I've been involved in one on one business coaching since 2005 and I've learned some tough lessons. That old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.” has never been so true than in coaching relationships.
You Can Create A Plan But You Can't Make Them Follow It.
Cleaning out some old files I ran across an amazing plan I'd worked out with a client back in 2008. I remember being so jazzed about it. The client was full of potential, seemed to have a foot in the door with a promising business niche and there was a real fire in her belly. Sadly, as great as our plan was, it wasn't acted on.
Curious, I went looking for her online. She's still around… still apparently in the learning stage from what I can see from her blog. Why, when she had a clear plan did she fail to execute? What held her back? Did I do something wrong? Did I fail her in some way?
My tough lesson in situations like this is to realize I'm not responsible for the actions they take – or fail to take.
As a coach, I have to let this person go. I can't carry them around in a weighty basket of ‘failed clients' which I'll admit – I was falling into awhile ago. Some people will take action and follow through and some won't and I can only influence them as far as they'll let me.
Knowing Someone Is Paying Attention Helps.
Accountability is one of the greatest gifts I can bring my clients. I take notes during each session. Actually, I record the whole thing. I mail them a ‘Coaching To Do' and I ask them to report back on their progress before we meet again. I keep track and notice when this doesn't happen and call them to account.
Client after client thank me for this, saying the firm expectation keeps them focused and driven.
This accountability is especially appreciated by those who have recently left the day job to be 100% self employed. They're used to answering to someone for their productivity and find that they get distracted without it. I can't ‘be their boss' but I can pay attention and ask the tough questions when things aren't moving along as fast as planned.
Everyone Is More Capable Than They Think
This is a lesson I learned while working with my own business coach. I've accomplished greater things, faster than I would have imagined because they push me to stretch.
One of my clients, an older gal with very little internet experience, has impressed me. She came to me, we worked out a plan with a few specific end goals in mind. We recently wrapped up the project having met every goal. Technically she exceeded our original goals because she concurrently signed up for my small reports coaching group that required a significant amount of writing.
If anyone might have had an excuse for not finishing on time, it would have been her – but she simply followed instructions and got things done. I don't think she even realizes how rare she is. She didn't do a good job when you consider her age, lack of experience – she just plain did a good job.
Fortunately I'm going to get to continue working with her. I'll get to see what she continues to accomplish. What if you followed her example?
What if you signed up for coaching, followed through and got things done? It really is that simple!