Coaching in the Real World: One Size Does NOT Fit All

Mary Jo Ammon April 21, 2017 0
Coaching in the Real World: One Size Does NOT Fit All

In any coaching practice, it’s safe to say that the clients we meet come to us in a multitude of ways. For some, they themselves recognize a clear (or unclear) and specific (or not so specific) need in themselves that they want to address. It may be that they are unhappy in their jobs and are seeking ways to be more fulfilled at work. It may be that they are looking to change course in their lives, taking on new challenges, and don’t know where to begin. Or it may be that they are continuing on journeys of self-awareness and self-discovery, want to show up as their best selves, and are seeking another lens through which to see themselves.

Others may come to us through a formal program that their organization offers for developing leaders. Often these are people who have demonstrated competence, reliability and consistency in their current role, and are assessed to have the potential to take on a leadership role. Or maybe they are fortunate enough to be part of an organization that understands and values the long term and far reaching benefits of having a group of leaders who have the awareness, tools, and confidence to lead.

We also work with clients who are required to work with a coach as a condition of a performance improvement plan (PIP). In some cases, continued employment is predicated on their completing a series of sessions with a professional coach.

In Issue 8, Bill Carrier wrote: “But none of those important distinctions really address what we might argue is at the core of our work as coaches:  the enhancement of individual lives.” So in the most fundamental ways our work in all of these scenarios is to help our clients step into their own magnificence. While that fact remains, in this article we are going to explore the contracting constructs, rules of engagement and process, and outcomes of each type of engagement mentioned above.

Self-sponsored coaching engagements

Contracting

Contracting for this type of engagement is the simplest. It usually takes the form of a one page letter, which lays out what each of the parties will commit to in the relationship, including the coach’s commitment to adhere to the International Coach Federation’s Code of Professional Ethics. Terms are clearly defined, including how the engagement will be carried out (i.e., phone, Skype, in person), how many sessions are included, frequency of sessions, begin and end dates for the engagement, coaching rate, process for scheduling changes, and payment terms. As with all contracts, both coach and coachee agree to terms and sign the contract prior to beginning coaching.

Rules of engagement and process

This is the most flexible of all coaching engagements, as the coach and coachee are free to determine the terms of the coaching arrangement. There are no external reporting requirements, restrictions on where and how meetings can be held, or schedule restrictions driven by organizational/program requirements. The coach and coachee are free to adapt their arrangement in a manner that best suites the needs of the partnership.

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