Is your client brimming with New Year resolutions and goals that sweep both of you up into an (potentially over) optimistic view of their capacity to enact on these changes? New Year resolutions can be great, if they’re doable and motivating. They really can help.
But with many clients, they just say ‘humbug’ to all that, because repeated attempts at the same kinds of thing – getting better worklife balance, nailing that career change within the company, or becoming more healthy through weight loss and exercise – haven’t worked in any of the previous years! And so the client would rather not look at their failures, but instead avoid these goals, and just carry on as is.
Ironically, whilst New Year resolutions are helpful for some, they can set up a kind of field of resistance, which hangs out in the background, negatively draining your coaching. It’s maddening!
What do you do as their coach?
What about helping them go behind a specific goal, and get hold of an intention that is actually really meaningful for them? Supporting your client to live intentionally can be a whole lot more effective.
Curious about what this means?
Intentional living is where you seek to create the conditions for something to come about, to come to fruition. It is about living with a deliberate vision for some area in your life – work or home life – and seeking the opportunities to move towards that intention. It means letting go of the need to achieve specifics; it means letting go also of the control around everything related to the intention. It is instead, a more open, evolving way of living.
It’s very helpful when either goals are difficult to achieve, or they are so complex you can’t tell what specifics are actually needed or doable. Living intentionally instead, you set out just to undertake the first step and aim just to explore towards that – then see where else you might go once you arrive there. There is no pressure per se – it’s really just all about discovering what this intention really means, beginning to live it, being energised by that, and so it goes. The core attitude at the heart of living intentionally in this way is not ‘what should I do’ but rather ‘what can I do’. It’s very motivating!
Why not try it for you and your client?
Start off with you. Take a particular client you are working with right now. What is your intention for them? How does that inform the way you are working with them?
Intentional coaching is one of the most transformative principles of resilience coaching. Yes of course track where you are in the coaching contract, and what you might offer next. But instead of getting into detailed plans, become clear on your own wish for your client, and work to create the right state that will enable that. Within that
1. Deeply consider what you would wish for your client.
2. Consider the state the client needs to be in to achieve that wish.
3. Model that state. For example, if you wish your client to feel more at ease, then having an easy session next time is what you need to plan.
Are you helping clients navigate such hard or complex stuff where goals are difficult to set and neither of you are convinced you will be successful? Why not shift your thinking and consider resilience coaching, so that you can unlock the conditions for navigating this complexity?
Author: Jenny Campbell, CEO The Resilience Engine