We need to show up as leaders in our coaching. We are hired to lead ~ the energy, the group, the partnership.
I don't mean we need to show up as the boss with an inflexible agenda. I mean, someone has to be actively listening. Someone has to be forwarding the session, the group, or the agenda. Someone has to reel the client(s) back in when things start to spin out from their intention.
The spin out eventually happens in some form or another and it's one of the reasons coaches fear starting a group. Things are going in a direction that is overwhelming for the group ~ maybe one person is taking up more than their share of time, or getting so emotional that they are becoming the star of their own coaching reality show rather than a member of a co-created group with mutually agreed upon boundaries.
The "spin-out" will happen... and the difference between a coach who can walk their talk and ask for high fees (PRO!) and a coach who is too afraid to stand up for their client is the ability to handle these coaching situations fearlessly.
Click the image above to share on FB/Twitter/Pinterest
Here's some tips on showing up as a leader when your group or 1:1 client starts to spin out:
1) Be proactive and set the expectation from the beginning. This is something we talk a lot about in Blossoming Business~ managing group expectations up front instead of retroactively. Sometimes we don't want to "be bossy" and set guidelines for a group or 1:1 coaching relationship. Totally get it ~ AND it's important to remember people are paying you for your coaching knowledge ~ which includes creating the coaching container.
Make sure that the guidelines are clear as to how much time each person gets on the call, how you will handle emotional stuff that comes up, and make it authentic and true to you ~ or, let the group co-create it!
2) Get buy-in. We're all so in the trenches of life coaching that sometimes we forget why we're doing what we're doing. For someone new to being coached, it's important to help them understand why you are interrupting, managing, or setting guidelines. Here's how I like to frame it:
"A coaching relationship is not like your relationship with friends or family. You've hired me to help you overcome [x, y, z] ~ and to make those changes, we have to change some ways of doing things. For example, with your friends, you might tell and retail all the details of a story that's important to you. In coaching, I might interrupt you with love and ask you to tell me what's important about the story, rather than focusing on the SOS or "Same Old Story". May I have your permission to do that?"
"If you and the client continue to dance within the box of what society teaches us, then the client will continue to live in that very same box."
3) Let go of being liked. Listen, we learn certain social rules that teach us how to be polite, well-received, and good friends. Listen, nod, let people finish, don't interrupt. These things help us be liked, and are probably nice things to uphold in your personal life.
In your professional life, your goal as a coach is to help people step out of those social rules so they can live a life that's truly examined. If you and the client continue to dance within the box of what society teaches us, then the client will continue to live in that very same box. So let go of being liked, let go of being afraid of hurting their feelings, and coach fearlessly. The most uncomfortable moments in a coaching session are often the most profound.
4) Have an out prepared. In a group, sometimes really heightened emotions can take over ~ especially when someone is witnessed for the first time by a group of unconditionally caring people. This can cause a lot of panic in the group facilitator/coach because it can feel like a moment where a big breakthrough should happen, and your coaching spidey sense gets all tingly.
But the breakthrough already happened. If there are tears and high emotions, then all that stuff is coming to the surface to be released. Here's what you can do: First, acknowledge what they've said. Next, allow it. One person's emotional release can set the tone that it's an OK, safe place to feel all the things we've been holding back! Finally, have an out prepared. Ask, "So and so, how can this group support you right now?" Once they've told you how y'all can support him/her, then you can give them an out ~ "I love that you could bring this emotion to our safe space and give others permission to feel, too ~ how about you take a moment to get some water and take care of you, and we'll follow up with you in the FB group/at the end of the call/via email. Now, can anyone here in the group relate to what so-and-so is going through right now and share some words of compassion?"
5) Make the "SOS" part of the work together. Tell the group up front that a lot of the work you'll be doing together is to reframe and rewrite that "Same Old Sh!t", and that you'd like to help him/her/group catch when those SOSs are popping up! In that way, you help the client/group enact his/her highest inner coach. It helps the group support one another instead of putting it all in your hands.
In group coaching, you can make "SOS!" a catch phrase that people use with one another lovingly when they hear "Same Old Stories" coming up. This is especially fun on the phone and opens up an awesome coaching opportunity in that moment.
The important thing is to make a choice, and make it with confidence.
If you're like me and most other life coaches, you came to life coaching from a place of passion. You came to it because you hada desire to be a helper, to be both fed by your work and to feed others. (And because you are probably, somewhere inside, psychologically unemployable - let's talk about that another time).
In the early stages of establishing your practice, you might long for these things called "messaging" and "clarity". And in fact, you might hear from the "online business" world that you *must* have a "clear message" in order to succeed. Under that "clear message" umbrella come things like a niche, copy that resonates, services people want, a website that works for you... Eek. It's a lot of pressure that message has to carry.
First of all, what's a "message"?
And secondly, how do you even know if it's "clear"?
According to dictionary.com, a message can range from a response on a message board, to the divnely inspired words of a prophet. The common theme is communication. A message allows you to bridge the gap between what you know about life coaching, and what the listener doesn't know about life coaching. More specifically:
Your "message" bridges that gap between what you know is possible and what the listener doesn't know is possible. It's communication.
If you work with high-vibe spiritual woo woo heads like me who are ashamed that they keep getting dragged down in to the muck of every day life... your MESSAGE to them might be as simple as:
You can rise above the daily dramas at work and home and eminate your personal power and peace everywhere you go... while accepting yourself totally for the times you can't.
According to dictionary.com, clarity means "freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity". So how do you know if your message is "clear enough"?
(I might argue that this goal is a business-as-spiritual-development downer... but since most people want it, let's go with it for now).
Your message has "clarity" when other people can stand up and say "YES, that's ME and what I WANT!"
(Click the image above to share on FB/Twitter/Pinterest)
A "clear" message might include a few parts to it to help it be free from ambiguity.
1) An example of the day-to-day impact coaching could have on the person. How would morning change? Evening? Lunchtimes at the desk?
2) An example of how coaching can impact not only them, but those around them. Will their marriage be better? Kids? Family of origin will stop driving them crazy? Co-workers? World at large?
3) Their major point of shame, pain, guilt, or nagging. What's the major thing that they'd want to change or improve? Yelling? Snapping? Being invisible?
Most importantly, permission granted NOT to have a "clear message" yet.
Permission granted to allow your unique coaching brilliance to unfold as you follow inspired breadcrumbs and act from creativity and joy in your work. Permission granted for your clear message to discover you... and for it to evolve as you and your business do.
Coaches often tell me they don't design and launch a group program because they get overwhelmed and paralyzed by how to actually put all their great ideas into a program.
Lots of coaches are really great "meta" thinkers - I call us "Creative Type As". We love big vision thinking and we love to categorize and organize... but when the rubber meets the road, it's hard to actually sit down and outline the content of a group coaching program.
I use these 5C's as the framework to create a new program, every time I create one for myself or for someone else through my Package Your Brilliance service. They should help you and your squirrel brain stay on track to creating a transformative program that serves!
(Click the image above to share this post on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest)
1) Clarity: The first step to running a massively transformative (and irresistible) group coaching program is getting so incredibly specific and clear on what the people want. I can't say it enough: You cannot sell people "the life of their dreams". Most people are so far divorced from their dreams they don't even know what they are anymore. Be a coach, take their hand, and do your research - get so, so specific about what their dream day looks like from the minute that Jeeves brings them coffee in the morning until their head hits their satin lavender scented pillow. Do. Your. Research.
2) Content: Once you know exactly how people are suffering and what they want, the content creates itself! You now know that they want more time during the week with their kids, and that right now they're working 60-80 hours a week while caring for their aging parents. We might want to throw a Values Assessment at them, but this looks more like an AIM SMART plan solution! Content is simply the steps it takes to get from pain island to happyville, and any materials you need to support those steps.
3) Container: Once you know what kind of steps it's going to take to help your clients create transformation in your area of specialty, you can create the container. That's simply: How long? How will you meet? I recommend making it short enough to keep people's attention... but long enough to really be able to break down the steps into manageable pieces.
4) Community: How will you foster the most unique aspect of group coaching: Your community? Do you want them to have a FB group of their own? Pair up into pairs and trios to give additional support? How will you make them feel however it is you want them to feel in the world of your business? Get clear on how you want people to feel: Supported? Challenged? Nurtured? Terrified? And infuse that into your language and community aspects of your program through guidelines and emails.
5) Coaching: The most important element of your program, and the last one! Once you finally get your program going, you're going to want to make sure you've thought ahead about all the things that might disrupt the energy of the group, and have a plan for handling it. You're also going to want to decide if you coach via 2-3 longer "hot seat" sessions, or if everyone in the group gets a shorter and shallower time each call. You decide - you're the coach - but be sure to set and keep the boundary.
Working through the 5 "C"s will help you stay focused on creating a transformative group coaching program that serves (and sells!)
JJ Carolan, the Group Coaching Gal, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Certified Professional Life Coach. Lots of letters to say.. I understand people.