Your first session with a coach

How to work with a coach, part 6

By Martin Vogel

6 iStock_000003102856Small

When you begin work with a coach, the first session can have a significant influence on the how the coaching programme as a whole plays out. It is the coach’s responsibility to facilitate a constructive session. But, for a client, it can by useful to understand the potential dynamics of your first session. This can help you both to evaluate how your coach is doing and to optimise your contribution to making the coaching a success.

For many coaches, their main objective in the first session is to establish rapport with the client and the foundation of a relationship based on mutual trust and respect. You might be forgiven for bringing a little scepticism to such aspirations. Is there any kind of professional who wouldn’t claim to aspire to trust and rapport with their clients? Coaching is different, though. Professions such as lawyers, doctors, architects even many kinds of therapist, are trading on the expertise that they can apply to fixing a client’s problem. This implies a degree of inherent disrespect for their clients – that is to say, a conviction that the client lacks resources to address their issue. Coaches’ expertise is not applied to solving a client’s problem but to helping the client find their own strategy or solution to whatever challenge they face. In short, they trust the client’s resourcefulness, the client’s expertise in their own situation.

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Barack Obama: new model leader

By Martin Vogel

Barack Obama at Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Des Moines, Iowa
Barack Obama, Iowa, November 2007

When Barack Obama is inaugurated as US President on Tuesday he will usher in not just a break with the eight years of the Bush Administration, but a distincitively modern humanistic style of leadership which has never been tested at this level. If his presidency is a success, it will have a profound impact on how leaders everywhere perceive themselves and how to be effective in the 21st Century.

One of Obama’s most striking chracteristics is the way he draws on ways of being as a leader which have been advocated as best practice for thirty years or more, but which he synthesises into a style which seems strikingly authentic and demonstrably impactful. He comes across as a man who is grounded, at ease with himself, totally focussed, and able to connect with people with integrity.

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