Coaching Essentials: The Client’s Role

(This blog post is Part I in the Coaching series focusing on Coaching Essentials. For other posts in this series, go here: Part II – The Components of Powerful Questions, Part III – The Use of Accountability Tools, or Part IV – The Coach’s Use of Body Language)

Executive coaches don’t have all the answers. In fact, “knowing the answers” isn’t their job.

Clients Role

To understand executive coaching, it’s important to first understand “The Client’s Role.” Here are three responsibilities of any executive coaching client:

1) The Client is the Expert

The client knows all the ins and outs of the situation. The coach does not. That’s why I say the client is the expert.

Good executive coaches realize they aren’t consultants brought in to tell others how to do things. Rather, they ask powerful questions that draw the challenges and expertise out of the client.

2) The Client Sets the Agenda (with Alignment to the Corporate Agenda)

My clients set the agenda. I don’t force them to do anything. Executive coaching clients are often very motivated and would like to tackle many challenges (especially if they are the one’s hiring me, not the corporation).

In cases where the client is a manager or director in a corporation, usually the corporation hires the coach. In this context, the corporation sets the overarching agenda/measurables/growth goals, but the client/manager receiving the coaching sets the agenda in our coaching sessions in terms of what topics are covered that enable the client to accomplish his/her company’s goals. The key here is alignment.

3) The Client’s Responsible for Implementation

The best executive coaching clients are people who like results, like getting the job done. The client identifies challenges, creates an action plan, and resolves to implement the plan. Coaches don’t implement their clients’ action plans, the client does. This empowers the executive and gives them a leadership incubator with ongoing coaching for evaluation/feedback.

So, you might be asking…”What’s the Coach’s role?”

Great question. It will be covered in a future post.

What aspects of the client’s role are most important to you? How would understanding the client’s role improve your coaching?