Coaching — done right — is a powerful set of conversations that can make it much easier to get results.
A member of the Center for Executive Coaching was speaking to me about the difference coaching has made to his work. He had been working as a consultant in a highly technical field, working with huge and complex organizations with CEOs and executive teams. Prior to joining the Center for Executive Coaching, he had been skilled at analyzing a client's situation and making recommendations.
However, he often got frustrated when the CEO and executive team failed to implement.
Now that he has added coaching to his solutions, everything has changed. He knows the conversations to have to really understand where the client is at, where they want to go, and barriers to getting there. Instead of trying to be the smartest person in the room, he has conversations that encourage the client to see a path to results that works for their unique organization. He uncovers obstacles to change, and helps the client develop insights, perceptions, and actions that overcome those obstacles and move things forward.
He has also found that coaching helps him to more quickly build trust and rapport with his clients, especially at the start of an engagement or when the client is especially skeptical.
For consultants, coaching is a natural addition to what they already offer. Coaching allows the consultant to go into more depth about where the client stands on different issues, and to develop solutions that will actually get implemented. Coaching and consulting complement each other well, because the consultant can shift from coaching to offering his or her own insights — which is what coaching is really all about. Many of the top consultants naturally coach, but having a language and methodology for coaching helps the consultant be more proactive and disciplined about the conversations he or she is having with clients.
Here is what the consultant had to say as he began learning coaching skills: "The light has really turned on for me. Coaching is the key to going beyond being a highly technical consultant to making sure that the client actually gets results that more than justify our fees."
If you are a consultant or, really, any other kind of professional, consider adding coaching to your set of skills and solutions. It will bring even more value to your clients than you already are.