This morning was an interesting time for me. I had three coaching calls: one with a former client, one with a present client, and one with a prospective client. All the calls made me wonder about my journey as a career coach.
The first call with my former client was quite insightful. We had talked about what has happened since our coaching contract ended, and how far she has come. I remember telling her that she is one of my success stories. She may not have gotten the job of her dreams after our contract ended, but she has come a LONG way than before we started coaching. Her confidence is much higher, and she is now able to search and meet people, effectively network, and ask for guidance on how to get the position that she is best suited for. She also was able to find ways to make an impact other than in the workplace! She would not have even thought of doing that before the coaching. While speaking with her, she told me that she had mixed feelings about our coaching sessions. She said that even though she was happy of the work she accomplished, she was disappointed that she is not closer to her dream goal. I realized that we always look TOWARD at our goal, but never look BACK to how far we have come from the beginning. I told her that she would not have accomplished her dream goal with her old methods, and I was so proud of her for overcoming some of the roadblocks she faced, and she should be too. For that, she should give herself some credit. She still wasn’t convinced at the end of the conversation, but I know she isn’t beating herself up as much.
The second call with my current client was eye opening. I was used to one coaching style but she wasn’t responding well to my methods. With her, I learned to break things down more than what I was used to, so she can understand. I gave her more examples so she can better understand what I was saying. She liked that I did that, and I walked her through what she was doing wrong, instead of just telling her and giving her an assignment. I will admit that I felt more like a teacher than a coach with her (But then, isn’t a coach one type of a teacher?) It made me realize that I need to be more flexible in my coaching methods, and remember that coaching is not a one-size-fits-all model. I have to constantly change my coaching methods and styles based on the client’s needs and preferences, not my own. This client was a good reminder of that lesson.
The third call with a prospective client brought me shame and humility. She was a perfectly nice girl, with a problem. But, I had judged her after the first five minutes of speaking with her. I thought that there was no way she would want to be coached. After really listening to her, I realized my mistake. She was really open to the idea of coaching, and eager to go further in the process. We will have our first coaching session after next week. This realization was kind of a knee-jerk reaction. We all judge, it’s part of human nature. However, it is up to us to decide whether we are going to stick with that judgement, or change our minds. This girl made me change my mind, and made me shameful for judging her the way I did. I will try to be mindful of the opinions I make, especially for prospective clients. Hopefully I’ll be able to take her on as an actual client.
I look back at these calls, and ponder on how far I’ve come as a career coach. I started on this journey about 10 months ago, and it has been a roller coaster ride. I didn’t start getting paying clients until May of this year, because I had my own roadblocks that prevented my success. I haven’t cleared all of them, but I know people have seen a change in me and my numbers have improved. With each client, I learn something new, whether it is about myself, my coaching practices, or the closing; Each client has given me something valuable (other than the fee). To all of my clients, past, present and prospective, THANK YOU.
I think my own coach(es) would be proud of me.