I was inspired by two statements lately: Liesel, the blond young girl in the movie ‘The Book Thief’ being told by Geoffrey Rush ( her adoptive father) to keep a secret about their guest in the cellar and that in life, the most sacred thing for a person is to ‘keep their word’.
The second statement is what one of my clients told me right after a coaching session: ‘It’s nice to talk to someone I can trust’.
In business these days it seems keeping one’s word is out of vogue or it is quickly dismissed as an ‘old fashioned idea’. In this respect I am either old fashioned or naïve – or both since I keep following the ‘your word is sacred’ approach and this has helped me time and time again in the many cultures where I have lived, including Romania.
In coaching, the process is straightforward yet trust and discretion are paramount. Discretion in coaching enables trust and trust enables the change that you seek while working with a coach. Coaching is all about change; changing you in order for you, to improve professionally.
You cannot change or improve unless you have faith in your coach’s ability to help you change and if the coach has demonstrated unconditional trust and discretion, the process of change becomes a lot easier – it’s that simple.
In order to change you must tell your coach what is not working and what is ‘bugging you’; what is stressing you and what is getting you down; what is preventing you from reaching your next milestone. Getting these issues out on the table can be difficult for some but it’s important to ‘air out’ these issues or problems in order for the coach to get a full picture. Without a full picture the coach is only working with limited information which can hinder progress.
The coach also helps in this regard: As a professional manager or entrepreneur you can perform like an athlete if the rest of your life (spouse, partner, children, parents, social life and spirituality) are in harmony. If the harmony is missing, this is the kind of stuff you bring up during a coaching session.
Process wise, the coach does a lot of listening after you’ve set up your personal and business objectives and through conversations, the coach is able to determine if you are coherent between what you say you want and how you attempt to achieve these objectives. The coach will raise areas where you are not coherent and suggest ways for you to re-think and verbalize better.
During these conversations some pretty delicate subjects may come up and the fact of speaking to someone you can trust, who will not tell you what to do but rather listen with no intention to influence you, is extremely liberating.
A coach will not tell you what to do (like your mother); a coach will not make you feel guilty (like you partner or sibling); a coach will not tell you “I told you so’ and what path to choose (like a good friend); rather a coach is independent and his/her job is to help you identify and weigh alternatives. You have enough people telling you what you should do in life so the last thing you need is for a coach to tell you what to do as opposed to showing you alternatives. Having an independent person to listen to you is productive since you may feel more comfortable to talk about your setbacks, your fears and your concerns. If your work performance is affected by problems at home, then re-hashing these with your spouse may not always be the solution. Discussing alternatives with a coach can give you a few ideas while not hurting the ones that are important to you. Getting a completely different perspective on an issue is one of the many benefits of working with a coach.
Consider this important fact: Brain science tells us that if people formulate options and analyze these options and then make a decision on the best possible scenario, then they become more committed to follow through. This is proven.
I remind my clients that if I tell them what they should do, they may agree at that moment but it’s pretty likely that they will either forget or change their mind the next day. However if we’ve gone through 3 options and my client has carefully analyzed each option and then made a decision on the best path to follow, then he/she will start implementing immediately. This leads to the change that the client seeks.
Trust and discretion are essential in any relationship including coaching.
When trust exists, you get to the heart of the matter faster and you find solutions faster with your coach then, the most amazing thing happens -Transformation. The client‘s body language changes, his/her communications improve and there is renewed sense of confidence with the client. This is why trust and discretion are so important.
Is trust, discretion and ‘keeping you word’ like Liesel’s lesson a thing of the past?
What to do you think?