Tasks may include:
- Setting up the first meeting.
- Exploring any coaching issues.
- Determining if you're the right consultant for the work.
- Listing the client's expectations.
- Specifying what expectations you have.
- Figuring out how to get started.
Although this is geared toward building a consulting relationship. The framework also provides a useful way to think about exploring the possibility to working with a coach.
This entry phase is a time to look at chemistry, the heart of the client, and creating a 15 or 20-minute laser session to determine if there is a certain resonance with the coach and the coachee. Following that meeting and if both parties are in agreement we can move together to the next phase of the coaching session. It is important to give both parties a chance to determine the fit and put it out there to avoid discomfort by either party.
The Case Study
Jack is a 48-year-old white male. He has worked in his current organizational role for a number of years and wants to change or create new opportunities for leadership in his career. He has agreed to be coached and wants to explore (at least at this point) who he is and what his future holds for him. In the pages ahead I have discussed my preparation for the first client meeting, the assessment (MBTI) results and a couple of applied coaching theories.
Theories of choice:
The first theory that I chose to use with Jack is the multiple intelligence theory from the “Coaching and Theories of Intelligence.” I also used a goal-focused approach to coaching to help Jack move forward in our coaching relationship.
To prepare for my meeting with Jack I would initially review his assessments and identify his strengths and challenges based on the assessments. I will also be mindful of the fact that with multi-rater tools they may be nuanced and they also represent a snapshot or a moment-in-time for the respondents. I will make certain that Jack knows this to ensure that he fully understands the impact of the assessment tools.
Once I meet with Jack we will discuss the contracting phase of the coaching relationship. I will determine how much Jack knows about coaching and outline any expectations/commitments that we both have for our work together and make certain that we have a shared understanding and series of expectations.
I will then encourage Jack to use a SOAR analysis and we can work together toward getting his impressions of the results of the assessment and his thoughts on the goals that he would like to set for our work together. SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results). The focus is on Jack and his future rather than perceived threats and/or weaknesses. When conducting a SOAR analysis, the following questions should be asked:
- What are his greatest strengths?
- What are his current opportunities?
- What is his preferred future?
- What are the measurable results that will tell us we’ve achieved that preferred future?
Using this form of analysis may be useful to Jack based on the characteristics and behaviors revealed in the pre-work, such as conflict avoidance, poor listening and being overly analytical as well as being somewhat indecisive.
The SOAR analysis as I see it:
- High Standards
- Approachable/ trustworthy
- Understanding of the business
- Committed to the organization
- Analytical thinker
- Effective personal communicator
- Slow to make decisions
- Overly analytical
- Listening skills
- Risk adverse/ Work-life balance
- Control/Boundary issues
- Jack’s preferred future (Aspirations):
- What is it that Jack would like to achieve?
- What are his goals and what would he like to achieve based on his current state of performance?
- Results (Goals):
- (Designed and determined by Jack and perhaps senior management.
Once we have gone through this exercise we would begin to discuss Jack’s identified goals and interest in results. We would talk about communication theory in relationship to the opportunities that exist from his multi-rater and forced choice assessments. I would need to get Jack’s buy-in to the value of the assessments so that he can see them realistically. I would also be aware of Jack being a 48-year old boomer and with this in mind create an awareness of how boomers like to receive feedback versus that of other generations. Baby-boomers are typically loyal, understand the politics of working in organizations, they can be somewhat fearful of technology and also have a desire for written proof and are open to annual feedback. These are good things for me to be aware of as I enter a conversation with Jack and it may be a good skill to understand as he works with his direct reports, and his senior management team.
After this discussion we can segue into communications theory and emotional intelligence.
Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences asserts that people are born with a set of (cognitive) intelligences from birth such as: linguistic intelligence, logical intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence and existential intelligence. We can apply the concepts of these intelligences to Jack’s strengths and challenges. For example, does Jack’s strength in analysis correlate to a highly developed logical or mathematical intelligence or does he have a strength in linguistic intelligence? I would suggest that we explore Jack’s abilities in the areas of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence and whether his needs to be liked and concerns about being liked are negatively impacting his skills as a manager leader and decision maker. Discussing communication theory can also assist Jack in thinking about how he relates to his direct reports and coworkers. How can the SOAR analysis be applied to his current staff and also how do the multiple intelligences help him to better understand and gain buy-in and understanding from his team.
From there depending on Jack’s reaction to these concepts and theories we can move on to a discussion of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) scores and the other forced choice assessment that Jack has taken.
I would explain the results of Jack’s assessments and ask him for his thoughts and feelings about the evaluation. ENTJ’s are typically forces not to be reckoned with. They demand control and may be larger than life. They are decisive and self-assured. I am not sure that Jack actually is showing these characteristics in his current leadership as he is seen as controlling and indecisive which seem contradictory. We would explore these traits and I would then ask for Jack’s commitment to think about them. I would also ask Jack to consider is need for affection as it relates to his FIRO-B. It is difficult to determine based on the case study whether these needs are wanted or expressed needs for Jack but we can be mindful of these issues as we develop our conversation.
We can use EI theory as a way to discuss the topics outlined above. Jack and I will discuss the definition of emotional intelligence and its history.
Emotional Intelligence “is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships,” according to Daniel Goleman, one of the leading writers and researchers in the field of Emotional Intelligence.
EI describes abilities distinct from, but complementary to, academic intelligence or the purely cognitive capacities measured by IQ.
The four major categories of Emotional Intelligence are: Self-Awareness (or Self-Observation), Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.
A useful acronym for remembering key attributes of Emotional Intelligence and for defining it is “SO SMART”.
Attunement to others and oneself (same as Social Awareness)= A
Relationship Traction (similar to relationship management)= RT.
This is how Goleman’s EI research definitions of key EI characteristics break down under the SO SMART categories.