Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Coaching Mastery – Quality, Standards & Value

Coaching Mastery – Quality, Standards & Value: Focus, on experiences that provoke choice

We recently published the issue called “Coaching Mastery -Quality, Standards & Value-Focus on experiences that provoke choice” written by Janet M. Harvey, MCC, CMS, ACSCoaching Mastery

The three most common questions coaches ask me, no matter their level of experience or achievement, include:

  • “How do I know if I am coaching with quality?”
  • “How do I recognize if my coaching is meeting the ICF standard?”
  • “How do I determine if clients are receiving value through my coaching?”

My first question is often, “How much time do you invest to capture the details about what you contribute to a coaching partnership?” Usually, a long silence occurs and most often the answer is very little.

Feedback may arrive in many forms. The first is your self-reflection so that you claim your own agency in the relationship. The second is client self-reflection so that each person accepts responsibility for fulfilling their commitments to learning, grow and change through the process and the partnering throughout. These first two processes evoke awareness that empowers clients to choose new, more effective behaviors and actions, and sustain the change necessary to produce new and more valuable results.

This leads to celebration, which stimulates momentum, and often results in both accelerating and amplifying the client experience of satisfying success. More important, engaging in reflection and articulation about what is occurring, reinforces best practices and offers the person tangible, relevant information about exactly how coaching generates desired, positive impact.

My opening question allows for a holistic examination of the relationship between coach and client. For example, inviting a client to define value from the very start of contracting produces practical elements to incorporate with a coaching plan at the foundation of establishing the coaching agreement. Through that discussion, the client benefits from your coaching that evokes clarity about the client’s intrinsic motivation for engaging a coach.

As the coach, you learn about client readiness and what may be necessary for the client to fully accept responsibility for their insights and implementation of choices for change. A foundation is laid for a peer-based partnering that occurs throughout the relationship and is congruent with the ICF Core Competency Model. The experience is based upon the client being an expert in their life and the coach being an expert in a thought-provoking and creative process that evokes choice for the client.

What have you considered as the definition of quality in your coaching? The possibilities are as unique as each human being, along with a foundation based in professional standards for ethical conduct. You benefit from a thorough self-examination of your coaching philosophy, your principles, and values as a professional coach that defines your approach, style, and commitment toward a useful client experience. In addition, ruptures do occur in all types of relationships and are a source of choice.

Will you choose to be more faithful to the relationship than your sense of duty as a coach? Doing so models for your client that you are fully devoted to the client experiencing value as your standard for quality. The question is more challenging when viewed from the client perspective, especially with individuals who have not before experienced professional coaching based in a rigorous framework, as promoted by a global professional coaching body.

Asking a client about quality in the experience may bring forward ideas and expectations that are not achievable through coaching. Now we can see the most important idea in this exploration. When in doubt, you must ask in order to not make assumptions or follow your habits and preferences that blind you to the client’s life experience and how it shapes their choices.

Everything shared so far requires that you, as a professional coach, develop a way to declare and provoke client choice in the formation of a coaching partnership and at regular intervals throughout your work together. New coaches often fret that without more experience, how could they possibly achieve quality, be congruent with the standards and contribute value. Attempting to anticipate and project a future onto a client is futile.

Quality and value are experienced in a context that is unique to the client and generates from the connection with you from the first to the last moment you are engaged. Hopefully, that provides you with a bit of relief. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to prepare in order to be more effective at measuring client progress and therefore declaring an exchange of value that has quality and efficacy based on the coaching standards.

Begin by being a coach, naturally curious to consider and learn as much as possible about who your prospective client is in their world. It is useful to have a framework and the one provided here starts with the end in mind: a satisfied client who experienced value, quality and engagement with a person with professional rigor and consistency.

Consider the framework from the viewpoint of being a client, which surely each of you has been with a coach who delivered value and quality for you, provoking new choices that you pursued and found satisfying. Write your story of being a client so that you gain empathy and perspective about how your clients are likely to experience engaging with you. Those of you who are more experienced, invite this process with several of your clients and make it a practice with every client so that they have a path by which to claim and celebrate the agency their choices generated in their life.


Tell us what you think about this issue and this Coaching Mastery article.

How does it apply to you and the women in your life?
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