You Gotta Believe!

A Blog Post by Bill Copper

For the last few months I’ve been writing about the relationship between good coaching mindsets and great coaching skillsets. It is my belief that the most effective way to build great coaching skills is to adopt some basic coaching mindsets than can really add power to your coaching conversations and coaching relationships.

In my final installment in this blog series (YES, I’m going to write about something different in 2017!) I want to talk about another mindset that leads to great coaching skills. We’ve talked about the mindset of believing our clients are healthy, creative and resourceful…and in this post I want to tweak that mindset just a bit to include the belief that our “client is the expert in her/his life.”  It is important to believe in a general sense that our clients are healthy, creative and resourceful…in other words they “have it in them”. But beyond that, I want to invite you to believe that your client is indeed the EXPERT in her/his life.

What all is wrapped up in that statement? What are all the ways in which that is true? Consider this – the client is the ONLY one who knows:

  • How they are feeling about the issue they’ve raised
  • What they’ve thought about it in the past
  • What they’ve done about it in the past
  • Who else is involved in the situation
  • How the client feels about the other person(s)
  • What the client believes about the other person(s)
  • How often the client has thought about this issue
  • How frustrated they are with how things are currently
  • How hopeful they are about what could be
  • How confident they are in their own abilities to resolve the issue
  • What God has been saying to them
  • What other voices have been saying to them

I hope you can see that this list could go on and on. I could double it just with what I’ve already considered in the last few minutes, but I’ll stop there for brevity’s sake. It doesn’t take very many of these for us to realize just how inadequate we are to come up with any solutions or direction for our clients. THEY REALLY ARE THE EXPERTS!

No one Ever Washes a Rental Car

A Blog Post by Bill Copper

rental-carIn my previous post, I shared some of my thoughts about the importance of a coach truly believing that her/his clients are healthy, creative, and resourceful. I hope you read that article and accepted my challenge to unlock the vast reservoir of knowledge, passion, hopes, and dreams from within your clients for maximum power in your coaching relationships.

In this new post, I want to talk about an equally important mindset for coaches, and one that can help us be better encouragers. Even when you have some difficulty with that first mindset, this second one can help put you in the right frame to effectively serve your clients.

This second mindset is summarized in the phrase “No one ever washes a rental car”. In other words, we tend to take care of our own stuff better than we take care of others’ stuff…including our ideas, thoughts, hopes, dreams, solutions, etc…

I’ll confess that early in my coaching journey, I did, on occasion let my ego blind me from the first mindset I mentioned. As much as I tried to believe the best about those early clients, I did at times allow myself to believe I had better ideas than they did. I thought my experience or wisdom in a certain area gave me some special privilege “just this time” to inject my own thinking and conclusions and I gave clients the answers.

Creativity – Your Client is a Lean, Mean, Idea Machine

creativity

I’ve been thinking and writing about how good coaching mindsets lead to great coaching skill sets. In this post I want to talk about another of those coaching mindsets – The client is healthy, creative, and resourceful. This description comes straight out of the International Coach Federation’s definition for coaching and describes one of the mindsets that coaches must have.

What, exactly, does it mean to believe your client is healthy, creative, and resourceful? And what difference will it make it you do take on this coaching mindset. More specifically, how will your coaching skills improve by adopting this coaching mindset?

I guess we ought to first get clear on what we mean by these terms.

What does “healthy” mean in the context of a coaching relationship?

When we hear the word “healthy” in other contexts, we may think of:
–    Physical fitness
–    Lack of disease or serious medical condition
–    Mental balance
–    Spiritual maturity

And in most of these cases, the term “healthy” is a somewhat relative measurement. Healthy might refer to being relatively more fit, or balanced, or mature. Maybe it means my medical condition is “good for my age”, or some other such relative term.

In coaching, we use the term healthy in a similar way. “Healthy” for a coaching client means that she or he has the mental and emotional capability to participate and contribute to the coaching conversation and relationship in a meaningful and positive way. It means your client has the ability to think, process their thoughts and feelings, apply those thoughts and feelings to their situations – past, present, and future – and to make decisions for themselves.

This is, of course, a relative term, just like when we use the term in other contexts. Our clients can be more or less healthy, depending on the topic, their current mental and emotional state, and their knowledge of the issue. One isn’t either healthy or unhealthy. We can be more healthy on some days or with some topics than on other days or with other topics.

The important mindset for the coach is to assume health on the part of our clients. In other words, our default position is that the person on the other end the conversation is mentally and emotionally capable of participating and contributing to the conversation and relationship in a meaningful way. They have the ability to think and process…They can apply those thoughts and processes to their situations….They can make decisions. That is powerful mindset for a coach, and believing that about our clients can help with our coaching skillset of asking powerful questions. When we truly believe that our clients are healthy, we ask more and better “powerful questions”.