Understandably, the coach wants to demonstrate their applied knowledge of the coaching process and the ICF core coaching competencies. Yet if by being concerned about demonstrating coaching skills and getting to the coaching agreement the coach then misses being in full connection with the client, their coaching is weakened anyway. Coaching Presence is often most affected, along with developing deeper trust and intimacy with the client.
Building trust and intimacy with your client has a few aspects, one of which is how the coach relates with the client as an engaged partner, rather then being hyper-focused on leading the client through the coaching process.
It’s important that the coach bring themselves in to the coaching session too, in an appropriate manner. In situations where a candidate has coached me as part of an exam process, there have been many occasions where the coach has waited until after the coaching session has been completed before they share some personal piece of information that might have created a whole different level of rapport and intimacy if offered within the coaching session.
As one example, I’m originally from Australia and I’ve referenced being born in another country, without saying where. Then the coach doesn’t ask me where I was born. Having that information might inform their questions, which might then be more relevant to me.
What is most surprising is when the coach will finally ask me where I was originally from, but it’s after the coaching session has ended. Even more surprising is when they will say they have a family member from Australia, or have traveled there. What!? That would have been a great relating point to briefly mention earlier in the session, because where we intersect in our experiences is an opportunity to build rapport, and can add to the deepening of trust and intimacy (core coaching competency #3) as long as the coach keeps it short and doesn’t put all the attention on themselves by sharing.
Your curiosity about a client is so important to demonstrate. Don’t wait until the end of a coaching session to share something that could lead to deeper trust and intimacy in the relationship. You can easily relate to the client without taking the focus away from the client.
What do you think? Have you ever had a great example of building rapport by relating with your client? Or maybe not? Please scroll to the bottom of the page and leave your comments.