Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Expert Series: Coaching Military Veterans and More. Part 1 of 4


Let’s face it; you understand setting foundations for coaching relationships is crucial. I’ve coached a wide array of clients – yet coaching military veterans has tested my resolve, setting foundations – being a very sensitive, powerful practice.  I am proud to say this coaching has been some of the most purposeful work I’ve done.

Humans have an extraordinary ability to tap into potential and magnify it.  No two people fall neatly into identities that society believes or imposes. Yet, for many coaches who work with service members, it’s helpful to have a platform informed by an understanding of military experience – even if that means starting with generalizations – and then customizing to reflect individual clients’ needs. For instance, consider…

Most military members are mission-focused and expect to stay until the job is done.  True or False? >> Answers here <<

Upon leaving the military, a veteran may face unexpected fears, challenges, and opportunities. Often the veteran has no idea what’s beyond transition. This is where life mapping comes in. As coaches, we can add value to the space between transition and uncovering a new sense of self and purpose.  This starts with a solid foundation.

Service members will trust you if you are honest, authentic and respectful of their situation. DO NOT force your clients in conversations or the intake to disclose details of deployment, injuries or disability ratings (unless mandated by law).

Not all are Soldiers – do not call them that. The Armed Forces have many branches and members have many titles and roles.

Do NOT assume all veterans experience war, trauma or devastation. Don’t expect they will share, even if they have.  Nor should you assume all are proud of their service or are ashamed of it, for that matter. Yes, this all seems like no-brainers – yet I have heard many excellent coaches behave differently when it comes to service members; communicating in a way that suggests pity on one end of the spectrum or extreme awe on the other.

Instead, start in a place of acceptance and presence. As with all clients, you meet them where they are, hold them in a safe, supportive empowering space – engaging for their highest potential to move forward.  In our next installment – we’ll review a few more distinctions to understand when working with service members. Until then…

Download a Centering/Presence practice  >> Download here <<

About the Author:

Jessi LaCosta is a CCE-Board Certified Coach, Author, Professional Speaker & founder of BlueRio Strategies and its Hawk Collaborative. LaCosta is known for groundbreaking training approaches for coaches at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.  She is proud to have launched the USA’s first-ever *BCC-Approved Coach Training course with a focus on supporting veterans in their life-mapping and transitions to the civilian sector. LaCosta also offers innovative BCC-approved leadership and resilience coach training.

>>> Find out more here about CCE <<<

The Expert Series is brought to you by choice Magazine as part of our ongoing efforts to bring opportunities for learning and growth to the coaching community. Delivered in four parts every two weeks, each series covers useful topics for business development and coaching insights, serving the needs of leaders in all areas and walks of life. Archived copies of the previous series can be found here.