What to Look for in a Coach: A Good Listener!


Often coaches permit their clients to hurry though coaching sessions to get to “the answer.”  And, often the executive wants to hurry through coaching to create the sense that they didn’t need coaching to begin with!

Let me provide you with an example.

I was working with an executive, I’ll call her Cathy, who was in a hurry to get to the “right” answer and to accomplish all the tangible things I suggested she should consider.  She read every book, did every analysis, scoured the Internet for any way to solve the “coaching” issue.

Like most things at work, Cathy felt like she was in a competition to get to the answer first.
It was a surprise to her when several months into the coaching, she realized that “tangible accomplishments” were not the things on which she really needed work.

Cathy needed to work on the “perception” that she was overly structured and unduly competitive. Cathy had to identify that the “competition” she had thought up was grating on her colleagues and, especially difficult on her subordinates. 

Coaching is all about knowing the value of waiting until insights emerge from their client– perhaps over weeks or months.

Then, all the coach needs to do is to notice the insight or behavior change that has been made by the executive.  By then, the executive has already learned and incorporated the insight into their personal framework.

After several months, Cathy told me that she had “run out of things to do”.  And she had “run out of things to tell her subordinates to do.” So in frustration with the coaching process, she was going to ask her boss and ask her subordinates what they thought should be done.
What a magical insight!  

She could now ask her subordinates and boss about issues without having the answer!  I complimented her on the change she had just made.  

And we decided that our coaching assignment could soon be completed.