Establishing the Coaching Agreement
In establishing the coaching agreement, we discuss with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship. This is the beginning of creating a shared vision with the client.
Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the Client
We create a safe, supportive environment that produces ongoing mutual respect and trust. This creates a foundation for alignment, followed by feeling and showing concern for the client’s welfare and future, demonstrating respect for the client and providing ongoing support.
We align with the client by being present and flexible, following our intuition (which becomes easier the more one is aligned with their client), seeing many different ways to work with the client, and choosing in the moment what model, tool or question is most effective.
With active listening, we pay attention to the client’s agenda and not our own. We hear the client’s concerns, goals, values and beliefs and mirror back to the client what they have said to make sure we have clarity. Through active listening, the client knows that we care about them and perhaps they become more willing to align with us.
Powerful questioning allows us to learn what the client’s vision is so that we can align with it and support them in it.
Using direct communication is communicating effectively during coaching sessions, and using language that has the greatest positive impact on the client. If we use language that the client is using, our words will resonate with them. This is a step we can take to encourage entrainment. Also, by providing feedback, we can help them adjust their vibration so that it comes more in line with what they want to achieve.
By providing feedback and creating awareness in the client, we can help the client adjust their vibration so that it aligns with what they want to accomplish. Just as we have seen in the example of two pendulum clocks adjusting their pendulum swings until they are matched, we provide feedback that allows them to become resonant with their goals.
We are holding the space for the client. If we firmly believe that they can achieve their goals, we can vibrate that frequency for them. Then by giving honest compassionate feedback, we let them know when their vibration is off and they can begin to adjust, not to us, but to their desired goal, eventually synching up with the life of their dreams.
Because we share the client’s vision, we are able to help them design actions to help them move forward towards accomplishing their goals. We can brainstorm with them, help them focus, explore opportunities, engage in alternate ideas and promote action. We can provide this support at opportune times, similar to pushing them on a swing so that they can swing higher each time.
Planning and Goal Setting
Planning and goal setting is where we create and document the shared vision. We have taken the time to align with the client, discussed all the options and now it is time for us to support the client in creating a plan that will help them achieve their goals.
Managing Progress and Accountability
We are pushing the client on the swing, paying attention to the rhythm of the client, and timing our efforts to the moment that the client needs that support. By managing progress and accountability, we can help them swing higher each time. This is a coach’s purpose and joy.
Most of the ICF competencies are established to increase our alignment with the client. If we grow and use these skills properly, establishing alignment with our client, and helping them achieve their goals (our shared vision), we will have wonderful resonant relationships with our clients.
Simply by following the ICF competencies, we can develop alignment with our client. Many helpful tools are in the list of ICF competencies. Following are a few additional methods I have discovered that we can use to increase our alignment with our clients.
Creating Alignment With Our Clients
Many coaches suggest breathing a few deep breaths to get centered at the beginning of a call. If the coach makes an effort to entrain or align their breath with that of the client, a higher level of alignment with the client can take place. (Core)
As coaches become more in-tune or resonant with the rhythm of their client, they will better be able to use that knowledge to align with the client. When that alignment takes place, less energy will be needed, the conversation will flow and coaches will take on an almost psychic level of intuition regarding what is needed in the coaching session. Small observations and questions, placed at opportune moments, with the rhythm of the client, will enable the alignment we need to strengthen our relationship with the client.
Other ways to increase alignment or resonance with the coaching client include:
- Meditate or pray regarding the client
- Breath in tune with the client
- Speak in the same cadence with the client
- Match the client’s energy
- Find similarities in your backgrounds or interests
Developing a resonant relationship by aligning with our clients is truly at the core of becoming a great coach. When we focus on aligning with the client, we forget ourselves and focus on the client’s needs and rhythm. By consciously striving to develop alignment and resonance with our clients, we can truly become masterful coaches. By helping our clients establish and follow their alignment we can support them in accomplishing their dreams.
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"Goal Alignment – Increase Employee Engagement and The Bottom Line." successfactors.com. SAP, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2013 <http://www.successfactors.com/en_us/lp/articles/goal-alignment.html>
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“Resonance.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. Web. 7 Dec 2013.
Turow, Gabe. Auditory Driving as a Ritual Technology: A Review and Analysis. Stanford University, 2005. pdf.