One of the key competencies in our practice is humility. To coach an organization, a team, or a person – you need to be available to give support, you need to serve, just as long as you are the right person, at the right place, at the right time.
We believe that our coaching and facilitation practices truly enable transformation. We know how to awaken new energies, bring onto the table what has been hidden, help people (individuals, teams, communities) to much better take care of themselves, to care to their underlying needs, to build aliveness, responsibility and awareness.
And we need to always stay aware that we are not the only ones who know how to do this – to be legitimate it is important that our customers choose us – have a choice between several coaches, several companies – that we and they don’t feel that we are their only possible partner. This is often a hard path to walk down – it’s not easy to make sure that a coaching prospect has met other coaches before choosing you – and it’s key in our minds to invite them to consult several of your peers first. Of course we prefer if they chose among the associates of our company, among our partners. But we need to make sure that the people we recommend represent real alternatives for them (because maybe they need to work with someone else than us). To do this we need be financially secure enough (to not depend on any given contract or opportunity), we need to be emotionally stable enough to overcome the rainbow of emotions that come from not being chosen, we need to develop enough self confidence to accept that we weren’t the right person here and now – and that this doesn’t have anything to do with our competence !
Once we’ve started a contract with a customer – we develop a relationship of trust – there is no way a customer will allow us to do what we propose to do with them without a great level of trust. We often propose them to walk down paths they have never experienced before. The impact on their organization is often profound. In addition our services are expensive. And the return on investment for our work is very difficult to pinpoint (how do you measure financially the energy, mobilization, enthusiasm, interaction, creativity, focus we help create?) and can only be measured later on (while so many other things are happening at the same time). So trust is paramount.
And trust goes both ways. We both need to be able to confront one another, whenever each other’s behaviors are undermining this trust – and be able to stop the contract if the trust disappears !
I remember a film in which a married couple had a ritual – every year they had a solemn moment in which they each decided whether or not to renew their vows of marriage – and then renewed the ceremony – we need to be truly able to withdraw from a contract at any time – either because we feel that we aren’t bringing the type of support the customer needs – or because the customer no longer needs our help. After all, our purpose is always to render our customer fully autonomous – to be a self teaching person, team, organization – the faster the customer no longer needs us the better! A mature coach and facilitator is one who can stop the coaching contract at any time – because that’s what serves best the customer. We believe that this is one of the hardest skills to learn in our trade – and we seek to better learn it every day.