Clients want results from their coaching. Seeing impact quickly has become an important expectation by our clients. No one wants to sign up for six months or a year of coaching, especially not corporate clients. They want results fast.
One of the ways to accelerate the impact of your coaching is to adopt the “3 F’s” approach – Focus, Fast-finding and Flexibility. In this series, we will explore each these to help you accelerate the process of supporting your clients in creating extraordinary results.
In working with my clients, I have found that I can help them get the results they want faster if I help them determine the right focus. Our clients can waste a lot of time in coaching talking about and chasing things that do not ultimately provide the outcomes they seek. Focus is the key.
Tool and Technique
To get to the right focus quickly, probe to find the real result the client is seeking. This may not be the “presenting” one first discussed.
There is a very simple way to do this. Just ask the client, “If you were to have that (result), what would that give you?” Upon reflection, the client often sees a deeper or more expansive result they are seeking.
For example, Karin came to coaching wanting to be more assertive in dealing with others, particularly her boss and some family members. I asked her, “If you had the assertiveness you want, what would that give you?” She replied, “I would feel like I am in control of my life.” Next I asked, “In addition to being more assertive, what else would have to happen for you to feel in control of your life?” After a moment of thought, she said, “I would need to learn to let go of having to be the perfect mother, wife, and employee.” We might have wasted a lot of time in her coaching focusing on the assertiveness, when the more critical element to focus on to get her result was her perceptions and beliefs about herself and the expectations of others. By finding the right focus, Karin was able to get the desired sense of control much more quickly.
Explore It For Yourself
- Make a list of three real-life results that you want in your professional or personal life.
- Choose one. Ask yourself, “If I were to achieve that result, what would that give me?” or alternatively, “If I were to have that result, what would that do for me?” Write this “next level” result adjacent to the item.
- Probe further, once again asking yourself the same question about the “next level” result from the first question, “If I were to have the second result, what would that give me…?” Again, note the answer next to the previous one.
- Repeat this a third, fourth or fifth time until you reach a “next level” result for which you have no new answer to the question. You will have arrived at the “top level” result you really want. This is where you want to focus your efforts
- Notice your energy and feelings when you articulate that “top level” result. Does it excite you? Does it just feel right? Does thinking about this “top level” result motivate you?
- Follow this same process with the other two results you listed in Step One above. Notice the commonality with or the distinctiveness between the “top level” results you arrive at for the items. What wisdom are you getting from this information?
As you work with your clients, use this technique in discussing the results that your client seeks from the coaching work (or from a specific situation). You will quickly focus your coaching on creating the result the client really wants.
In the next part, we will explore Fast-Finding the “visible” part of the system.
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About the Author:
Jonathan ‘Jeb’ Bates, MSOD, PCC is an executive coach and leadership development consultant based in Cambridge, MA. He is the Chief Experience Officer of ThoughtAction, a firm focused on bringing the unique, transformative Results SystemTM coaching process to clients and coaches. With over 10 years experience as an executive coach and a Master’s in Organization Development from Pepperdine University, Jeb focuses on helping organizations, teams, and individuals to create the results they desire professionally and personally.
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