This is the fourth and final blog in a series focused on the journey of coach and client—from the celebration of success to the moment of getting started.
Most people are not sure exactly what working with a coach will be like. Even after I share information about the process and approach, I know that choosing to say ‘yes’ to working together still feels, for many, like a leap of faith. As the coach, there is a leap of faith on my side as well. Before we begin working together, clients are rarely able to articulate what is at the core of where they want to focus. Most clients know that something in their professional or personal life is not working as well as they want, but they are not sure how to change the situation and are often equally unclear about what is getting in their way of experiencing success in that area.
When a prospective client approaches me about working together, we both have an opportunity to ask questions. The client needs to gauge whether my approach, personality, and level of experience match what they want in a coaching relationship. I need to know to what degree the prospective client is coachable. I am also listening to see if the prospective client is as committed to engaging in the process as I know I will be. While trust develops over time, I look for indications in our initial conversation that the client is someone who will be honest, open, and receptive to the coaching process.
Questions I often ask prospective clients:
- What is one thing that is getting in the way of who you want to be?
Clients often have many areas in life that they will work on during our coaching process. The answer to this question lets me know what is most important to them at this time.
- What would it mean to you if this (area of your life) were the way you want it to be?
The answer to this question helps me understand how committed the client is to working on the goal they shared with me and what the value is to them of reaching that goal.
- What else would you like to know about working with a coach?
I recognize that working with a coach feels like a big step for most people. To help people feel confident in taking that leap of faith, I want to give them as much information as I can to help them make an informed decision.
By the end of the initial meeting, both the prospective client and I can sense if this is a leap of faith we want to take together. I always acknowledge the courage that clients demonstrate in making that choice. Like many big decisions we make in life, waiting to feel ‘ready’ does not get us to where we want to be. Sometimes, if we truly value what we say we want as much as we say we do, we need to find a team, ask for what we need, and leap.