if this is something she wants to discuss during
Thomas: Very good, because you know the
8th proficiency is hones in on what is important, and this
is your way of finding out whether it’s actually an issue to discuss
or just a check-in. We just don’t know without asking.
Thomas: Well done. Here we go.
Client: Giving the company away, I
feel really good about that, I feel really happy about how that’s
going. It’s more about how that’s been affecting me in my head and
the whole sharing my time…
Frank: Okay; do you want to say some
more about that, then?
Thomas: One second. She seemed to be
doing okay, but then you wanted to prompt her to think faster? Why
did you interject that part?
Frank: Well mainly because I had a
sense that she was kind of dragging and staying on the one point
without really getting into it. She thought I knew what she meant,
but I didn’t.
Thomas: Okay; very good. Here we go.
Client: Well like I said, the company
was not that much time, so I know the distraction that I’m feeling for
the company is more based in the other thing. I think that’s mostly
the cake shop, but then sometimes I’m distracted, and I can’t write
when I have the time. I’m just not focused.
Frank: Well, you have spread yourself
pretty thin over the last year or two.
Frank: Between the horse work,
right, and all the things you do with your horse clients, and then
trying to operate the retail oils and the marketing, working in the
cake shop, and trying to write – which I know you finished the one
book but you’ve been working on the 2nd book now for how
long? Off and on….
Client: Oh, my gosh…
Frank: A year?
Client: Yeah, over a year.
Frank: And then you had the
relationship in there that took up a lot of time, too, that’s in the
rear-view mirror at this point, right?
Client: Yeah, definitely.
Frank: All right.
Thomas: (laugh) that was great.
What you did, the technique was well done was that you tracked with
her very well. in other words, frank, you have an ear that you’re
going to verify and validate everything along the way. It’s a very –
it’s a good, tightly managed skill.
Frank: Thank you.
Thomas: Towards the end, she said
‘yes’, and you said ‘definitely?’ and she said, ‘yes, definitely.’
You’re both saying the same thing, and often, the coach wants
something more for the client or assumes something is completely
resolved, when actually it may not be, and we’re not going to know
that unless you really make sure that her tone of voice and her slant
on that word is going to be the level that yours is so there’s not
leading going on. A lot of coaches just lead their clients, and the
clients wanting to get along with the coach in the process, but you’re
making sure that you and she are in sync during the entire process.
Here we go.
Frank: So, it’s certainly
understandable that you’ve gotten yourself spread out in so many
different directions that you’re feeling – what? – neglectful about
Client: Exactly, exactly.
Thomas: And you know that? You’ve been
working with her for 3 ½ years?
Frank: Yeah, 3 ½ years since we’ve
Thomas: And she’s been working on a
number of things in the past year, and I couldn’t tell whether you
were going with the approach of trying to make her feel better about
being overwhelmed and not focused, or just trying to help her
understand the dynamic of that it would be natural for someone to feel
overwhelmed with the quantity of things she’s got – what was your
Frank: It was more of the latter,
Thomas; I was trying to make sure that she knew that I understand how
she felt, but also that how she was feeling was entirely
understandable given what she had taken on. And, that what she was
wanting to do now was try and get back on a steady path to get focused
on this writing, and I would support her in doing that.
Thomas: And it’s going to require some
significant change for her to get back in this mode, right?
Frank: Right, and that’s where I
think we’re going to pursue next.
Thomas: Okay, good. And just for a
different kind of a client, for example, an entrepreneur who may do
more than all of us combined because they’re so busy and active and
creative and take risks and have multiple projects, some of them would
use what you just did as a way to hide behind rather than be
challenged to do more. Don’t take it badly, but for some clients,
it’s important for them to know that you understand the depths of the
situation; other clients want that and want to be challenged to get
something done, versus hide behind that.
Thomas: By matching that particular
technique with the client, to make sure that you work with a different
kind of a client that wants to be challenged, rather than just
supported, it’s almost the opposite version of that. That’s why we
stress so much at CoachVille and the School of Coaching that you want
to adapt your style and your skills and proficiencies to really fit
well with the styles and the personalities and the stages of
development that your client is in to really fit for them so they’re
driving the tone and customizing the skills you’re using rather than
just using the same for all clients. So, here we go; I’m going to
backtrack a little bit.
Frank: …directions that you’re
feeling – what? – neglectful about your priorities.
Client: Exactly, exactly.
Thomas: I’m going to stop there again;
you used a very strong word – you said ‘neglectful’. Where did that
Frank: Well, that was just the sound
I was hearing from her; she felt like she wasn’t spending enough time
doing things that were important to her. like, I know she’s want to
get more work done on this book and she feels like she’s dedicated to
it, but doesn’t have the energy to give to it, and she’s expressed to
me that this is a priority for her, but when she was describing that
she’s not doing anything on it, I was getting that she was feeling
like she was neglectful in that priority.
Thomas: Good; you know that proficiency
#2 is reveals the client to themselves, and part of that is how to
describe how they’re handling something; that was a very strong word,
but it was so cleanly used here, I wasn’t judgmental, it was just
descriptive, and I think that’s a great example of clean
communication. We’re going to backtrack here again.
Frank: So it’s simply understandable
that you’ve gotten yourself spread out in so many directions that
you’re feeling – what? – neglectful about your priorities.
Client: Exactly, exactly.
Thomas: And the fact that the client
said, ‘exactly’ whatever word you used was truly the word that
described what she had been doing. When you have the courage or the
access to the language that fits to the situation, the client is so
grateful to the coach because they understand, because he or she
nailed it. Clients get so much space in the coaching process, and
when you’re able to have your comfort level, Frank, of sharing the
word that comes up, even if it might sound to someone else like harsh,
it’s so cleanly delivered that it’s a charge neutral. Well done.
Let’s see where we go from here.
Frank: …support the idea that you
want to re-focus, and I fully endorse that what you want to focus on
is the writing and the horse care because those really are you true
Client: Yeah, they are, they are.
Thomas: We’ll stop again; how do you
know those are her true passions? From working with her?
Frank: From the 3 ½ years I’ve been
working with her, yes.
Thomas: And it’s a value add to remind
the client about their passions from time to time, because passions
often get forgotten or diverted or they get confused or excited about
something and they can go off into tangents, and they’re only human.
It’s important for the coach to share their opinions and also to
remind the client when it seems like what they’re doing has gotten
away form what the client most seems to resonate with. We cannot
assume that our clients are in touch with truly what is most
passionate for them at all times; we get distracted and it’s a value
add that you pointed it out.
Frank: I applaud that you’ve been so
successful because about 2 weeks ago, you were hoping you could find
somebody that you could turn over the oils and stuff to, so I’m really
glad you were able to do that so quickly.
Client: Yeah, it did work out really
well, and I’m really happy about it – still, it seems like I’m looking
at it from only the negative side, not from the positive side about
how good it’s going to be without it, you know?
Frank: Okay, what about that is
Thomas: Hold on one second here. One
thing, when a client is discovering something or pointing out
something that’s opposite of what you said – you’re talking about
great news, congratulations, you found somebody to buy the business,
and anyone who’s an entrepreneur and involved with multiple projects
is naturally going to feel a sense of loss, even if it’s good news
long term when they turn over something they’ve worked on to somebody
Thomas: And how would you have phrased
that for her to know that you know…?
Frank: That the loss was there?
Frank: Well, what I was doing by
asking her how that was negative, I was hoping to try to have her
voice what it was she was sensing. If it was a sense of loss, it
would’ve been definitely to support that feeling as valid, but if she
was also thinking about it in terms of declining income or that the
other person wasn’t going to do it quite as well – I just wanted to
hear her voice what the negativity was that she was experiencing.
Thomas: One thing; you’ve been in a
reaction mode, like that’s a bad thing – you jumped in right away to
re-direct the conversation to the fact that she had some negative
stuff going on about it. Take a breath or two and just listen to her
talk it out versus trying to correct her so fast.
Frank: Okay; that’s a good point.
Thomas: Second thing is whenever a
client does something like sell a business or make a change, even if
it’s incredibly cool thing for them, I always say, ‘oh my gosh, that’s
so great’, but you could tell from the beginning of the call that she
has some misgivings about that particular event, so I don’t do the
positive Pamela, I say, ‘Wow, so how are you feeling about that?’ or
‘Wow, that’s a big change!’ I don’t put my stamp of positivity on
it. You also heard regret in her voice, too; I want to communicate
more of that so they can let it go. Until they can do that, it’s hard
to feel released and free then to go on with the rest of the coaching
call. I believe before you have someone make a change or as you have
someone start something new to their lives, I make sure they let go of
something. Sharing an open-ended comment like, ‘Wow, that’s a big
Frank: And how are you feeling about
Thomas: Exactly; that lets them
put the spin on it versus having to make it better than perhaps it
is. You can tell she hasn’t yet gotten to the other side, and this is
perhaps an extraordinary event….
Frank: Oh yeah, this is a business
she created from nothing and gave birth to it, so it’s like losing a
Thomas: Let’s go back to the tape.
Client: … well, I’m happy about it,
still it seems like I’m looking at that only on the negative side ,not
the positive, about how it will be for Shannon and…
Frank: Okay, so what about that is
Client: I think it’s just that I
can’t get off of the probably the emotional or business side of not
working for it. I’m seeing it as a didn’t work, instead of a positive
thing about focusing.
Frank: Okay, so what would be a way
you could re-frame that?
Thomas: One thing I would do, Frank, is
that you can hear in her voice that she’s actually creating on the
spot. I’m going to replay it so everyone can hear it, and when
someone’s creating on the spot like that, what I use is silence as my
number 1 strategy. I want her to keep teasing it out, rather than me
prod her to clarify.
Thomas: More of a quietness, if you
will, and let her bring the value forward, rather then you trying to
add value to the question.
Client: …not working for it. I’m
seeing it as a didn’t-work, instead of a positive thing about
Thomas: Then, so what I would do is say,
‘Wow, I think I know what you mean’ – silence. And then believe me,
the client’s going to keep talking . Have them know that you heard
them; identify with those feelings whatever they are….
Frank: And then give them space to
Thomas: Yes, and they will almost always
continue. They may talk for a minute or 2, and that’s always valuable
time spent in a coaching relationship; then casually say, ‘how are you
holding it now?’ in the last minute or 2 of conversation as she goes
through this and describes or relates to you, she’ll have worked
through it and released a lot of it ,and that’ll give you a clue about
where to go next with it, assuming that looking at it is the next
step. We don’t know; you do, but I don’t know enough yet to see if
she worked through this.
Frank: Right, and given my history of
working with her, she’s able to turn negative stuff into positives
Thomas: Perfect! Here we go.
Frank: Okay, so what would be a way
you could re-frame that?
Client: Well, that’s the question,
Frank: You know I was going to ask
you the question, didn’t you? (laugh)
Thomas: Three and ½ years with a client,
you get to know them pretty well, don’t you? Here we go.
Client: Ah, well, it’s – the answer
is in my head, but the application of it is getting lost.
Frank: All right, we can work with
that. What’s the answer in your head?
Thomas: So, did you cut her off?
Frank: Yeah, I think I did.
Thomas: I just wanted the listeners to
know. Let’s go again.
Client: The answer in my head is
almost the way I said it just now – that it’s a really positive thing
that this is going to be giving someone an opportunity, and that makes
me very happy, and I’ll have a more mental focus on my writing, which
is suffering now.
Frank: Is there going to be any
depreciation to your income production at this point because you’re
turning it over?
Client: Not so appreciable a
different; it could be on the upside actually, and that’s a good
Frank: Well, it could be that turning
this over is a sacrifice of income, but if it’s not, then it sounds to
me like it’s all upside.
Client: Yeah, it is…
Thomas: That was very good sharing of
opinions; you said, ‘it seems to me’ and she said that’s a good
point. You know, people that are letting go of something, they’re
often focused on the loss of it, rather than the benefit, and this is
your way of pulling her back up from the bottom of the cycle…
Thomas: We’ll continue.
Client: She’s going to work it and
I’m going to hang on to some of the income.
Frank: Well, great! What about the
income you’re getting form the cake shop because you said you wanted
to eliminate that as another time drain – is that going to be a
problem for you, cutting that income?
Thomas: That’s extremely well done;
first of all, you said, ‘I heard you say…’ which is important to have
the person know you heard them – as we mentioned earlier in the call
- and then you said, ‘Is that going to be a problem for you?’ The
fact that someone may be giving up 1 or 2 days a week at the cake shop
might be a problem for me if it were my primary source of income, but
you’re having them say that it’s a problem or not a problem. That’s a
very good use of the technique, #8, which is hones in… I think it’s
not going to work with every client in every situation, but it’s
appropriate for this call.
Client: Well, if I want to stay at my
current financial position, no; there are going to be a few weeks here
and there where the horses are between seasons, like this time of
year, where it’s good to have that job, but I know that I can go back
– I can always work between horse seasons, but it’s just that I’m
finding a difficult balance between wanting to take care of some debt
and obligating myself to the cake shop and it taking away form my
Frank: All right; so are you saying
you’re already designed a plan of how you’re going to balance those
Thomas: That was a jump! (laugh)
Frank: Well, I heard her talking
about needing to balance it, and I wasn’t sure whether I she’s already
arrived at a way of doing that, or wondering if she’s searching for
Thomas: I love that; it’s almost like a
presumptive close – is that a plan or a - ? (laugh)
Frank: Would you like that in
Thomas: Yeah, we have medium blue or
medium blue! Again, you know your client really well; it’s great that
rather than being mired into the problem, it’s the burden of the
challenge for the client.
Client: It’s a plan in my head.
Frank: All right, but it isn’t on
Client: Right; I’m not committing to
Frank: All right, that’s probably
something we ought to talk about.
Thomas: Perfect, perfect! She’s
stuck on it, obviously; it’s in her head, she’s not committed to it,
and it’s something that’s holding her back, and you’re using that as
an immediate coaching opportunity and that’s again, honing in on what’
most important, and then using #14, designing an environment because
you’re going to be the environment that’s supporting her in real
time. Sometimes, coaches would give an assignment to the client to go
off and work on that later on, whether other coaches work on it
together, and with 2 heads working on it at the same time, the
client’s going to come to it a lot faster.
Thomas: This can and should get done
during the coaching session; other coaches swear by having homework,
and it’s just a matter of personal preference for the coach.
Frank: The hesitancy in making the
commitment – what would that be about?
Thomas: Again, great question!
So, you keep directing her; she says, ‘I’m not sure’ and you say, ‘the
hesitancy, what’s that about?’ you’re doing a great job with
provocative conversations; you’re keeping this provocative for her and
keeping her engaged because with a coach that’s not as experienced as
you are, this thing could’ve drifted…. 6 weeks.
Frank: Oh yes. She would’ve wandered
all over the place.
Thomas: Yes, and you know your client
well. You’re showing some great leadership on the call.
Frank: Thank you.
Client: Well, there are debts that I
could be paying off that I should be paying off and the book is future
income, and I just start feeling guilty about my future income, not
current income. I can pay my bills without the cake shop, like I
said, most times of the year…
Frank: Umm-hmm. Okay, can I just
give you momentary feedback on what I just heard?
Frank: What I just heard is that the
bill paying, which is causing you some guilt, is something you feel
like you should be doing as opposed to what you are doing.
Client: Yeah, that’s definitely it,
and I heard myself say that in my head, and then where I go with that
in my head is, ‘Well, yeah, but what I want to do is going to provide
some income in the future…’ Just not now.
Frank: So, which is more important to
you – addressing the should or addressing the want?
Thomas: Let me give our listeners
another option at this point. You’re going with should or want – the
challenge of should or want is that when integrity is involved, it’s a
different game than should or want and people have different levels of
need or a degree of integrity. For example, some people get
physically sick if they have debt. Other folks, they’re actually
fairly comfortable with having credit card debt or being late on
payments – it sounds like she’s fairly comfortable with paying slow
sometimes in between seasons of her horse work. I always ask them,
‘how uncomfortable does it make you to a point of pain or shame or
frustration if you are able to pay the debt off?’ I want to hear,
almost the comfort level they have with that level of financial
stress. You know, if you talk to a financial planner and they have a
dozen different points of view, but I want to hear what’s going to
work for them because they’re going to be driving this. I would go
there with it; I wouldn’t go with should or want. For a coach, I
would first go with the level or comfort or the level of need or
integrity and then go there.
Frank: All right.
Client: I don’t know. ‘Should‘ is
pretty heavy, and I’m worried that I’m saying this about the book
being future income, and it not being that I’m not making money, it’s
just that it’s not coming in now. I just want to make sure that I’m
not justifying doing the writing because I want to be doing the
Frank: Well, that’s an important
distinction to make, of course. And yet, as an author who’s already
completed one book, in order to do the work, you have to devote time
to it and you have to be able to do that on a regular basis, not just
an intermittent basis.
Frank: And yet right now your
schedule is so full that there’s no time to do that; it’s not just a
matter of wanting to, it’s a matter of needing to in order to achieve
the goal you set for yourself of completing the next book.
Client: I have no time dedicated to
writing. Writing is what I do when I have the energy, when everything
else is done.
Frank: When everything else is done.
Thomas: Just some background for our
listeners – has she made money with the first one?
Frank: No, an agent has it now; it’s
just at the publishing stage.
Thomas: Okay, so there’s no guarantee
the 2nd one is going to make some money, either?
Frank: No, although all the
indications are that the books are going to do really great once they
hit the stands.
Thomas: Because they’re about this
Frank: Well, one of them is an
historical novel based on her grandparents’ life.
Thomas: Okay; so the trick is should she
be investing her time right now in something that has potential, but
may not have – immediate value, and number 2, you’re looking at a
really long-term, particularly for a writer… I think I read a quote
somewhere that said, ‘write only what you can’t not write.’ In other
words, if you’re compelled to be a writer, then write; if you’re not,
then don’t be one. So, for some clients, she may need to write a
couple of books to get access to that muscle of being able to write
and being inspired by it. She gave us all a hint a couple of minutes
ago – she said she didn’t know whether she wanted to write just
because she wanted to write it; that was a question she was asking
herself. For someone who’s new at the writing business, that may be
something they have to go through and not be productive their first 5
years of writing. A lot of people complicate their lives because
they’re actually afraid to write. They could and they know that, but
they’re afraid. That’s why proficiency #14 comes it, to help her get
over the hump of that process. Again, I also try to screen or
protect the client from the wishful-thinking writers of the world, the
ones that really can’t not write; they just have to write? Do you
know which one she is?
Frank: I think she’s more the latter.
Thomas: She just has to connect, but
something’s blocking her?
Frank: She’s afraid that spending the
time doing that is denying her debtors.
Thomas: Yes, and that’s where the
integrity comes in; sometimes integrity comes ahead of creativity for
some people. In other cases, creativity comes ahead, and it’s
important to know the location of those 2 in her world. Often, people
can’t write or be creative if they have a high need for integrity
because they feel so bad, that shame or embarrassment or guilt
consumes their entire RAM…
Frank: Exactly. She already said
that she was trying to find a balance where she was comfortable doing
Thomas: It may not be possible.
Thomas: For the people who need balance
– it’s almost like when you try to juggle, you can’t. so often
balance is a by-product – it’s generally a by-product of being
centered. If you could find what would have her feel centered about
herself, then balance would generally be a by-product from that.
Frank: Okay, good.
Thomas: Here we go.
Frank: Instead, wouldn’t that be more
true to yourself if you would make that a top priority or at least one
of the top priorities and at least relegate the concern over having
your accumulated debt be something that’s a little less pressing? You
already know that you have it under control most of the time anyway,
Frank: Another question that comes to
mind is that….
Thomas: Just one correction; she said
‘yes’ but she didn’t mean it. I’ll play it again. She might have
meant it, but her tone of voice…
Frank: …accumulated debt be something
that’s a little less pressing? You already know that you have it
under control most of the time anyway, right?
Frank: Another question that comes ….
Thomas: You’re moving forward, but
actually you’re not getting agreement on that. You may know better
than I do, but for our listeners, usually when you hear a ‘yeah’ or
‘uh-huh’ they’re not agreeing; it means they’re being nice or they’re
trying to get it. I wouldn’t move forward until that’s been
Frank: I understand what you’re
saying in this instance it sounds to me like I didn’t confirm that
what she said was what she was really believing.
Thomas: Yeah. It also – again, when you
work with a client for a long time, you build up the relationship
where you can be fairly direct, but you seem to have an opinion –
there’s an undercurrent about this. What’s your basic bottom line
about her and her debt situation?
Frank: Well, merely that’s she
comfortable with allowing it to be there and nibbling away at it in
monthly increments, rather than trying to chunk it out and be done
Thomas: And that’s the guess you’re
making, or she’s said that?
Frank: It’s an underlying
presumption, but it’s based on prior conversations with her.
Thomas: Okay, good; you’ve had more
conversations with her, more knowledge about this than we do. What I
find myself coming at it in the way that you are – it’s almost like a
flavor of convincing, and what I’ve stopped doing with my clients is
any hint of convincing. I used to think that, you know, that I was
encouraging. I just realized it and stopped about 5 years ago, that I
would do all the things I could do, but not have any hint of trying to
convince them. Again, it may be because how you and she work
together, but I wanted to let the coaches hearing this know that it’s
possible not to have that flavor or tone in one’s voice and actually
have it be free of anything you want for that client and still have it
be a higher place. Do you have any comments on that?
Frank: Only that I understand and
agree with what you’re saying. It does have a tinge of I have an
agenda for her and I’m trying to persuade her to adopt it, which
fundamentally I know is not true, but it’s based on that I want what’s
best for her.
Thomas: Yes, and often we’re hired by
our clients to accelerate them toward that place, and we use cattle
prods, sometimes we use encouragement or a possibility to have them
get with it. The trick is to always be in touch with how much of you
is in that and not misdirect it.
With that, we’re going to
end at this point. Anything you learned, Frank, from our discussion of
the points around your call?
Frank: Well yeah, a couple of things
I would like to highlight that I got out of this conversation. First,
there are a lot of different ways I could’ve gone with this client or
any of my clients; there are always options I can choose from and
sometimes my instincts are really strong and I go with them, and
sometimes I find myself muddling along and trying to find what’s the
best thing to do here. I find that in those cases, that’s when I
start stumbling the most.
Thomas: To underscore that, one of the –
for everyone hearing this – as you get more confident as a coach and
more experienced as a coach, there is a period of time that it takes,
if you will, when we have to process over 100 clients that we really
do know more than the client knows about themselves in certain areas.
I know for myself that came out as, not as impatience, but almost
arrogance. It was like I could look through the next 2 or 3 pages of
their business or their life and I could almost predict how that was
going to work out. Then I began being really good at that, but I
realized a couple of years ago that I could just play ignorant and not
figure out what was going on and still enjoy my clients. That was a
Frank: It is.
Thomas: And again, it’s #4, enjoys the
client immensely – and it’s about just enjoying the client and having
the wisdom just pop up as the client wants it, versus me thinking that
I have to make sure that they move in the direction faster. I’m like
you, I have opinions and I share them, but I cut out that other
piece. As you’ve been coaching for a couple of years, it may be time
to pull back from all that you know and be a child-like listener
rather than the highly intelligent coach.
Frank: Yes, the other thing I wanted
to highlight was a reminder that it’s often highly informative to just
Frank: And the beauty of silence – it
allows the client the space to find their own answer or take the next
step without having to be pushed or prodded to go there.
Thomas: And it takes a little bit of
confidence to feel comfortable giving them that room. I wanted to
make sure that I gave my clients value so they wouldn’t fire me!
Thomas: I’m not saying that to you, but
there is some fear that generates that discomfort, if you will.
Frank: And this example was a good
one for me, knowing that we have a 30-minute timeframe to conduct this
call and I want to make sure she gets full value for my time, and if
I’m sitting there quiet, it feels like I’m wasting her money.
Thomas: And that’s the panic and that’s
the fear that you have, and that’s where checking in with the client
at the beginning of the call to say, ‘what should I be doing over the
next 30 minutes to make sure you’re satisfied?’ It may be different
every call, but that way it gives the client a chance to direct you in
the way they want you to be with them, the focus you’re going to be
taking, the approach you’re going to be taking, because they’re going
to use you and often, performance anxiety goes away. Thank you for
being on the call today.
Frank: Well thank you so much, too,
Thomas. I really appreciate your insights as well as your
Thomas: Well, you did a terrific job;
thanks, Frank! Bye now!