No-one can be all things to all people. One of the current complications is that we often have to fit to what others may be looking for. The temptation to put across the image of being all things to all people is still very high in Coaching. So the next question is what exactly can each of us be, and to whom? What can you do at your best? Is there a pattern, or a profile, for how this works? Is this important? How should this be used / shared?
This idea ties in closely with the idea of being professional. A professional knows what they are doing. Professional standards are created for us to evidence and validate independently, and objectively, that we know what we are doing. Even the early attempts at setting professional standards can create what works for some, and yet does not really appreciate the diversity of what can be really involved in powerful coaching.
How to form a picture of you at your best?
Simply start an exercise of reviewing your best cases.
Step 1: The first stage in this exercise is to consider what are your best cases as you yourself consider them. This may not be what are the cases that bring you the highest reputation for your work, of course. This is about outcomes you are proud of being involved in creating – even if not easily visible to others. Even Coachees can not always understand what draws them in to value the opportunity presented to them.
Think of around a dozen different coaching cases where you think you were able to achieve what you believe you can achieve at your best, and where the circumstances were also supportive in enabling this to happen.
Even dare to think more about where you believe you were able to create the conditions, because of who you are, and what you typically do, with another person that was very significant for them. This may not just be in the formally controlled conditions of many coaching sessions. It may also not be when you started referring to yourself as a coach!
It’s really important to go beyond general coaching words and objectively ask what is really involved. Think of the actual events and behaviours that made the difference. Sometimes these can be complex, and very subtle. There may be an example of a behaviour that was a peak moment, at a particular point in time. There are also stages … what was important at the start … then built the progress … and then came to important outcomes.
You may already have done this. Otherwise, take the exercise in stages, step by step ….
Step 2: Then go on to a second stage and consider what you did in more detail, that had such important impact. For example, to begin with, aim to list the three to five most important things you believe you did that you believe made the most important impact.
Do this for each case separately. You may do this at different times, so as to come with a fresh look. Even then go back to add more detail as you build the case description.
Consider also the circumstances – and what was important in being able to deliver what was important. Circumstances can be a major set of factors independent to what you can bring.
All this can be a real test for whether you do actually know what made an important difference to the other person. It can be like using that all important powerful lens to see through to what can be invisible to a superficial examination of the events.
It’s a chance to celebrate yourself after all! This is not a simple exercise. But it should be a very enjoyable exercise.
Step 3: The third stage is to begin identifying the patterns of what you do … that makes a difference … which occur frequently across these cases.
This starts to really identify that profile of your own best practice. Your Practice Profile.
A further step is to share your review, and thoughts, with someone who really knows you well, and bring them into the conversation about what was really happening.
You may even have evidence from the coachee involved. But that can still be difficult to obtain. But it will also become important looking ahead.
At some point, we will all have an opportunity to express this level of appreciation about how we really operate, in depth. This is where professional standards need to evolve towards.
Start now to build your track record at this important level.
And enjoy it for what you have been so proud of achieving.
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