The evolution of a coaching client

What happens when you work with a coach?
Here is a trend I see with my clients. It’s just my impression, not results from an independent third-party, but I’ll hold myself accountable by asking my clients to review the post to see if I accurately represented them.

What clients get coaching for

My clients come with a variety of issues they want to improve, nearly all of them professional—wanting to develop leadership or entrepreneurial skills, problems with their manager, lacking meaning from their work, wanting to switch fields, etc. Comparing with peers sets expectations for what they’ll get from coaching.
I think of their expectations graphically, which I loosely illustrate here.
Spodek client expectations

What my clients get from coaching at first

Coaching involves them more actively than they expect and develops more important skills than they expect. If they want to improve their relationship with their manager, for example, they develop skills to improve relationships in general. If they want to find more meaning at work, they learn the skills to create meaning in general.
As a result, they find more value from coaching than they expect.
Spodek client short-term results

What my clients get from coaching in the long run

A big change happens around the second month: they apply the relationship and emotional skills they learned in a professional environment to the rest of their lives. Usually they say something like

I decided to apply last week’s exercise with my spouse and it worked even better!

I noticed something my kid said that I never would have noticed before and can’t believe I was missing that part of our relationship the whole time.

My spouse noticed I was easier to talk to and seemed more understanding so we talked about what I’ve worked on with you.

Once they apply the skills to the rest of life, their improvements increase an order of magnitude beyond what they expected from a professional environment only.
Spodek client long-term resultsStay tuned for what I hear back from clients commenting on these personal impressions. I believe strongly in public accountability.

Leave a Reply