One of things I love about being a coach is the variety of people and situations that come to my office or call on the phone. In no particular order here are some of the presenting challenges brought to coaching sessions. You will note—I fired no one.

  1. A client comes to executive coaching wanting to get to the next level and make more money, all while working on an innovative and complex project. Suddenly, there is a radical regime change at the top. Mr. Client is on the right side of the politics and being offered numerous opportunities. We dissect what happened, look at the current and former players, and analyze the pros and cons of each new position from a professional and personal perspective. The Result: The client is ready with questions to ask at work, and home, and prepared for what may happen while being confident things will work in his favor.
  2. A Managing Director is meeting with his boss to go over a preliminary version of his yearly performance appraisal. He approaches this knowing full well the supervisor minimizes contribution and the organization is crying “poverty.” In session we talk about realistic and unrealistic expectations with regard to acknowledgement and remuneration. We create a list of contributions supported by dollar values and outcomes. The client develops a methodology to gather competitive salary data. He designs questions to encourage useful feedback. The Result: A face-to-face meeting with the supervisor that is objective, compelling, and contribution focused. The client feels in command and empowered. The supervisor is more impressed than ever and promises to take action.
  3. A semi-retired professional woman is looking to continue working but wants to reduce her commute time. We construct an “ideal” schedule, discuss aspects of the current job that must exist in any future role, and what she would be willing, or grateful, to do without. A strategy to target certain kinds of organizations is created. I offer a contact with an opening. We update her resume to attract other positions. The Result: For the first time in five years the client applied for a new job. Outcome remains open.
  4. An executive in his late 30s arrives to sessions wondering how to get other founding partners on the same page of their year-old firm. “Nothing big, but annoying issues.” We discuss expectations, company needs, and the personalities involved; explore approaches and desired outcomes. The topic of winning for winning sake comes up as do gender and generational differences within the team. The Result: The client picks the points most crucial to the survival of the firm, plans to meet with the partners to discuss using a “we need to figure this out” approach.
  5. A fast-rising executive has a workaholic boss who insists on doing more than is necessary or doable by a less senior person. In session, we talk about “delete, delegate, or do” and how the client can clear her virtual desk in order to be of greater value to her boss. We look at the “know, like, trust factor” that must occur in any relationship before someone is going to share authority and responsibility. The Result: The client begins to delete and delegate tasks in her area of responsibility—opening time and brainpower. She focuses on increasing contact with her boss and making suggestions as to things she could “take off the boss’ plate.” Boss relinquishes a bit.

Typical scenarios? These are situations most of you have probably experienced or know someone who has. What is clear is I was not hired or expected to “fix,” “reprimand,” “threaten,” or “dismiss” anyone. Some of the clients mentioned above are fortunate enough to have their coaching paid for by their organizations. Most companies only spend dollars on people they know have potential. Other clients choose to invest in themselves and often never reveal they even have a coach. Whatever the payment source, coaching is not punitive or mess cleaning. If you agree or are even intrigued, why don’t you call a coach?

(c) Jane Cranston.

Author's Bio: 

Jane Cranston is an executive career coach. She works with success-driven executives, managers and leaders to reach their potential, better manage their boss and staff, as well as develop a career strategy to reach goals and aspirations. Jane is the author of Great Job in Tough Times a step-by-step job search system. Click here to subscribe to her twice monthly Competitive Edge Report.