Apparently coaching – which we used to call consulting – is now the new new thing. What’s amazing to me is how few people either get properly trained, or – if trained – really know what they are doing. How does a client choose one coach over another? How does s/he know when a coach is ‘good’ or ‘bad’? What does success or failure look like – and do those concepts get confusing?
If I need to do something I don’t want to do, and a coach gets me to do it somehow, and I’m not comfortable but do it anyway, was that a success? or a failure? And how do I explain to my psyche why I’m doing something I hate?
Best I can tell, coaches work with behavioral changes. In all of my work, and in my personal belief systems and in my models, I work out of the belief that people only change when their internal belief systems and criteria are reconfigured in a way to not cause disruption to the overall system that maintained it for X amount of time. That, plus information doesn’t teach someone how to make a new decision.
Seems to me that coaches need to learn Decision Facilitation and stop trying to just help someone change according to the ‘needs’ they espouse.
I recently had a coachee send me a long list – pages and pages – of things he wanted me to understand, ideas he’d had, behaviors he was changing even before our first session, other books he was reading, and a list of questions he posed for me to fix for him to use on prospects. It would have taken me 1/2 hour just to read and digest what he sent. On our call I asked him what he had hoped to get out of that list. ‘Oh. I’m just thinking, and I put my thoughts on paper.’ ‘How much of this do you want to get to?’ ‘I don’t know. Just musing. And making sure I have some control over my environment. Otherwise I’m lost if I don’t know what’s going to be happening. I guess it’s a control thing.’
I then told him what happened for me when I got it: I was confused as to what I should do – use my own time, subtract the time I’d spend from his hour, ignore it, change/fix it – and I wondered how often he did that sort of thing with clients and staff. ‘All the time I guess. I guess I confuse everyone.’
We spent the rest of the session on this pattern and the beliefs behind it. Indeed, the pattern ran into every relationship and had to do with control. It will take us weeks of sessions to work it all through, and it must be done before we even consider the points on the page.
I spoke with several coaches after I received the missive and asked them what they’d do. Each one said they’d have gone through it, written the points down that he wanted to achieve, and then move forward. Of course, they would have missed a very important communication pattern that caused the eventual problems to begin with.
Coaches are trained around behavioral changes, and don’t recognize that behavior doesn’t change unless the underlying beliefs shift.
I can’t wait until more folks are using my models and can help people heal even faster.