Trust in the coaching process, and do the Tango!

trust coaching process do the tangoWorking with our coaching clients often takes an act of faith and trusting in the coaching process, which we know can produce amazing results if we let go of controlling how the coaching session goes.

If I’m consulting, then I’m driving the process, which is different than coaching, where I outline the coaching process and then give the client the reins so they can choose how to proceed and navigate through the session.

I just finished a coaching call with an executive client of mine, who is a Senior Director in a high-tech company, and moving toward higher roles in her global organization.

I absolutely love working with this client as it feels like we are truly a partnership and that we trust the coaching process. She stated what she wanted to work on today, I explored (asked questions) what she said, and I asked her, “How would you like me to participate with you today?” She then gave me what she wanted to have clarity on by the end of our session, and what would be most helpful from me (ask her deeper questions, listen to her thought process and offer any observations…).

Let the client choose how to proceed

I then gave her the reins by asking, “So where would you like to begin?” This is Partnering with your client (Coaching Presence) which means allowing your client to choose how to proceed (at various points) in the coaching session. This continues to empower the client to take ownership for their coaching and builds their confidence in so many ways.

In our mentoring group for coaches preparing for their ACC, PCC or MCC credential application, we spend time understanding how to partner with your client, as this is a critical skill to demonstrate as a Credentialed ICF Coach, especially at PCC and at MCC skill level.

Stay present and open, okay with not knowing where to next in the session

A lot of the coaching today with my client was about ‘feeling’ our way through her topic, not knowing where to go next, and partnering with her by curiously following the threads that she was unraveling.

I would ask a question, make an observation, and sometimes offer a different perspective for consideration, especially when I could acknowledge her behavior such as, “The way you just said that sounded confident to me. Your delivery and tone was non-judgmental and the questions you posed to ask that person were excellent.” This builds trust and also strengthens the client through genuine acknowledgement (Trust and Intimacy Core Competency)

Listen for and observe energy/tone shifts

About 35 minutes in to our call, there was a shift in the client’s energy and tone, and she articulated a deeper level of what had been really bothering her about the situation (which allowed us to go deeper into the “Who” including her beliefs about her role). We continued to unpack more of what she was discovering (Creating Awareness), which then naturally allowed her to know what actions she would take next (Designing Actions).

You’ll notice how the core competencies flow organically, some being ‘core’ and others being an ‘output’ of focusing on the core competencies (refer to my model, The Target Approach

What a difference from where we started 50 minutes earlier! At the end, I said it felt like we did the tango together, to which my client gave us 10’s across the board! We laughed together, again experiencing the value of not knowing how we’d get to her outcome, but trusting that the coaching process works.


Do you trust in your coaching skills, and the coaching process?

Metaphorically, how might your best coaching client describe your coaching relationship?

For me, it was constantly giving over the reins to the client, and it felt like we did the tango.

What, if anything, might you need to shift in your thinking/beliefs to trust the coaching process more?

Are you preparing for your first or next ICF Credential?

Do you want to “Sharpen the Saw” as a Coaching Professional?

Our next Group/Individual Mentoring Programs commence in March (for MCC preparation or those already with MCC) and April (open to all skill levels) and carries 23.5 ICF Core Competency CCEUs!

Don’t wait until later in the year to start your mentoring requirements or to obtain CCEU’s for credential renewal!

You can learn more here

Carly Anderson and Karen Boskemper offer an awesome mentor coaching group and individual program that has many exclusive offerings for our participants. Both have been trained by the ICF to assess using the new PCC Markers.

One of those offerings is an extensive library of MCC, PCC and ACC coaching sessions for our participants to listen to, evaluate, debrief, and learn from, along with The Target Approach to demystifying the ICF core competencies. These are incredibly valuable learning tools, and will accelerate your understanding of competency distinctions.

Here’s where you’ll find more about The Mentor Coaching Group