~ Article written by L. Michael Hall PhD and Shawn Dwyer ~
“While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a business, a career, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can.” Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations
If Meta-Coaching, as a cutting-edge coach training, is to lead the emergent field of coaching-we have to get beyond the lame and wimpy coaching, a style of coaching which is far too common in the field. Far too many coaches today are far too wimpy in the way they coach. What is it that makes coaching lame and wimpy in the first place? How can we tell? The coaching conversation sounds like the kind of chats that go on in pubs and board rooms all over the world. Such chats indulge in whining and complaining, they analyze issues to the point of paralysis, and in the end they change nothing.
To get Meta-Coaches beyond wimpy coaching
Our aim is to train coaches in how to have fierce conversations that get to the heart of things. I write these as a challenge to invite you to learn how to avoid “safe conversations” with your clients and to aim for bold life-changing conversations. That will give you a distinction you can brand as part and parcel of Meta-Coaching.
How then can we get beyond wimpy coaching?
What elements can make your coaching robust and powerful, life-changing, and facilitative of transformation?
1) Delve deeply into emotions – evoke strong emotions.
2) Make the coaching experiential.
3) Get beyond the worship of “comfort” as an ultimate value.
4) Welcome issues that are tough and pressing.
5) Iterate clarifying questions to delve into what is real for the client.
6) Confront the unreal in the client as you call your client to come out behind him or herself and be real.
Read again the quote at the beginning of this post. It is as profound as it is powerful. And what it suggests for you as a Coach is as challenging as it is disturbing, is it not? “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a business, a career, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can.”
what if, just what if
You adopt this premise as one of your basic frames in coaching? Suppose you entered into every coaching conversation with this idea as your governing and dominating frame? This very conversation may very well change the course of this person’s life! Would it make a difference in your coaching approach, attitude, and state? What difference would it make in how you coach?
If you operate from the frame that this conversation may be the crucial conversation that changes the very course of this person’s life, I predict that your coaching will take on a new life, energy, and power. I predict that you will not have just a mere “chat,” you’ll have a fierce conversation. I predict that you will be more alive to the conversation- more present and that you will really be listening, and questioning at a whole new level.
Leverage for Transformational Change
I think it would first motivate you to recognize the coaching conversation as a real leverage for transformational change. And that would more fully engage you so that you truly show up and show up more fully to be present to and for your client. And if you are more present, you would listen to truly understand the client on the client’s terms, not yours. If you did that, your listening would be more sacred- truly holding the place for your client to discover and change, truly listening to understand the person’s heart and intention.
Get used to it
The danger with Coaching as with anything new, vibrant, and exciting is that you can so easily get used to it. You can get to the place that you take it for granted. Yet when you do that with coaching, when you forget that any coaching conversation may be the very one that changes the very course of life for a client- then you forget just how sacred and alive the coaching experience is designed to be.
Make every conversation count
If you are ready to make each and every coaching conversation count, then imagine that each and every conversation may be the very conversation that will change your client’s course of life. As you set that as your frame of mind- come fully into the moment with all the courage and compassion that you can muster. Decide that you will be as real, as true, as honest, and as present as you are capable of. Access your coaching genius state so that you can be fully engaged and be nowhere else. Then, holding the crucible space for your client, begin the exploration:
“What is the most transformative thing that we can talk about today that will be a powerful difference in your life?”
Do that and your coaching will not be lame or wimpy. Take this bold step forward and you will begin to be Morpheus offering your client’s the Red Pill to begin the adventure of mastering his or her Matrix.