10.23.09 Issue #398 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Dr. Nancy Haller
Dentist Coach
McKenzie Management
coach@ mckenziemgmt.com
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Clarity About Leadership Coaching

In an email message to schedule a coaching call, a client wrote the following:

“The other item I want to discuss briefly is where you think we should be going with the coaching. I have not clued into your method as of yet. I am interested in developing a plan and working toward some goals.”

To set the context, this doctor had initiated coaching with me many months earlier. At the point when he sent this, we had spent many hours talking on the phone. He had efficiently achieved several goals we set together, therefore I was surprised to read his words. However, I had to admit my responsibility - I had not specifically verbalized the process of coaching or clearly communicated how leadership coaching works. It is my hope that this reply to him also clarifies coaching for you. I invite your comments as well as your questions.

Thanks, Bob

I appreciate you telling me how you’d like to spend our time on Monday.
As you will read later in this email, in coaching the client needs to set the direction.

As for my coaching model…
It is my job to listen and clarify the direction a client wants and/or needs to go within their current situation. Often this requires having a dialogue about what’s working and what’s not. The end result of such conversation is to establish priorities and to set goals toward those targets. Together we review options and decide on specific action steps that the client agrees to pursue before the next session. We debrief those steps afterwards and determine whether to modify/expand the existing goal or establish a new one.

I believe that you and I have been following this template since the beginning. One example that comes to mind is your desire to generate more referrals. In our conversation, you agreed that Tom was quite persistent in derailing referrals intended for your schedule into his schedule. We identified the obstacles as well as the options for addressing and changing this reality.

During that discussion it was clear that your beliefs were a part of the problem. You felt uncomfortable asking for referrals; I phrased it as “giving your needs a voice” (which is a broad theme across your professional life as I’ve come to know you). We broke this down into a manageable plan. The goal was for you to meet with several referring doctors and request greater specificity when they called the office. In our next conversation we reviewed what you did and felt, then set the next goal: Select five more doctors for referrals goal; explain the office situation and request more diligence when they refer patients. 

Another aspect of my coaching model is to assist clients in gaining greater awareness. Frequently this means making shifts in perceptions and thinking. Because you find reading to be helpful, I have suggested several books which aligned with the issues we discussed. Of greatest importance is that the client – in this case you – drives the direction we take in coaching.

You said, “I would also like to discuss what your plans are for my coaching.” In truth, I do not have any plans per se. That would be different if you were engaged in coaching to improve performance deficiencies. For example, I once worked with a doctor who threw instruments. It was very clear what behavioral changes needed to be made. However, you have not disclosed any potential derailments. In fact if you did nothing different, you would still be a successful doctor. Perhaps not as fulfilled personally, and therein lies the overarching goal of your coaching – to gain greater work satisfaction. This is a common goal for many of my clients. After all, coaching generally is about striving for peak performance.

Here’s another way to look at coaching. Think of me as a travel agent. I don’t tell you where to go, although I often make suggestions based on what you describe to me. Then I guide you on the “journey” you wish to take. Along the way, I will point out various landmarks and make recommendations about the sites you should see. However, ultimately the direction we take is your decision. It would be beneficial for us to talk about this further so let’s dedicate time to do that on Monday.

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like more contact her at coach@mckenziemgmt.com

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