1. What are the benefits of focusing on your clients' strengths when it comes to coaching?
One of the things we all seem to have in common is a great awareness of our not-so-strong areas. As a culture, we obsess over our shortcomings. By giving clients a focus on what they naturally do well and excel at, I give them a powerful shift in focus which energizes, inspires, and creates curiosity and a sense that, "maybe I am doing better than I thought I was." When we focus on using our strengths well, we move away from deficit thinking, which is draining. Someone could spend hours on correcting their weaker areas and still never master it. If they invest that time on what they already do well, the payoff is amazing.
2. When is the right moment in someone's career to spend time working with an executive coach?
Although people can benefit from coaching anytime in their career in terms of clarity and expansion, there are some points when it is most beneficial. One is when a person has been promoted to management because of their level of competence in other skills, like technical savvy, for example. If they have never managed people before, they would benefit from working through the transition with a coach asking powerful, clarifying questions and helping them structure the transition in bite-size pieces. Coaching can be helpful during any transition point, or when a person is unsure of what they want next and feel stuck. We have tools to help them zero in on what is most important and meaningful to them, and how to take the first step toward that.
3. What are some successes people have experienced in working with you?
Some people have doubled or tripled their income as a result of really looking at the value they bring and asking for what that represents in terms of dollars. Many have reported improved relationships in the workplace and in their personal lives. Some have recreated the way they work--going in a direction that allows them to use their natural strengths and working for individuals or organizations that truly value their contribution and leaving behind or delegating those tasks that drain them. Some have become more inspiring leaders, or finished a book or important project that had been stalled.
4. How is working with teams as a coach different than working with individuals--and how is it similar?
It is different in that we are honoring more than one person's opinion or experience, and there are multiple personalities and multiple strengths in the space, as well as many different agendas. However, that can be true of an individual as well, when they have inner conflict about the direction they want to take. The similarity between teams and individuals is that they have priorities and values they want to honor, and that becomes the starting point for both. There is more energy when we have more people in the space, whether it is a room or a virtual space. The energy can be calmer when it is one individual, and people are usually more willing to be perfectly candid one on one, where they might be reluctant to name something specifically in front of their peers. In each instance, we establish an agreement of non judgement and acceptance to make the exchange feel more safe. Everyone agrees to confidentiality.
5. What are some of your favorite things about your job?
I love helping people see themselves in a more powerful light, and own their talents. It is a privilege to be in such deep, personal communication with brilliant minds, and it teaches me that we are all much more alike than different, no matter how many zeroes are on our pay stub. I think the very best part of my job is celebrating when clients reach a personal victory and are on top of the world. It is amazing to be a part of that kind of journey, and I am grateful every day to get to do this work.