Have you ever experienced, after all your hardwork, change, blood, sweat and tears, that when you reached the destination of your journey, it was just a feeling of ‘meh’, or ‘what? that’s it?’ or even ‘I thought there’s more to this?’.
Have you ever watched a trailer of an exciting movie, bought the premier tickets, with the most delicious salted caramel popcorn, and the movie ended with such an anti-climax that you wanted a refund?
As we complete the FLOW5 C.O.A.C.H, we are reaching to the H = HIGH POINT of C.O.A.C.H, which illustrates the importance of HONOUR LEARNING and hustling for sustainable change, enabling the excitement of a high closure. After all, the client / coachee has just been on a roller-coaster ride of his life, and as a coach it is our responsibility to hold that beautiful space for them, where change, awareness, shifts has just happened.
How can a coach the client / coachee honour their learning, and eventually honouring the coachee? A useful self-reflection tool would be the Empathy Map, helping the client / coachee to assess their thoughts, emotions and actions are congruent with their experience, identify insights and generating ideas in the process. In using the empathy map, remember to celebrate positive changes, encourage milestones and acknowledge effort. After all, sometimes not all successes are immediate. Recognize that efforts, and actions are equally important as those big / small wins.
In a recent experience with a friend, Ms Y who was trying to shed off some pounds after clocking in the big 4-0, and coaching her through the first 21 days, there was no change in the weight. I had expected that, because of several factors – her non-compliance to the meal plan, her lack of acceptance to change her relationship with food, and her many reasons to NOT to follow the regime provided. In as much of her failure to lose some pounds, it also was a reflective point to my coaching methods with her (Did she trust me enough even though we are friends? Is she as committed as she said she was? What are her thoughts, emotions beyond her actions?). However, I did notice a few swaying points – she acknowledge some difficulty, tried to adjust some snacking habits, improved sleeping habits and had the awareness of the importance of water. And when I met her, she also looked more radiant, slightly toned.
Typically, as a friend, I wanted to jump on the opportunity to nag her “Insanity is doing the same thing over, and over again and expecting different results”, “Are you serious to lose weight or just wasting my time?” and best one yet “I told you many times to follow the meal plan specially designed for you”. However, as her coach, I took the opportunity to check on her learning of the 21 days. We acknowledged her small efforts to incorporate some changes, and recognized the challenges ahead. We reworked the action plan, reaffirmed her commitment, and restarted with renewed knowledge of herself.
How can we as coaches, continue to enhance our coaching methods, making it more impactful and powerful? Below are 6 powerful strategies shared to elevate the honour of learning for the client / coachee. In my next phase with this friend of mine, Ms Y – I’m trying the strategies in hopes of better progress and outcomes.
- Minimize threat, maximize rewards / results
- Perhaps too much knowledge, is intimidating. I checked with Ms Y on the methods shared, and she said it was nothing new to her, but she had much difficulty incorporating it into her life as an insurance agent always on the go.
- So, we adjusted her meals to suit her busy timings, and to work on a flexible plan for her weekends to enjoy with her children.
- Focus on the brain’s social drivers (refer to Dan Pink’s A.M.P. – Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose)
- I noticed that Ms. Y didn’t have a strong purpose for this mission of hers. She just wanted to drop some pounds.
- After a few questions, she realized that she lack of the energy to work on her business, and simply was not feeling usual confident self in the recent years.
- REFRAME – emotional labelling strategy
- We also took the bold step to share our experiences turning 4-0. All the hormonal imbalances, forgetfulness, and most of all, the sudden need of finding a purpose, work on our legacy, and breaking out of the norms of society.
- Breaking the GLASS CEILING here was the reframing needed.
- Enhance strengths over problems
- Working on Ms Y’s strengths, and positive habits, made her more confident to incorporate a new plan.
- Create trust (regulating oxytocin, using physiology effects)
- Once I was able to find our various common points, she seemed to have a shift in some thoughts about eating, and I believe it’s also because now she trusts me more as we share some common experiences now.
- Facilitate thoughts and generate insights
- Her biggest insights were identifying her possible derailers, and incorporating the simple habit of sipping water the entire day. Including carrying a little tumbler in her handbag for convenience.
My key take-aways from this module is as much as we are encouraging our client / coachee to honour their learning, it is just as valuable that I as a coach, reflect and honour the learnings from my client / coachee.
- What has this client taught me in the process?
- How has this client challenged me and which areas do I need to work on?
- Why are some of my beliefs challenged with this client?
- Who was I reminded of with this client? Why is that so?
- At which point could I have done something else instead?