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Business, Engagement Edition The Longevity of Coaching

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By: Wyomie Robertson •  4 years ago •  

Coaching people is rewarding, for both the client and coach, there is no doubt about it. Life coaching is a resource for any area of life, as it focuses on self-awareness, mindset and creating strategies for personal and professional development. As life progresses and evolves so too does our focus, challenges and goals. Therefore, coaching has a place long-term in our ongoing and evolving journey.

Most people just want a chance to be their best selves. They’ve been holding back from lack of confidence, frustrated with themselves as they know they can do better. They are going through change and need support, but fear sees them procrastinate. I get a buzz from seeing clients find resolutions to their problem quickly and easily. We are all the same, we sometimes need someone to listen and ask us the right questions.

I had an early introduction to personal development when my mother took me to Alateen at 11 years old to help me through my father’s alcoholism and eventually his sobriety. This support program for young people taught me the fundamentals of self-awareness, mindset and wellbeing, and provided me with living and communication skills.

Although following this experience, I was now living in positive household with my parents and younger brother, I went off the rails for a chunk of my teenage years, having a close call to youth detention. This reality check quickly redirected my attention back to school and to my father’s boxing club, Kurbingui, where I spent my remaining teenage years in boxing training and sparring with the boys, traveling away to tournaments and assisting with cornering fights. This grew my self-esteem and confidence, and with continued personal development, reading countless books and completing positive therapy programs, my improved mindset and behaviours flourished. I am now able to take these life-learned skills into my coaching approach to benefit clients.

How I Coach

I coach clients both short and long-term, and my approach is that the length of coaching is dictated by them. Initially, most clients begin in the same way, with one-to- one fortnightly coaching sessions (of 1-2 hours) for a 3-month period. This gives them an opportunity to work on and through the priority areas of change and enables time for momentum to build, so they can sustain new habits and patterns. Following this, the client goes off and continues to implement and maintain these new strategies. From here, some clients have monthly or quarterly ‘maintenance’ sessions and some have sessions ad-hoc when and as needed. I still coach clients that began with me 7 years ago and I still see a continued longevity and evolution to our coaching.

8 positives of coaching for longevity:

1. It creates trust and rapport – the client can relax and tell you what you need to know to help them.

2. You will understand the bigger picture and complexities of their life, including influence, relationships, habits, concerns, mindset and motivators.

3. When things change, the client is able to speak with you as someone with objectivity and confidentiality who knows their history.

4. The client can be reminded of the tools they have used in the past successfully or create new tools.

5. Familiarity often makes it easier to communicate and share

6. You will get to know their personality and communication style, making communication easier and quicker for outcomes.

7. You will learn their capability and capacity for changes.

8. You will know when they are being realistic or over-ambitious.

Client Examples

I have been fortunate to see:

● self-employed clients create multimillion-dollar businesses

● professional athletes achieve their sporting goals

● unhappy and stressed professionals transition into areas of passion

● individuals learn the art of communication so that they can stand up for themselves in their personal and professional lives

● confused partnerships create happy relationships

● the disorganised become organised and in control with efficient systems

● overworked business owners living happy, balanced lives

How it changes over time

Initially it’s getting to know each other and building rapport, trust and relationship. Their desired outcomes are often instant because the action of engaging a coach often comes at the ‘I need help to sort this out now, because what I am doing is not working’ stage. So they get some quick wins, if they are prepared to make changes, that is.

Once a trusted relationship is built, clients will often raise other, more personal, areas that require attention or explain the reasoning or history behind some events and feelings. This is where deeper work can be done and sometimes at this stage, I refer clients to a therapist to ensure they get the right assistance to deal with and resolve important issues. Otherwise, as a coach you become a trust part of a (hopefully!) successful team of professionals, with the intention of assisting the client to get what they need and want in an empowered way.

5 negatives of coaching for longevity

1. Both client and coach can become too relaxed.

2. The client can lose their sense of accountability to the coach.

3. The coach can become too friendly and want to please the client rather than assist.

4. The coach can lose objectivity and become biased.

5. Your sessions can become too chatty and less action-based.

What can you do to coach for the long-term?

Keeping in contact is important. I send clients a text or email every few months to check in and see how they are tracking. There is no expectation to arrange another session, it is simply a reminder of the strategies and goals they had set when we met last.

But just like any job, at times over the years I have thought, do I really want to keep doing this? How hard is it meeting with successful people to tweak their systems or thinking for greater positive change? I guess I like change too and even though the subjects are often positive, inspiring and forward-moving, I too can feel tired and drained and need a break occasionally.

My top tips:

● Come fresh and detached to the session

● Let go of any bias and judgement – this is about them, not you

● Let go all expectations

● Continue to be objective and challenge when needed

● Don’t get slack with follow-up and accountability

● Be open-minded

● Ensure you only coach clients that you want to

● Listen, listen, listen

● Take holidays and breaks like you would with any other job

● Take care of your own needs and get coached yourself when needed

● Partake in continual professional development and debriefing

Wyomie Robertson BIO

Wyomie is a Life Coach who has been a finalist twice for ANZI Coach of the Year (2011, 2012). She works with some of the most successful people in their field, including business owners, entrepreneurs, pro athletes and industry experts both locally and internationally. She provides professional development to the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and is student trainer and mentor.

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