“Leadership is a series of behaviors rather than a role for heroes.” - Margaret J. Wheatley
Leadership - we need MORE of it in this Profession (even if you aren't a Leadership Coach!) One of the things I see in this fantastic profession filled with so much talent and dedication is a lack of leadership. If I'm being totally honest (and I am - because we deserve that from each other), I see a MASSIVE lack of leadership. It's Not Your Fault (well, unless it is?) Nobody is talking in this profession about how leadership looks in the building of the client relationship ... how solid leadership creates more clients . . . how solid leadership creates more opportunities for the client to get the results they want. Coaches I know who are called leadership coaches, working with high-level executives in becoming stronger, more effective leaders are often not conducting their own enrollment conversations and the coaching relationship with strong, clear leadership. Certification programs that I'm familiar with don't cover this as a topic as of yet. Coaching programs that are selling marketing as a way to grow a coaching business don't acknowledge leadership as a key in the process (and that funnels and marketing don't work for most coaches, but that's a different conversation). Coaches who are challenged to gain traction in this profession are almost always struggling with leadership (in addition to not knowing how to enroll). Before you think, "Wow Carolyn, you are harsh (or as my daughter likes to say right now, "RUDE!") consider that . . .
MASSIVE LACK OF LEADERSHIP IS NOT BAD NEWS Why? It seems like bad news . . . It's not because leadership can be learned . . . if you are willing to see and consider that you are currently demonstrating a lack of leadership.
Lacking in Leadership Quiz (forevermore known as LIL) Count how many you mark "yes" to: - you don't establish context at the beginning of a "discovery" (enrollment) conversation (and you don't know what context means) - you don't say anything about what's going to happen in the conversation before it begins - the person isn't sure what's happening other than this nice person is willing to talk to them about their challenges and dreams - the person doesn't know how long this conversation will be or you allow them to establish the length of time you will be talking - clients or prospective clients don't show up on time or ask to change meeting times more than once - you have clients who haven't paid you on time - you have clients who cancel sessions and there's no conversation around this - you think a 30-minute conversation is going to lead to clients Three or more yes's and you can raise your hand and say YES I'm in LIL. NOW WHAT? Accept it. Own it. Once we acknowledge and accept we are demonstrating a lack of leadership we can DO something to make it different. The next step is creating a plan to grow your leadership in these areas. . . Key Areas of Leadership Development for Coaches: - setting up the beginning of enrollment conversations - the completion of enrollment conversations - sharing of fees/how you work with me - communications leading up to enrollment conversations - every other place in the coaching relationship—scheduling sessions, missed sessions, payment agreements, agreements around assignments not kept, etc etc etc... If it were me, here's how I'd be doing this plan: - If I'm working with a coach I'd be requesting that this become a priority in our work together—with them slowing me down and reviewing my conversations, seeing where this is showing up, and learning from them how THEY do this in their own practice. - If I'm not working with an individual coach and I can't pay for one yet, find a group/school/program to learn this. ASK them if this is addressed in the group/school/program. If they don't know what you mean, don't give them your money. - Get curious about what's been stopping you from developing yourself as a leader in your own work (vs. coaching others in their leadership). Are you operating from a limiting belief around it that will make you seem mean/unkind/less feminine? No matter what kind of coach you are, it's important that you read this next part.
THIS PROFESSION NEEDS ALL US TO BECOME BETTER LEADERS Steve Chandler and I talk a lot about this profession and how it's still in the early stages of being established. When a profession is being established those who are in it are responsible to help create the profession - how it's viewed, how it's experienced, and what happens for people when they come to us. When we are lacking in leadership we don't help this profession grow in its legitimacy and credibility. People walk away at best slightly confused. At worst they walk away thinking, "What was that? People pay for that? That person wasn't clear at all on why we were there, what was happening . . .gosh, I don't know how that person can make any money." Leadership is a profound way to demonstrate we are here to serve. That coaches are here to provide a path of growth and transformation with a clear container and steps. When strong leadership is present, people are more drawn to us and working on the opportunities at hand. By improving your leadership you make the entire profession better. I'm rooting for the whole profession. With loving, Carolyn
PS: If you want to spend time with the Godfather of Coaching Steve Chandler plus 4 coaches who TRULY walk their talk in terms of leadership in their own practices get registered for the MOST EPIC webinar, The Profession of Coaching in Covid Times and Beyond: Opportunities are Everywhere on November 17th!