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Coaching the Young Client

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The challenges of work/life balance and workaholism are often wrapped up in the young, high potential clients’ inability or unwillingness to identify all of the priorities that are operating in their life. To what extent are the intentions embedded in their work life aligned with the intentions embedded in their personal life? When they spend that extra four hours at the office or bring two hours of work home with them every night, are they damaging their family life? What about devoting time to their own restoration? As Roger Rosenblatt has noted, the appointment we are most likely to cancel is the appointment we have made with ourselves (healthy exercise, an unhurried lunch, an evening spent with a novel).

There are also the alignment issues associated with ethics and organizational values. Are there times during the coaching session when the coach and client should explore the extent to which the client’s exceptional or potentially exceptional performance is misaligned with specific organizational values or with fundamental ethics? Do the ends always justify the means? Are the client’s personal values aligned with formal organizational values or with the unacknowledged values that “really” operate in the organization? While being very busy and very successful (or potentially very successful), has the client spent sufficient time reflecting on these deeper issues? Is it appropriate for the organizational coach to challenge the client regarding these alignment issues? Youthful high potential clients are likely to ignore this misalignment, having focused their attention and energy on getting the work done rather than on the reasons why their work is of value to themselves and their organization.

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