“Listen In”: Shift in Energy When You Start Being Their Coach

Let’s listen in to my coaching conversation with a senior executive at a large utility company early in my coaching career. I was developing my thinking about how when leaders transition to become coaching leaders it would impact their relationships with their direct reports.

Listen in

Coach Pete – “So it sounds like you know Mary is capable of more yet she doesn’t seem open to your suggestions. Is that correct?

Client – “Yeah, she seems a bit defensive whenever we try to discuss some of her performance gaps.”

Coach Pete – “Have you ever asked her point-blank if you could “coach her? ”

Client – “I have been trying to work with her with a coaching style but I’ve never actually asked her if I could coach her.”

Coach Pete – “Would you be willing to make that explicit request of her? I would be interested to see what happens when you do that.”

Client – “Okay I’ll ask her in our one-on-one meeting next week.”

(at our next coaching session)

Coach Pete – “Did you ask Mary if you could coach her?”

Client – “I did.”

Coach Pete – “What happened?” 

Client – “It was almost like the whole energy in the room shifted.  It was like all of the sudden she (her direct report), was listening to me from a whole different place.  It was like suddenly she became more open to what I had to say and receptive to new ways of approaching things.”

That lesson hit me right between the eyes and reinforced what I had instinctually believed.  When she was able to explicitly call out a different relationship with her direct report it created different energy, different openness and different results.  That is what is available with coaching.

  • Posted by Coach Pete
  • Monday, September 20th, 2010
  • Comments Off on “Listen In”: Shift in Energy When You Start Being Their Coach