I recently had a conversation with a client who admitted that he had a very distinct train of thought going through his mind as he listened to one of his clients. As his client went on and on, he found himself thinking, “Who cares!? Just get to the point, move on already!”
He felt guilty for having those thoughts as his client spoke, but I said to him, “How could it benefit that client if you’d actually told her what you were thinking?”
Of course – it wouldn’t have been a good idea to say exactly what he was thinking. We always want to come from our higher wisdom, compassion and kindness when we give feedback to others. However, if you’re ever in a coaching conversation feeling frustrated that someone is going on and on, you need to pay attention. That frustration is there to inform you of something and to ignore it would be a huge disservice to your client and a huge disservice to your designed alliance.
If you have a client who has the tendency to go on and on in your sessions, it’s probably a bad habit they regularly engage in with other people. Imagine how that habit is impacting their life. It’s not likely that talking too much helps them achieve their goals.
Our clients pay us to help transform their lives and call forth their higher self.
If you were that client, wouldn’t you want your coach to share how you impacted them? Or would you rather they let you go on and on?
It made me think of an exercise I did with Ann Betz and Ursula Pottinga of BEabove Leadership. The exercise was called, “Bad Coach,” where we broke into pairs and took turns coaching the other person by sharing our inner dialogue about the conversation.
Things would come out like, “You’re being a baby” or “You are boring me right now.” It was an exercise in practicing being totally, unabashedly honest. Of course, you don’t really want to be that literal in your coaching but the exercise illustrated the power of being honest and how it really serves the client when you tell the truth (in a loving, compassionate way).
It doesn’t serve anyone when we coaches sit back on our heels and let our clients’ saboteurs run the show.
Though it can be a difficult muscle for us to build and maintain as coaches, giving feedback to our clients is a critical part of why they hire us to begin with. They want to grow and they look to us to help them do so. If someone is going on and on, don’t just sit there and listen to them. It is a beautiful opportunity to teach them the power of bottom lining.
Essentially, it’s our job as coaches to help our clients show up as powerfully as they can. It’s sometimes hard, but it is particularly important when our clients are stuck in story. We must see it as our duty to help them see what’s real, what’s really true, and move through the story and into their higher wisdom.
Most people would want to change their behavior if they knew that the impact it had in the world was negative.
We must understand, too, that our job is not to be “nice,” it is to be kind.
Nice would be hearing your client go into story and thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t tell him he’s whining…” Kind is loving and generous and honest but it’s not necessarily “nice”.
Practicing being kind and calling forth our clients, simultaneously, is a muscle that you have to build and continue to flex. Trust me, they’re tired of their story, too – they’re tired of living the same old stuff, feeling the same re-hashed feelings; they want to grow! That’s why they brought you into the picture.
This week as you work with your clients, ask yourself, “If I were in this person’s shoes, would I want to hear the impact they are having right now?” Almost always the answer is yes.