Ready to say ‘no’ to your clients?
An interesting thought isn’t it, to actually say ‘no’ to a client? Your curiosity might be sparked around this reading Brubaker and Mitchell’s article in HBR, ‘4 signs an executive isn’t ready for coaching’. A good point and useful food for thought to think about when are we better saying “Executive coaching isn’t the right course of action, right now. Spend your investment somewhere else!”
In short, coaching is growing hugely (+20% on five years ago to a $1billion spend) and becoming more and more popular in every field, whether its executive coaching (internal or external), personal or relationship coaching. When done well it’s a useful, impactful and hugely rewarding experience for both coach and coachee, though arguably only when the time is right and the coachee is truly ready for coaching. Coaching is challenging and often one has to face a few vulnerabilities and truths about where we need to change and how we can improve, which of course is a brave place to go. Sometimes someone just isn’t ready to be coached or it’s an internal initiative that’s been pushed through. In that instance it’s useful to notice and be aware of four key signs that indicate someone might not be quite as ready for coaching as they’re letting on.
The 4 signs someone’s not ready for coaching:
- They blame external factors for their problems. Very often they are coachees who when you observe them in the workplace, they might be completely oblivious to the impact that their Emotional Intelligence and behaviours have on others around them. They are quick to defend criticism and certainly ignore feedback, maintaining a big blind spot on what colleagues are thinking and feeling around them.
- You can’t get in their calendar. Everything else is a priority and the usual excuse pops up that ‘I don’t have time for coaching’. There is lack of space for coaching, rescheduling is a regular request and cancellations might often happen last minute. Of course, the irony is that the coaching is about adding value and investing in one’s own personal development, an opportunity to raise the bar and do things better, it should be there as a priority. No time to improve ourselves is a bit of a cop out and sign of focusing on and prioritising the wrong stuff.
- Coachees focus too much on tips and tactics and avoid the deeper enquiries/questions for deeper transformation. There is a willingness to modify behaviours but not beliefs, they want the quick fix and looking to be told the answers, rather than being supported to explore and work out the solutions for themselves.
- There is the tendency to procrastinate the start. The tell-tale sign is a clear delay in getting started, statements such as ‘I need to do more research’ or ‘take more time to find the right person’ abound. The right coachee needs to appreciate and understand that coaching is a positive development intervention, rather than necessarily fixing something that is broken. It helps to overcome challenges and clarify means to develop and achieve personal goals.
If these four signs exist then they provide a useful benchmark to suggest that potentially spending the money and investment in other areas might be a better focus point for a particular individual, such as training or achieving further qualifications. Be ready to say no and invest in those who genuinely want and are willing to change for personal growth and success.
This is all very true and sound advice, but on reading this article one question and counter argument comes to mind… Why does coaching put the fear of god into people to resist and avoid it so much? This article very much comes from the usual stance of coaching being these rather formal and isolated sessions that we need to make time for and get ready to expose our inner most vulnerabilities! It’s frightening, but the truth is it really doesn’t need to be this way when we focus on building habits and cultures in our organisations of more regular coach-like conversations.
We move away from the dread of intense formal sessions every so often, to having regular ‘drip feed’ coach-like conversations on a daily basis and in the moment, enabling our teams to have insights and take actions towards more positive impact and outcomes. We have the saying ‘drip irrigation beats a flash flood’, enable those moments of learning to be little and often in building a real sense of a growth mindset. Food for thought, the more we encourage an environment of ask before tell, be curious before giving advice, then coaching becomes the norm rather than moments of isolated fear and dread.
Oh and by the way, this is exactly the type of coaching training we offer organisations, giving busy managers the tools to have impactful everyday coaching conversations in just ten minutes or less. If you’d like to know more about our programmes please reach out, we’d love to have that conversation – firstname.lastname@example.org.