Working with Jim #1 — Getting to know each other

Where do we start?

Although professional coaching is more common than when I started, it’s still a relationship that most people have never experienced.

So I assume it would be useful for the interested individual to spend meaningful time with any prospective coach in a real coaching conversation before making a decision to go forward.

The point of the meaningful time is for the individual to get an experience of how that coach might be helpful in their pursuit of their goals. For the coach, for me, the point of that initial conversation is to see if that individual needs what I can provide, get a sense of the individual’s commitment and to see if I’d enjoy working with them.

If that person needs something I don’t provide, then I’m not the coach for them.

When someone contacts me, the first step depends on the presence or absence of a trusted referral source.

Nearly always the individual is referred to me by someone I trust so things go like this:

Often, when the call comes to me, after the initial pleasantries,  we immediately schedule a 60-90 minute coaching meeting to meet, discuss their issues and goals, and dig into it.  Sometimes we spend some time on the phone talking about what he/she wants to accomplish through coaching before scheduling the meeting.

Whenever we have it, that coaching conversation should generate possible actions that person could take in support of their goal. We’ll also cover the fundamentals of how I work and answer a question or two about coaching.

Sometimes the chemistry is perfect and off we go after one conversation; other times it’s clear to one of us that we are not a great match so we shake hands and part ways.

More frequently, if the chemistry is good, I’ll suggest we meet again before considering the details of how we’d work, what the fee would be and so forth. On rare occasions, I’ll suggest a third meeting.

Why would I suggest we meet multiple times before we agree to work together? Because coaching isn’t effective unless the client uses the coaching to identify and take meaningful action, changes behavior or produces results.

Some people hope a coach has a magic wand that can be waved in place of hard work.  I’m looking to partner with people who will have the courage and commitment to do the hard work they need to do to take action, make changes or produce results before I’ll commit myself to the relationship.

To review, because nearly all my work is with people who are referred by someone I know and trust, this initial phase starts right in with one or two face-to-face meetings.  We spend enough time together for you to have a feel for my ability to help you and for me to get feel for your commitment to yourself and your character.

If we both feel good about it, we move into the next phase.


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