In conversation with colleagues, we were discussing workload for the coming week and I mentioned that I was scheduled to do some individual coaching for one of my company clients. It was a standalone session with a short-term specific outcome.
What followed was a debate about the motivation of the sponsor which, I might add bore no relevance to my work with this manager or what they wanted from the Leadership Coaching.
What fascinated me were the stark differences between each person’s take on the situation. One person thought the sponsor was motivated by equality and being seen to treat people fairly; another thought they were financially motivated and the third colleague thought it was a political manoeuvre; that the sponsor was covering their own back.
So, here we have three people discussing one scenario in which there were three entirely different perspectives.
So what does that tell us?
Firstly, that the meaning of the communication is in the response that you get – regardless of that which was intended
Secondly, you need to clarify people’s understanding of the conversation that has taken place. The message you think you’re giving is probably not what the recipient has heard
Thirdly, don’t make assumptions – you’ve no doubt heard the expression ‘to assume is to make an ass of you and me’. Your take on the situation is just that and so don’t give it too much weight
A lot of client work revolves around the significance they attach to the circumstances they find themselves in at work – some of which are intentional and some not. The key to improving the situation is to experience it differently; and having the skill to elicit the intention behind the action is a big part of that.
One of the benefits of Individual Coaching is the objective challenge brought by the Coach; not least because they are not immersed in your work environment, as you are and they can take a non-judgemental approach.