One of our coaches at the Business Coach Academy recently brought up an interesting issue. She felt that in her coaching session she was simply “following her client’s agenda”, rather than taking control of the session. This was a good observation, and something many coaches struggle with. So today I am going to answer the question, “Should you follow your client’s agenda?”.

Client's agenda

Whilst you need to make sure you don’t take your agenda into the meeting, you are not there to ‘follow’ your client’s agenda. You are there to ‘address’ their agenda and make sure you cover it in the coaching session. If you ‘follow’ someone’s agenda, you will not be ‘being the coach’ and it will not position you as the expert.

Whatever their agenda is, it is important to first establish the desired outcomes. Then get curious… explore, question, disrupt their thinking and then look at the options.

Next agree on the actions.

Establish the desired outcomes

Whilst the desired outcomes will be their agenda – the process to achieve the outcomes will be steered by the coach. They will be agreed actions for the client and their team to do when you have guided them through your great questioning skills. We have a whole other article detailing exactly how you should do the coaching if you would like to learn more.

Be mindful not to roll your own sleeves up too often. We are not there to do their work and be their ‘employee’. I made that mistake when I first started coaching and it was extremely challenging to change the relationship later on.

It is really important that coaching is making their life easier. I always make sure I address the Time/Self-mastery in the positioning, alignment and coaching sessions. It is very important that they get more efficient and organised.

I share with them that to be more successful and more efficient, it’s about getting really good at letting go of things not necessarily starting new things.

Agree on the actions

I ALWAYS ask them to complete a two week time log. No matter what resistance I get- and I do get resistance often- I insist on them completing a timesheet every half hour for two weeks. I ask them to be mindful to complete it throughout the day. I encourage them to think about how long they expect something to take and how long it actually does take. 

They always get insight from doing this – even the most stubborn of business owners! It’s great for you to get a good understanding of their world too. It does not take long to complete and massively raises their awareness of their efficiency and how aligned – or typically not aligned- their actions are to their desired outcomes.

Always make sure that you position yourself as the coach. You are there to guide your client, not the other way around. The more confident you become in your coaching abilities, the easier it will be to do this.

Pam Featherstone

Pam is a world-renowned, multi-award-winning, business coach, entrepreneur, global trainer, speaker and author. She has over 36 years of experience in entrepreneurship, management, and business planning.

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