You know how certain clients are a perfect fit for you? They come to the table fully responsible for their feelings, decisions and actions. They’re hungry for the gifts of coaching, no matter what they look like. They allow it to catalyze their own wisdom and intelligence.
Those folks are showing up empowered and fully stepping into their role in the co-creative relationship.
But what about the flipside when it feels like a client comes to a session resistant, as if their arms are folded across their chest. Coaching seems to bounce off them. Or worse they bring the expectation that you’ll fix things for them, but aren’t willing to be part of the solutions. What’s going on there?
For coaching to happen, both coach and client must show up co-creative, resourceful and whole.
How can you do your part?
How to Stop Shrinking or Inflating Your Power
Most coaches I meet genuinely want to help others. In fact, it’s often a driving force in their lives to give.
I know I have that “helper” archetype. And I’ve gone many turns around the spiral learning to be conscious about the heavy shadow side of that noble desire. Do you feel me?
What I know is that empowering clients begins with “right sizing” myself. My intention is to show up as powerful as I am without inflating or deflating myself through my thoughts, words and actions. Because I know if I’m not right sized it will upset the power dynamic and disempower my client.
It’s not a set it and forget it sort of thing. It requires centering before beginning any session.
Here are 5 ways to help your clients feel empowered.
1. Hit the reset button before sessions.
- Take 5 minutes of quiet to breathe and reconnect to yourself.
- Value yourself intrinsically.
- Own your gifts, talents, and skills (as different but not more than your clients.)
- Show vulnerability without being self-deprecating.
- Get your needs met outside the coach/client relationship.
2. Let your clients take full responsibility for their role.
- Charge fees that pay you well.
- Never adjust fees to get a client.
- Treat clients as resourceful adults.
- Don’t do your clients work for them.
- Set time boundaries and ask clients to honor them.
3. Promote original thinking and self-starting.
- Verbally appreciate your client’s unique abilities.
- Praise self-awareness, intuitive action and insights.
- Reward initiative with enthusiasm and ask about their next steps.
- Challenge them to do more than what’s comfortable.
4. Spark their wisdom without manipulating.
- Let go of assumptions of what you think they know or don’t.
- Ask their opinion about how to best coach them.
- Ask a lot of direct open-ended questions. Let go of impulses to lead.
- Own your opinions as just that, don’t make them wrong for theirs.
5. Listen for their truth.
- Validate their feelings without taking them on.
- Separate your story from their story.
- Ask questions to help them separate facts from interpretation.
What are other ways you’ve found to empower clients and stay out of the trap of fixing or saving them? Share your thoughts here.