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You Have to Go Slow to Go Fast

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By being present we allow for whatever is meant to emerge. We can sense the clients’ energy better in this state and this allows us to make better decisions about the next coaching move–where to go with what they offered us.

Here’s an example. Just because a client states that she wants to come away from the session with a strategy to confront her leader about not getting that promotion may not mean that is what she will still want to get to as her session outcome once she starts to unpack her thinking – which has not even happened yet! Maybe she will see that it’s about managing her feelings of rejection and inadequacy while simultaneously learning to market her results better within the organization. If we rush past their declaration of the outcome initially presented and don’t take the time to luxuriously explore what achievement of this outcome will mean for them, how motivated and committed they feel, how getting this promotion is fundamental to their development, what it will allow for, and how it will feel, and the like, then we have not helped them fully explore.

It is not about our ability to make the client-declared outcome manifest in one session but rather our ability to explore that topic fully with an eye towards it so that what is meant to emerge does. Whether 10% or 99% of the clients’ session outcome is achieved, moving towards it is the aim, not how long time it takes to set the agreement or where the path may lead. In many cases, if we slow down to deeply explore the value the outcome imparts and their vision of their ideal self, they may actually find something deeper. How many times have you sought a goal only to find out there was something else tucked right below the surface to think through first?

Masterful coaches are not attached to the client’s self-declared goal post. They know that there is no way to predict where the session will go and a timeline cannot be attached to a client’s evolution. A masterful coach also does not assume that what the client says they want is what they ultimately need. It’s a starting point for the journey, which is always a great thing.

Coaching is like life. Things happen on the universe’s timetable, not ours. It may be slow, fast or somewhere in-between. The dilemma for coaches is that we have to detach from what the solution will look like and how long it will take. If we don’t, we are likely to miss it.

Many coaches forgetting that the “achievement” of any outcome is not our work. Our work is to have the client set a destination for the session and to use that as a direction to start the conversation. Achieving or not achieving the client’s exact outcome is something we cannot control. Nor should we!

I can hear the pushback already. “It is our job to facilitate insight, is it not?” Yes! But where is the timeline posted? Did I miss it? Nowhere in the plethora of human potential literature does it say it is fruitful or reasonable to have an expectation around the “how long” or “when” this happens. It’s always been about having an aim, making progress one step at a time without attachment to the result. Yet, when we coach we think we need to achieve the client’s outcome in an arbitrary 60-minute session. Can you see the insanity in this?

Rushing the client to solution or action signifies that you are not present and as a result, not as effective as you could be. Plain and simple. Slow down! Let things move at their own pace.

Here’s what I encourage you to think about as you practice getting comfortable with the pressure and uncertainty of achieving an outcome in a structured session.

No matter how small your outcome may be for a session, rushing towards it never correlates with attaining it. Conscious intuitive, coaching does!

Go slow to go fast. You cannot rush a miracle. Going deep is the BEST insurance that your client will gain value. So what if the session outcome was not (fully) attained! Was something valuable learned?! The point of setting an outcome for a conversation is for steerage, not velocity.

Be as present as possible. You cannot be present if you are focused on achieving. Slow down, breathe and get present as many times as you need to in the call. It’s normal to have performance anxiety. Give yourself permission to take deep breaths each time your nerves kick in.

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