Once upon a time there lived 3 Coaches: Too Nice Coach, Too Direct Coach and Balanced Coach…
There lived Goldilocks, a professional in a newly appointed leadership role at Forest Industries. An international company with expanding reach and rapid business growth. She was wise beyond her years and had realised the benefits of coaching and how it could have a positive impact both professionally and personally.
Her struggle was in finding the right coach. And here our tale begins and like most fictional stories and fairy tales there are elements of artistic license along with fact and learnings to be had……
1) Welcome: Too Nice Coach
One sunny morning Too Direct Coach and Balanced Coach went off for their morning walk together in the woods. Too Nice Coach was undertaking one of her coaching sessions with his client-Goldilocks.
Goldilocks had been searching for a coach high and low and had been prone to sizing up coaches to find the right fit.
It wasn’t their first session but Too Nice Coach was so nice and perhaps a little too relaxed that establishing the foundations hadn’t been undertaken and they hadn’t established a full coaching agreement. Too Nice Coach felt they had a co-creative relationship with trust, intimacy and that there was a coaching presence.
Asking challenging questions, exploring assumptions and limiting beliefs could be tricky for Too Nice Coach but active listening and communicating effectively were the top coach skills she could offer. Too Nice Coach found positively challenging or ‘holding the mirror up’ quite difficult.
And so, the session began. Goldilocks sat with her vat of too sugary coffee, in her oversized arm chair, on a Skype session via her laptop with Too Nice Coach and tried to relax and feel comfortable as the session unravelled.
Too Nice Coach felt the session went well and felt sure the coaching would continue with Goldilocks. Little more was said between the two of them. Payment hadn’t been made but rather an assumption that this would happen after the call at some point. No further sessions were agreed, no designed actions were ascertained and no goals set.
Goldilocks felt that the session was missing something. She had done a lot of talking but didn’t feel she had progressed from her concerns. She didn’t have clear direction; Too Nice Coach didn’t seem very comfortable holding the session and although there was a relationship she wasn’t sure if she would call it co-creative?
Hmmmm thought Goldilocks. Too Nice Coach was really lovely but she didn’t need to be agreed with she needed progression and knew that that would need to be managed – even if doing so together.
Not to worry she thought. This one she would put down to experience. She had booked a session tomorrow with Too Direct Coach. She relaxed back into her oversized and not quite right armchair, with her vat of too sweet coffee and thought on about finding the perfect coach.
2) Next introducing: Too Direct Coach
The next day was equally as sunny as the first and Too Direct Coach had insisted that Too Nice Coach and Balanced Coach should take a walk. Too Direct Coach was prepared and had much to talk about with her new Coachee Goldilocks.
You see Too Direct Coach liked everything just so. There was no deviation of thought or process. No being in the moment and no flexibility.
Confidence and a sense of having ‘all the answers’ was in abundance with Too Direct Coach. Being sympathetic to the coachee was something Too Direct Coach could struggle with and shifting perspectives to the client and experimenting with possibilities for action was another area of difficulty.
So, the coaching session commenced. Goldilocks sat with her far too hot coffee, in her middle sized, not so comfortable armchair she had chosen and progressed again on Skype with a coach she had hoped would be a better fit. The time whizzed past for Too Direct Coach, and yet it was painful for Goldilocks. Once it ended Goldilocks felt quite flustered and couldn’t respond. Payment was made as an agreement had been signed, but no further sessions were established.
Too Direct Coach felt the session went well and felt sure coaching would continue with Goldilocks. Questions had been asked, opinions had been offered and some set goals established by Too Direct Coach that had been rigidly set.
Goldilocks felt quite overwhelmed, and actually felt a bit wounded. Too Direct Coach had offered opinions and goals based on experiences that weren’t that of Goldilocks. The path wasn’t her own, and the process was fixed and not shared. There seemed a lack of understanding and negative comments toward Goldilocks.
Hmmmmm thought Goldilocks. That didn’t go as I expected? I didn’t feel like I was listened to at all and the questions seemed to not match what I had said. They seemed quite blunt and stuck in a cause that didn’t belong to me. Still she thought I have my 3rd session with my next coach booked for tomorrow with Balanced Coach.
Not to worry. This would be another one she’d put down to experience. And so, Goldilocks relaxed back into a middle sized, not so comfortable armchair she’d chosen. She once again had her coffee, that seemed to be a mixture of hot and cold and thought on about finding the perfect coach.
3) And Finally: Balanced coach
The third day was a sunny day, not too hot, not too cold. Just right. Too Nice Coach had been hurried along by Too Direct Coach for yet another walk.
Balanced Coach had been on both sides of the fence. Balanced Coach understood how it felt to be the one coaching but also how it felt being the coachee. Balanced Coach was conscious to put herself in the other persons shoes. Balanced Coach was well…balanced.
Balanced Coach referred frequently to the ICF webpage on a regular basis to ensure the following of current practices were adhered to, and keeps up-to-date with research and relevant topical offerings within the field.
But Balanced Coach understood empathy was a part of coaching and always remembered that there was a human aspect to coaching too. To go with your gut and to be flexible and open were important qualities of a good coach.
And so, the session began. Goldilocks sat with her coffee that was just right, a well-balanced chair for comfort and concentration and of course her trusted laptop so she could Skype with Balanced coach.
The time passed effectively and both parties felt they had gained positively from the coaching. Balanced Coach had made plans for future sessions with Goldilocks.
Balanced Coach knew that the core areas of the coaching conversation had been discussed and addressed, based on Goldilocks assessment of her own concerns. Balanced Coach had helped Goldilocks to explore and brainstorm areas for action to help Goldilocks grasp new learnings.
Having actively listened and responded with powerful and sometimes challenging questions to explore both desires and limitations, Balanced Coach then helped to create awareness of Goldilocks assessment of her concerns and helped her to discover new thoughts and beliefs to strengthen her ability to take action.
Balanced Coach was keen to explore and celebrate Goldilocks successes and capabilities for growth.
Hmmmm thought Goldilocks. This coach is just the right fit for me. Now rejoicing in her coaching success story, she commenced planning actionable steps and attainable goals to be met whilst exploring resources for learning. This had been time well spent.
Goldilocks sat back with her coffee that was just right, her perfectly balanced chair chosen for comfort and concentration and mapped out her progression she would achieve before her next coaching session with Balanced Coach.
4) The End: To Conclude
You see Goldilocks had tried 3 coaches. They each had qualities but it was only the third coach that offered her what it was that she sought-balance.
Goldilocks knew she would always recommend Balanced Coach to anyone wanting to uptake coaching to enhance and grow personally and professionally. But yet to encourage any participants to research first and to revert to look at the ICF webpage on core coaching competencies.
The success of Goldilocks story is that she found the perfect home next to 3 very familiar bears in an area of the forest she had most wanted to live in. She learnt to communicate effectively with her neighbours, friends and loved ones and planned to build contented relationships with understanding. Especially since it was in her nature to speak first and do rather than ask and listen actively.
She was progressing nicely with her newly appointed leadership role at Forest Industries and had clear goals of progression and accountability.
She knew that she would likely have bumps along the way. She knew that coaching was a personal journey and she would have to work on giving effective feedback and relate to her colleagues on all levels and with varying backgrounds. But it was a journey she was prepared to invest in. Because it was her journey. She knew not only would she gain from her new learnings and insights, that others too would share in the successes from her impact as an authentic and trusted leader.
You see the essence of this unique and rather embellished account of Goldilocks and The 3 Coaches story is the factual attributes about what makes the perfect coach? No one’s story is complete and there is no one size fits all approach.
There is no perfection but there is balance. And as with Balanced Coach in our story- a balanced coach can help you work on a framework of core concepts each with equal importance to achieve your goals and successes. Once you find the right fit, prepare to invest as it’s your story to create and your journey to fulfil.
Are you Goldilocks? Are you one of the 3 coaches? What’s your experience within coaching? Need to find your why? Do you feel that coaching could be a benefit to both you and your business success?
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