“Do you believe I can do what I said I want to do?” “Do you believe I can reach my goals?”
I looked at my young client, a new author who had just published his first book. For him, that was only the beginning.
He wanted to become a videographer and get involved in acting. His eyes were fixed on my face as he asked this question.
“Do you believe?” This is a powerful coaching question for the client and the coach.
The coach is in a position to explore with the client his beliefs about what he wants to accomplish and to discover what the client really believes and how that belief aligns with his values and actions.
This is all well and good, but my client’s question revealed another part of the equation.
He wanted to know if “I” believed he could accomplish his goals. What’s profound about this simple question is the subtle reinforcement he was looking for so that he could go forward with coaching.
He knew that if I didn’t believe he could accomplish his goal there was no reason to continue working together.
The client stands a little taller and leans in when they know the coach is in partnership with them to accomplish their goals.
They may not know how or even what their next steps are, but when they know you believe with them and in them, they develop deeper courage to move toward goals that might have seemed impossible.
As the coach, what you believe is important even if you don’t express your beliefs in words. Your client, team member or leader will sense what you believe by how you show up.
Ultimately, it’s up to the person being coached to believe in their ability to make necessary changes, but it’s up to the coach to create a partnership based on belief that will foster progress in the coaching relationship.
I recently observed a coaching session and it was obvious that the coach did not believe in the client’s ability to accomplish what was important to him.
The coach talked down to the client and passed it off as “just telling the truth”. The client was cordial and tried to embrace the coaches point of view. In short, the client was trying to please the coach until the session was over.
After the session, I asked the client how he felt about the session and he said he was glad it was over, and wouldn’t go back to the coach again…because “he treated me like I was dumb and didn’t believe I could make the changes in my business that I wanted to make”.
The coach never said the words “I don’t believe in you”. He didn’t have to. His line of questions and the way he gave his “honest opinion” became an obstacle to the client.
The client stopped partnering with the coach because he was not in agreement with him and they were not working together. They were not a team.
When you are coaching someone, what you believe is vital. Your team, your client or your customer will not make the progress they can make if you as the coach or coach leader don’t believe in their ability to move forward.
If you are having difficulty connecting with a client and helping them tap into their potential.
Ask yourself this question: do you believe their change or growth is possible?
Your answer will set the tone for the coaching relationship. Do you believe?