It's About You. It's About Me.

It’s About You.  It’s About Me.
By Donna Yurdin, ICFTN President

Coaches have a unique relationship with clients. We can open the eyes and expand the perspective of clients but do not tell them what to do; we are not consultants. We listen and learn all about the person, their past, their motivations, their aspirations for the future but, we are not therapists. We honor where they have been, what they know and sometimes, admire how much more they know than we do.

Our March ICFTN program in Nashville will engage us about active listening and coaching presence. These are a bedrock for creating a successful coaching relationship, in establishing trust and intimacy. No matter how good you are at asking questions, there must be a willingness by the client to engage in coaching in order for you to be effective.  Trust won’t happen until the coach is listening and is present. But presence is not just about showing up.

Recently, I have been challenged by a young professional client who needed me to share more about myself, to be more transparent with her in order for her to trust me and engage in the coaching process. At first, I was taken aback but then realized that it took courage for her to ask more of me and that the barrier I normally erect between myself and a client was not going to work for her. I had to meet her where she needed me to be. Without showing my vulnerabilities, she was not willing to show me hers. Building a relationship with a client that allows them to let down their defenses, open up about their fears, be willing to admit weaknesses, requires the coach to do the same. 

Presence is more than just showing up. It is actively listening, showing respect to the client no matter what they reveal in order to establish trust. Agreeing with the client is not required. Acceptance of them as a human being is. We hope it is a mutual exchange of respect and acceptance.  But, if it isn’t, we have to remember that as coaches, we have the greater responsibility for being trusted.

How do you demonstrate acceptance? Are you 100% present with all your clients? What can and will you do to get better as a coach in co-creating your client relationships?

In addition to the March program, the chapter has also begun offering WBECS programs for added professional development.  If you attend the upcoming program on Narrative Coaching by Dr. David Drake, you may find these questions pertinent to his model and his use of design thinking in exploring professional identity and personal sense of self.  Enjoy and let’s continue to have this dialogue to get better as coaches.

Donna Yurdin, ICFTN President

Donna Yurdin