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When is the “requesting” allowed in a coaching relationship?

July 7th, 2010

As coaches we understand that the client is the one who is supposed to come with his own “action plan” and decide which steps he wants to follow in order to reach his goal.

However, there are occasions when the whole process could be accelerated by the coach stating a request as oppose to just asking the client for recommended way forward. When is the right time for using this method?

There are situations when the client sees and understands the obvious; however, is reluctant to say it loud for the fear of the commitment required. When the obvious is stated for him by someone else, he is usually quite ready to agree and commit. This situation requires a good relationship between the coach and the coachee as well as a deep knowledge of the client by his coach.

Other possibility includes providing the “assignment” at the end of the coaching session and a request to check it out before the beginning of the next session. From my experience the clients react very positively to their assignments, because they allow them to reflect further on what was being discussed during the previous coaching session. After doing the assignment, they often come with many more ideas or possible solutions and are better prepared for the next session.

The third option is the situation when it becomes clear that the client has difficulties dealing with his gremlin. The sharp request from the coach cuts the client away from his goblin (at least for the time being) and allows him to contemplate a solution that was not obvious to him, due to his pre-occupation with the goblin. Again, good knowledge and understanding of the client are required.

Having said all of the above, client should never be forced into accepting the coach’s request. If the coaching relationship has been going for a while, the client is likely to accept and appreciate the request. He can sometimes make a counteroffer, if that feels better for him. Of course, at any time, he has the right to decline the request.

It is very important that coach does not get attached to his request and not take it personally if the client decides to decline it.

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