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Rediscover Your Confidence and Direction with the Help of a Coach

“You reminded me that I should take my own advice.”

This was the insight shared with me by one of my clients, the leader of a community organization with a staff of 60, during a recent concluding "reflection" session. When wrapping up a coaching relationship it’s important to have a final session with a clearly-defined goal to support the client as they reflect on their experience. This enhances learning and often provides valuable insight for the coach about what resonated most with their client, and where they found value. I provide 6

questions before the session so they have time to consider and prepare their responses.

  1. What did you find most valuable from your experience with coaching, and with your coach?

  2. Did anything surprise you?

  3. What might you change or want more/less of in coaching? Do you have any other constructive feedback for your coach?

  4. How will you take what you have learned and the insights you have gained into your role, your life outside of work?

  5. How have you grown?

  6. What is next for you?

This insight my client shared about taking their own advice, and trusting themselves more, illustrates a powerful outcome from coaching: Confidence. Coaches begin with the belief that the client is “whole” and has everything they need to accomplish their goals. One of the reasons coaching doesn’t focus on, and actively avoids, giving advice is because the responsibility and the power must remain with the client. Our job is to facilitate their growth and their process of discovery, not to steer them where we think they should go.

One thing we do encourage in coaching, however, is to take action. With questions like "What do you want from this situation?" or "How do you think you might begin to pursue that?" we can gently guide a client toward greater clarity to decide whether any action, and what type, is warranted.

So when my client shared this with me during our final session I felt that I had succeeded in striking the proper balance as their coach, by acting as a supporter and confidante, but not biasing them by placing my thumb on the scale. They clearly knew that it was not my advice they were taking. The result was renewed confidence. They also shared that they were having fewer headaches, which they attributed to alleviated work-related stress. After voicing their frustration during our coaching, they decided to act by initiating some difficult conversations within their organization, which ultimately led to a resolution.

The reminder to listen and act upon your own intuition and “take your own advice," is a powerful insight and great coaching outcome. It also shows how coaching can prevent burnout for leaders. And I know that my client will take the lessons learned with them beyond the conclusion of our work together.

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