Home Concepts Adult Development Meeting Clients Where They Are – the Adult Development Coaching GPS

Meeting Clients Where They Are – the Adult Development Coaching GPS

15 min read

So how might you leverage this for your own work meeting your clients where they are, as well as where they – and their sponsors – would like them to go?

Let’s consider the often encountered coaching requests for those individual contributors who excelled and are promoted into leadership roles where they now need to lead others.  This transition can feel rocky for all impacted as the leader struggles in various degrees translating their prior success over to effectively leading others. Challenges often encountered in this transition include difficulties with the following leadership behaviors:

  • Delegating to others
  • Working collaboratively
  • Managing conflict
  • Communicating effectively
  • Black/white thinking & problem solving

Referring to the GPS table, one can hypothesize these challenges align more with the Conventional stage of meaning-making. Based on the transition of such a leader, who has been performing and rewarded in a skill-centric (expert) environment, as well as the research that two-thirds of the population reside in these stages, this is a good starting place from which to continue looking for clues to hone in further to the “location” where best to meet your client.

Let’s now zoom in more closely to JP, one such leader, to see how to continue:

 JP was recently promoted to Lead Hospitalist for 25 physicians in a metropolitan hospital.  As an emerging leader with lots of ambition, JP seemed interested in taking on more and more responsibility. His quality metrics often exceeded that of his peers and he was not shy about sharing that data with others throughout the system. His vision was to become a Chief Medical Officer someday and this position seemed a great first step to him.

As part of this promotion, he was assigned a coach to help him transition into the role. While JP wasn’t sure that was necessary, he was passionate about learning and increasing his expertise in evidence-based protocols, so he decided to approach this as an opportunity to learn.

At this point, what details are you noticing from the client’s language that support, or not, the initial hypothesis of Conventional stage? Any other clues that might have you leaning to either the Skill-centric or Self-determining stages within this tier?

As the coach met with JP, she listened for those discerning clues as he responded to her standard coaching questions focused on hearing his life story, creating trust and intimacy, and defining measures of success. As the GPS table indicates, she was listening for what mattered most to him (source of self-esteem – his expertise? his achieving of results? etc.); his perception of partnering with others (are others referenced? if so, how – as partners, tools, or?); his relationship to authority (deferential or collaborative?); and his readiness to accept constructive feedback (if valid or useful and from whom?).

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One Comment

  1. Margaret Cary

    March 21, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Joy and Petra – this is a masterpiece about being an excellent coach. You’ve done an amazing job at clarifying the what and the why of developmental coaching. I love the GPS idea.


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