by Burl W. Randolph Jr.

A while back, we explored The Mentor’s Mindset, to create greater understanding of what it means to be a mentor. This week we explore coaching – the refinement of knowledge. The client may have years of expertise in a profession, but is promoted to a new position or moves to a new company or industry, and seeks coaching. The coach helps the client refine the knowledge needed for the new position or industry. Or, to sharpen the skills they already possess in an old position, and in some cases, serve as a sounding board or confidant.

The prevailing thought is that coaches do not answer questions, but question the answers. In most cases that is true, but, how hard does the coach push to have the client answer their own questions? Is it about the questions, the clients, or the coach’s consciousness?

What qualities spur the coach’s consciousness regarding the client, the situation, or themselves? I believe as an executive coach, you must “ACT FASTT” to help clients gain or maintain the momentum in moving the business forward. This means the coach must always be ‘on-point’ and prepared, thinking and acting at the next level. Here are a few qualities that are important to me:

Authenticity. The genuine article. This quality may be the most difficult to attain, because coaching is still a relationship between two people, versus just a business transaction involving the Three C’s: Coach, client, and cash. The coach-client relationship may follow the same team-building process of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Authentic coaches realize this, and determine how to ‘ride out the storm’, if there truly is one, and move forward.

Commitment. My objective is dedication to achieving my client’s goals, not my own. Sometimes as coaches, we might believe we know what’s best, but it is not about us, it is about the client. How committed are you, as a coach?

Transparency. Coaches must be open and honest, without hidden agendas, gamesmanship, or secrecy. Clients should know exactly where the coach is coming from, and wants to take them. Clients should be able to see the coach, not see through the coach.

Because executive leadership can sometimes be tenuous, tumultuous, and time sensitive, this is where the FASTT part comes in:

Flexibility. Coaches must ‘bend without breaking.’ This may require making changes or compromises to the coaching time, technique, or temperament. Time may be short, technique may vary based on the situation, and temperament is always a personal choice.

Agility. Coaches require grace under pressure to be flexible under sometimes fluid situations. The ability to pick-up on nuances and make quick adjustments, provides great benefit to the coaching relationship.

Sensibility. Sometimes wisdom and prudence outweighs the full-court-press. Coaches need to know when to recommend ramping up, throttling back, and standing still.

Trustworthiness. Confidentiality is sacred in coaching. Coaches know the innermost information on their clients, and their businesses, which requires trust.

Tenaciousness. True Grit. Some problems are complex and require coaches to ‘dig deep’ with clients to find solutions. Persistent, but not pushy, is what tenacity is all about.

Coaching can be foundational, fruitful, and fun if done correctly. Coaches must develop a consciousness to truly connect with clients. Well, this is my coaching consciousness, what’s yours?

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