Got a phone call today from an unknown number.
Me: ‘What other strengths may you have?’
Client: ‘Oh, yes.. I’m quiet.’
*Er.. Ok… How is that a strength?!* ‘What does that mean..?’
‘Well, I don’t speak much. I’m happy to be quiet and just listen. When I’m working I don’t like to talk about anything other than the flying.’
‘How is this a strength to the company?’
‘So you can concentrate on doing a good job. I’m different from other pilots who love talking and gossiping. If you do that all the time you get distracted! It’s a safety issue! I’ve heard others complain that I’m boring, that I don’t say a word at work, unlike some others who usually don’t like the silence!’
Next time when you go on an interview, talk about the why! Don’t just say what you’ve got or what you’ve done, but why this is important to the future manager / company / team! Connect the dots for them! Do the hard work for them! Don’t give an amazing performance telling your amazing career story and then leave the interviewer hanging there with ‘so..?’! What good does it do if they can’t connect to what matters to them?!
Earlier this year I wanted to order some flowers for Mother’s Day. I contacted the best person I know for arranging flowers.
‘I can’t do it because I’m now abroad studying interior design!’
I was pleasantly surprised, ‘how come?!’
‘It’s because of you!’
‘How’s that?!’ I was baffled.
‘Yes it’s the coaching we did!’
I remember she used to work as an analyst and did flower arrangements as a side gig. She was a creative who found herself in the wrong place. She had chosen a ‘good’ career according to definitions held by society. I gave her a taster session of career coaching. I asked her what she’s afraid of about making a change, what would be the minimum she would have to live on, what could be the worst that could happen. She didn’t seem to want to make any changes in her life even though she didn’t seem happy.
We hadn’t been in touch since. I didn’t think the coaching would lead to any change because coaching is not the same as consulting / mentoring / training, which are mainly knowledge transfer. Coaching is a process in which change and growth happens over a period of time.
‘You know the testimonial you asked for a while back? Sorry I haven’t done it yet. Can I do it now?’
‘Yes of course!’
I’m glad to know she took charge of her life and pursued her dreams! This is why I love my job! Changing lives!
#CreateHappiness #OwnYourLife #CoachingIsGold #HeightenedAwareness #ShiftYourMind #WhatIsCoaching #DemystifyCoaching
Last week I met up with an old friend from school. She asked me a question that got me thinking!
‘What do you do now for living?’
‘I am a coach. I help people gain confidence and find ideas to deal with their challenges at work.’
‘How does it work?’
‘They usually come to me because they heard about me from a friend or a colleague. It maybe because they want to feel more comfortable dealing with their boss. Maybe they want to feel more at ease when they present to the big shots at work. Maybe they want to figure out how to handle a difficult employee. Maybe they want to work out how best to get buy-in. Maybe they feel they can be more effective in their job but don’t know where to start..’
‘How long is the program?’
‘Depends. Each individual is different. Usually any lasting change requires at least 3 months. If they are busy, they may go for a session once a month, and use a package over a year. If they have a challenge they urgently want to manage like getting a job, they may use a package in a month. I had a client who didn’t have a job so she finished a package in a month! But another client is a busy executive so he only shows up every 2-3 months.’
‘Does it mean that coaching is for people who are not good at their job?’
That’s an interesting question! I never thought about it that way! It’s also interesting that someone from outside the industry got that impression.
‘Actually my clients are usually very talented, committed to self improvement and eager to learn. They are usually above average performers.’ Admittedly this is also my preferred demographics..
Her question got me thinking.. What kind of people usually go for coaching?
I realised, ‘they also have a sense of awareness that they deserve and can have a better state – that they could be happier, or more confident, or more effective.’
‘Coaching is also driven by the individual. They have to want the change. They’re the one who initiates it. And at least for my clients, they often pay out of their own pocket. No one is pushing them to do anything different in their life. So they have to be self-driven and motivated enough.’
Thinking about it reminds me of an article I read about coaching – that it should be given to the core 60% performers!
It’s been almost 2 months since I heard from my client. At the back of my mind I thought, ‘maybe she’s not finding value in our sessions.. Maybe I’m not doing such a good job..’ I was secretly worried.
I wanted to know the truth, so I texted her to catch up two weeks ago, but she never replied. I mustered my courage yesterday again. She replied!
She asked, ‘how many hours have we got left in a package?’ I cringed, my imagination ran wild, ‘oh no! She wants to cancel! She wants a refund! She wants to know how many painful hours she still has to stay with me for!’ I wanted to talk to her to find out what she really has in mind.
I took on a new client at the beginning of this year. She’s a young professional who works one of the most famous companies in the world. She’s got high IQ & EQ, is a learner, eager to improve herself, and hardworking. The problem is that she is critical of herself and therefore doesn’t think she’s any good.
I asked, ‘can you talk?’
‘How are you doing?’
‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve been so busy doing lots of interviews. It’s also been very busy with my job!’
Oh no! She doesn’t need me anymore! She’s dealing with her challenges on her own!
‘Oh that sounds great!’ I tried to stay poised.
‘Yeah! And I have got news for you!’ I’m going to get a promotion as a manager!’
‘Really!? That sounds amazing!’
‘Yeah, I’ve been busy doing lots of interviews inside my company and outside.’
‘That’s really good to know! For a coach, the best thing is to know that a client stopped needing the coach, because that means you are capable of handling all challenges and you have grown. So I’m so happy to know that you are facing the interviews by yourself, feeling confident enough to deal with them!’
‘Yes, the 2 or 3 sessions I took really helped me gain clarity and awareness of myself.’
‘That’s great! Yes, the coaching is driven by you so if you don’t have any particular challenges you don’t know how to overcome by yourself then there is really no need to keep it up. How happy are you with your life now, from 1 to 10? If 10 is “I’m perfectly happy”?’
‘I would say 9.’
‘That’s great! I’m also curious – in your intake form, you said you would like to better understand your career path and what would be a good direction for you, whereas you have been applying for more jobs in your area. So how about that?’
‘I decided that I should give it a try before deciding that this is not the right path for me.’
‘Oh that’s great insight! Well done on taking this proactive step!’
Now it makes sense why she hasn’t been in touch! From this episode I learnt that I should also be more confident about my ability! If I don’t hear from the client, it is probably because they don’t need coaching anymore and I should be glad!
This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
Unknown author of condensed version of Charles Osgood’s –
A Poem About Responsibility.
I’m reading Scaling Up, the chapter about People, and this story came up.
What’s your experience? How did you deal with it? Do share!
‘I feel bad when I speak mandarin with my customers. It’s not good enough.’
‘First off, How do you decide that your mandarin not good?’
‘I can’t do the whole call in mandarin. I’m speaking 80% mandarin and 20% English.’
‘What happens in the call? How much do your clients understand?’
‘So what’s the problem?’
‘I wanna speak better mandarin. I wanna do my calls in mandarin 100%.’
(Well now that we know what she wants, we have a target, it’s easier!)
‘What would it give you if you did the calls in mandarin 100%?’
‘I’d be more professional.’
‘So how can you prepare for the words you don’t know how to say in mandarin?’
‘I can look them up before.’
‘How would you know which words you don’t know?’
‘How about if you try what you learnt recently? Film yourself giving the presentation in mandarin, during which you have to use words that you may not know. And when you have to speak in English, take note of those words?’
‘True. That’d help!’
She’s noticeably happier.
‘What have we just done? What’s the process we just went through?’
‘Break down the paradigms. Evaluate their objectivity. Analyse their validity. Then identify what we want. Look for actions to get what we want. This helps us focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t do, so naturally we would be happier coz we are faced with the question of possibilities, not limitations!!’
Wow. Client came up with the profound realisation! #SelfCoaching!
Change the limiting paradigms to new paradigms.
You choose to be confident!