We learn in our CPD the importance of providing a great onboarding experience – or chemistry meeting. In this meeting we invite a potential client to meet us and have a chat about their experience of coaching, expectations, and whether they get on with us. But how many times do we actually turn down working with a client – fearing of condemnation from an HR contact in a company, or the loss of revenue? A reminder, this is a two way process. Not only is the potential client needing to check you out but also you should be checking them out.

I draw an analogy of going to watch a play. Without an audience, there isn’t a ‘performance’ and without a ‘performance’ there isn’t usually an audience. The audience are transformed through the couple of hours that they are in the theatre, exploring the nuances of the plot, delving into the scenery and second guessing what is going to happen next. The ‘performers’ draw from the nervous excitement and energy of the audience, building confidence as the ‘performance’ moves through the scenes and acts before delivering the final bow. As a coach, are you a ‘performer’ or are you the ‘audience’? What is the definition of each?

Coaching is about going to a theatre that both parties want to visit and relax in. It’s a safe sanctuary, behind closed doors, where these discussions and subplots take place. Here, the analogy receives a challenge. The performers perform to an audience – but they do so generally regardless of who is sat in the seats. But this need not be a coach position – it could be the demands of a company encouraging a staff member to ‘take’ coaching. The best performance, the best audience experience occurs when flow is established – where interferences are reduced to a minimum and exploration encouraged.

Just as choosing whether to watch or perform in Les Miserables, The Lion King, or Phantom – both parties have a choice. The world is an abundant place for coaches and clients.

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