Uncomfortable Experience

by Beverly Morrison
(Johannesburg)

Hi there, I thought I would share the experience I had last night. This was my fifth Session One practice session and someone who was kind of interested in being coached!

The client was very ADD, couldn't concentrate for more than two minutes. She was all over the show and not really knowing what she wanted. She told me that she was a depressive but had taken herself off the pills. I really battled to keep her focused as she wouldn't let me finish my sentences, kept on second-guessing me and kept on arguing with herself! (Would say something, then apologise for saying it and then say something that contradicted what she had just said).

We set a goal together, but I was not feeling comfortable that we had achieved anything. Money was what she wanted to work on but then she kept saying that money was not important to her. When I offered to rather work on another goal she said she preferred to work on Money?

At the end of the session (2 hours for 1 goal) I told her that I didn't think that I could add value as a coach at this stage of her life and that I thought it would be better if she spent some time trying to figure out what she REALLY wants as it sounded as if she chose 'money' to work on because she should choose that (in my book that is externally imposed).

I suggested that she go and talk to someone about her depression and all the other things that are going on in her life (of which there is a lot). Apparently she had a successful business about two years ago and, in her words, she crashed and burned, but wouldn't tell me the detail but she referred to it, a lot.

I am feeling a bit odd about this one. Perhaps I am just not ready to handle someone like this (if I were a more experienced coach would I have handled it? Or perhaps this is really not the sort of person that is going to benefit from coaching?

Does anyone have any advice for me?

Comments for Uncomfortable Experience

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Aug 02, 2008
Uncomfortable Experience
by: Sharon Frith

Hi Beverly

I thought I'd respond to your posting in regards to the Session One you had with the lady who you set a money goal with but felt that she was 'all over the show'.

I wanted to comment firstly to reassure you that I think you did the right thing by not taking the coaching any further. It certainly seems that there are deeper issues that need to be worked on before your client can benefit from coaching and I think counselling is something that could help her to come to terms with the more deep rooted issues that are holding her back.

This is a valuable experience for you and it's only by having sessions like this that truly allow ourselves to evaluate ourselves as Coaches.

From what you said in your posting, I feel that you handled this session as well as you could - it certainly is worth now asking yourself what you feel you did well and what you feel you would do differently if you came across a client like this again.

A couple of questions that you could ask which will help you in the future are these:

A) What specifically would you like to gain from this coaching experience?

B) What do you feel is stopping you from getting these benefits? I ask you this because I feel that you are experiencing some internal conflict and I would like to explore that with you. What conflicts do you feel are going on for you right now?

If the client feels that coaching would help her but doesn't really know what she wants, then you can start by exploring her values and her conflicts (session 5) then looking at rules and beliefs BEFORE setting a goal. The sessions 1-13 are a general guide and perfect if someone knows what they want but when someone doesn't know what they want or you feel there are some deeper issues then you can swap the sessions around so that you can find out a little more about what blocks they have before setting a goal.

This is only worthwhile if your client is not depressed, just a little confused and needs some direction. A client, however, who is showing clear signs of depression, should not be coached and should definitely be referred to a counsellor.

Hope this helps Beverly and congratulations on handling a challenging session. Use this experience to grow as a Coach. The biggest challenges are usually the biggest blessings.

Sharon

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