March 14, 2018
In last week’s blog, I stated the fact that 70% of clients continue working with coaches after the completion of their initial goals/timeframe.
As you learned, feedback is the lifeblood of a coaching relationship, and is key to making the adjustments in your role as a coach to continue adapting to the needs of your clients.
Another thing that changes are the wants and desires of your client.
One of the great benefits of personal development is that old wants and desires as well as new wants and desires that the client never knew existed suddenly come up on the radar.
It’s an absolutely beautiful thing to see a client confront a giant in their life who’s now infused with strength and confidence to go after the next one.
You can simultaneously retain a client while helping them achieve new goals, but it requires some intentionality on your part.
Here’s how you can help your client stay clear, focused, and taking steps towards the things they want to accomplish.
Realize that wants and desires change and so do goals.
In the coaching relationship, we as coaches get to partner with an individual that’s evolving in their understanding of themselves. Sometimes that means that a client starts out saying they desire one thing, but they find out a couple of months in the process that they really wanted something else.
We need to be aware of this and give the client permission to stop going after something that isn’t going to bring them into fulfillment and assurance that they it’s actually pretty normal for individuals to start out on one path and make a sudden change as the road gets clearer.
It’s also possible for your client to accomplish a goal, get there, and decide it’s really not what they wanted.
Why does this happen? Because human beings are a little more complicated than we think. We can do a lot of assessments on the front end and the client can still miss it.
We need to remind our clients that sometimes the things we want- like meaning or purpose – aren’t elusive, but a bit of a moving target. And sometimes that target falls on or near something that isn’t the thing. Other times, that target is able to be hit, but the fulfillment is short term. They need a new quest, a new battle, and new thing to sink their talents and abilities into.
And finally, desires and wants can change because once an individual gets to a place of satisfaction in one area of their life, a secondary area that hasn’t been getting any attention pops up. We are multi-dimensional beings, but somehow all of these things are also interconnected. So expect that other needs and wants will be highlighted simply because of all the overlap.
Make sure your clients are always setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
I know I’m speaking to coaches who “already know this,” but it’s actually very easy for goals – particularly personal development goals – to get a little vague and immeasurable.
It’s your job as the coach to ensure that every goal that your client sets is:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable (& Agreed Upon), Realistic, and Time-bound.
This is the key to satisfaction and a true result-orientation that actually retains a client. If these factors are missing, then the client starts asking the questions: What am I accomplishing? Why am I still meeting with this coach?”
Keep the accomplishment of goals in the line of sight for your client.
I’ll talk about the importance of celebrating success in a later blog, but, for now I want to stress the importance of recognizing goals as a means to reinforcing the clear objective of why you’re working together.
That means that there should be an endgame goal, but there should also be smaller goals along the way that highlights process and progress.
This is easy to express with an overall timeline. Pictures speak a 1000 words. But, at the very least, I like to remind my clients a list of the goals they’ve gone after and accomplished.
It’s not simply answering an objection they’d have about continuing to work with me, it’s answering the objection in their own hearts about whether or not they are really moving forward in their process.
Take notes to keep track of their goals and accomplishments.
Not all coaches take notes and probably think they can recall past conversations and action items. I’m not saying that you should take notes for your clients. I personally think our clients need to keep track of their own action items, etc.
But, for your benefit, I’d highly encourage taking notes because you won’t remember everything.
Additionally, having this list to call upon or even produce on the fly for a client is an incredibly validating experience for the client. And it also confirms their belief that you are focused on their success.
Review goals regularly with your client to gauge which goals are most important.
Set aside periodic reviews to gauge the importance of the goals that you’ve been working on together.
Ask the questions:
- How passionate are you about this goal?
- How excited are you right now about completing this goal?
Ask if there is anything new that is getting highlighted that they’d like to work on.
Periodically ask if there are any new itches, pains, needs, or desires that are coming to the surface that need some attention.
Emotional gauges like guilt or emptiness can actually be healthy indicators that highlight what should be getting their attention or what is missing in their current experience.
Please note that when I say guilt or emptiness, we’re not looking for things to heal. It’s simply that often guilt comes up with there are things in our lives that we value that aren’t getting the investment from us that they deserve.
We are looking for the natural overlap of things that can be the next goal that we work on together.
You can do this by asking them:
“Hey, would you mind if I gave you one action item before we get together next time? Would you mind evaluating things and see if there’s anything else that’s coming to the surface that maybe we haven’t talked about that you’d like to work on?”
or just simply:
“What else has been coming up lately that you’d like to work on?”
Start making a plan to address these new things in the form of action items and goals.
Keep your eye on the (next) prize.
Follow the energy of your client to where the fire is burning. If you can stay connected with their heart’s desire, you’ll retain them much longer and help them accomplish more than they ever thought possible.