Some coaches parachute straight into a coaching relationship to focus on the issues that clients say they want to work on. Others spend time – from a couple of hours up to a couple of sessions or days – laying the foundations for the coaching contract before work on the stated agenda begins. In Chapter 3, you can read about the personal qualities you need to bring to the contracting phase to build trust and provide a safe space for your clients.
In the following sections, I look at how to develop your process for taking in new clients that suits the needs of both coaches and clients.
The long-term success of any coaching interaction lies in getting off to a good start, and experienced coaches agree that the initial set-up phase is essential to getting results.
The intake process is the time you spend with a client, gathering personal and background information and building a relationship. The process allows you to capture a snapshot of what's going on in the whole of the client's life and work.
During the intake, clients often find that what they thought were the key challenges are only part of the picture; in fact, these issues may not be the ideal places to focus their energies in order to get the best results. You need to point this out to the client and encourage her to develop a more rounded agenda. Typically, I work with a client on three main topics or themes. For an executive or business owner, perhaps one topic based ...