Co-founders of Empower World
Jeanine: Hello and welcome, listeners, to the Empower World Coaching and Leadership podcast, our next episode, and again, I am excited to be here with Marie Quigley my beautiful business partner. And my name is Jeanine Bailey. So welcome Marie. Great to see you. I think we're in the middle of the changing of the seasons. Or maybe not. Maybe we're getting towards your warmer months and we're starting to get cooler, although it's been beautiful here in Victoria, Australia, the autumn weather has been magnificent. I've been swimming in the sea without a wetsuit. Amazing.
Marie: Impressive. I have to say, I've been following you on Instagram and thinking, wow, I love the fact that you're in that sea. Oh, yeah. Not that I'm a fan of sea's or anything, but I'm impressed by what you're doing.
Jeanine: Well, I've always I've always been a little bit fearful of the sea, you know what's underneath and particularly seaweed as well. And so, I have been conquering my fears and I've been doing it anyway. And it's been so invigorating and so beautiful to be a part of nature. And just last week, I was swimming while there was a storm on so I could see lightning, various different parts of the sky. The colors were amazing. It was just and the weather was the temperature was really quite mild. So, it's just magnificent.
Marie: Wow, that sounds gorgeous. And for me, you're right, spring has sprung and it is fascinating because I haven't lived in the UK for many, many years now. But what I'm noticing is the leaves are starting to grow on the trees. And it's so funny to see them go from these bare branches to these baby leaves growing. And I know they're going to expand really quickly, but I hadn't noticed them when I lived here. I hadn't noticed that definite shift in the perception of the trees and how I went for a walk in the park yesterday. And I was it was breathtaking to see them growing in this way and leaning in to the work that they naturally do. And, you know, there's so many analogies we can use with coaching and trees and the growth and everything else that goes on. And maybe that leads nicely because you sound like you contracted with yourself, Jeanine, as you've got into the sea, you've made an agreement with yourself about what you wanted to achieve and that it might be a fine line of a link there. But it definitely links to the topic we want to talk about today, which is the coaching agreement.
Jeanine: Yes, absolutely Marie, and know as we both sharing our stories about what we've been experiencing lately know, I was asking myself, I wonder how this reflects perhaps our coaching. And I love how you've linked this to the contract because, yes, I have made a contract with myself to continue to keep pushing myself outside of the comfort zone, to really be utilizing these beautiful resources, natural resources around me in so many different ways to get fit, but also to enjoy the beauty that is right here on my doorstep. So, yes, so that's my contract. And maybe and even today, potentially my contract to myself is to actually perhaps start training for a triathlon, which I'm not sure if I'll get there, but.
Marie: You've named it now. So, it's going to happen.
Jeanine: And it's going across the world.
Marie: Exactly. Well, my contract for myself, I've recontracted some of the ways I've been working, which has been very intensely this year, and I contracted with myself to take a full three days off. We had a bank holiday weekend here last weekend and I retreated from all forms of social media and it was so cleansing. And that's going to be part of my routine on a regular basis because, I mean, for me and my family, I need that space to be able to put my oxygen mask on. So that's the triathlon I'm going to do is to give myself a lot more space, for enjoyment.
Jeanine: Beautiful, love hearing that you're putting on your oxygen mask. And I can hear us both doing that in different ways. So, yes, we decided that in this podcast that we would look at contracting because as mentors, as supervisors. You know, we're hearing the coaches that we work with potentially struggling often with that contracting piece, determining the agreement about what is going to be focused on in the session. And even the most experienced of coaches and supervisors potentially have this perhaps a stumbling block, if that's the right word to use, or words in terms of being able to contract really clearly, which supports not only the client, but also either the coach or the supervisor in terms of where we go in this session and use this session as effectively as possible while still going on a journey and being with that client and listening to our clients. So, this is something that we decided would perhaps be really useful.
Marie: Yes, Jeanine. And you'd nicely shared that what the contracting part is. It's looking at what the client wants to get out of the session because there's so many contracting parts to our work. But you were very clear that it's looking at what the client is going to get out of the sessions. Some coaches call it designing an alliance. Some coaches call it the coaching agreement. Some coaches call it creating the goal so whatever you call it. It's about how you work with your client to support them, to get really clear about what they're going to leave the session with after they've had this coaching conversation with you.
Jeanine: Yes, and as you said, Marie, as well, you know, there is those other parts of the contracting, which is ensuring that there's this safe place, the safe container to work within. And we actually spoke before we started recording, looking at both of those things. And in this podcast, we're focusing on contracting the agreement in terms of understanding both the client and the coach or supervisor, understanding where are we going on this journey today.
Marie: Yeah. So, it might be useful listeners for you to hear what doesn't work when we're listening to our coaches who are going through mentoring or supervision and what often doesn't work and where coaches fumble or get lost and think they've got to do all of the work is the client comes in and they state something that they want to work on. And the coach says, OK. And they move into a conversation that kind of goes all over the place. And then the coach will come to mentoring or supervision and say, you know, I don't know what to do with this client, they're all over the place. They're not getting specific about they won't they're not moving forward with some of the things they're saying. And often it's because there's no clear contracting about specifically in this session what the client wants. So, what is good, Jeanine, what's a good example of great contracting at beginning with the client?
Jeanine: Well, I was going to add a little bit more to what you were sharing in terms of what doesn't work and which, again, I trust that this will be useful. And so, as you said, people, coaches often, perhaps not often, but there will be coaches that will just accept the first thing the client says. And so, therefore, the coaching session could also potentially be at a very superficial level. And it may not it may go deeper underneath that initial goal. And. When you are contracting initially with a client and you do a little bit more investigation. There is perhaps something that comes up that is deeper and that's is potentially a great way to contract, but we'll go into that a little bit more. There's also the what doesn't perhaps work is that the coach doesn't clarify or reflect back what they heard. So, and don't check in with the client, that is this what you'd like to walk away with, or is this what you would like to understand at the end of the session? So, I often hear that when I'm mentoring this, there's no checking in. The other thing that happens often is when a coach asks a client what do they want to work and work on, they'll bring the client will bring a whole lot of information, a whole lot of information. And again, the coach doesn't contract with the client. What is a one perhaps line sentence that the client wants to work on? So, when there's a whole lot of information that is shared by a client, potentially the coach is making assumptions what the client wants to work on. They're perhaps guessing versus checking in with the client. What is it that they actually do want to work on? Simply put very simply and succinctly, in a smart, perhaps a smart goal fashion that both are clear about where the session is heading.
Marie: Yeah, I think that's a very fair point. So, the clarity, the reflecting back, what a coach. Some coaches will say, OK, so this is what you want to work on. And they make the choice where the client wants to go instead of, as you say, reflecting back what you've heard. So, I might have heard A, B, C, so out of A, B, C, and maybe D, which we haven't heard yet, what is it you'd like to focus on or what would what would you like to have clarity on? What would you like to move forward with? So again, is the good the masterful coach is handing it back to the client after the reflection to say this is what I've heard. So now what? And that lovely dance of meeting the client where they are, but also keeping ourselves professional and doing our job of listening deeply on what's happening underneath.
Jeanine: Yes, and I love Marie how you shared that particular example of what can happen in a session that you hear a number of things that the client would like to work on and offering that back to the client to decide. And again, when the client decides which perhaps thing that they want to work on, again, it's working with the client to hear back from the coach, to hear back from the client, that the goal is again, it's really simple. It's smart that both on the same pathway. So, what I did here the other day was coach listening to a whole lot of information that was shared by the client. And then the coach came back and said so. Client, do you want to work on this or do you want to work on this? And using their own words versus the client's words, so they were making assumptions about what the client wanted based on what they were sharing. And so, it really was leading the client versus letting the client be in charge. And again, choosing, they were really sort of pinpointed to either A or B and perhaps nothing else. So again, it's really, again, handing it back to the client to choose where they want to focus.
Marie: Yes. And so, in the beginning of, say your session is a 60-minute session. You've got to think about breaking up the time of that 60 Minutes so that you allow time for processing the things that are going underneath the goal that the client has just shared. So, for example, if maybe the topic is something like impostor syndrome, well, that's a huge topic. So, it's moving with the client getting curious, with the client reflecting back what they've heard, asking what specifically they want to leave the session with as they're closing in relation to that. That will give you a kind of narrower down topic. And I'm thinking of this because I just worked with a client and her what she wanted to come away with was a what she described as a grounded confidence. That's what she wanted to leave the session with. So, you can see by coming from imposter syndrome to grounded confidence, there's a shift in the experience of what the client is going to get. And it's allocating enough time to be with the dancing of uncovering the bigger goal for the client in that moment.
Jeanine: Yes. So, what I heard you share just now, Marie, was really being able to create a smart goal. You funneled it down to create a smart goal for the session. So, moving from something that was big, that potentially wasn't smart for the session, but really supporting the client to recognize what is it that you want to walk away with about that imposter syndrome that's going to support you? so that grounded confidence.
Marie: That's right. And so, of course, you always you always keep the client's initial goal. I always pop it into the back of my head. I've got a pocket in the back of my head that I put the initial goal in. But so, I'm focusing on the grounded confidence, let's say. But at the end, you come back to that first goal and bring it out and ask the question. So, in relation to impostor syndrome, what awareness do you have now with this confidence you have? So, it's not like we discount the first thing they say. We pop it somewhere to be able to bring it back because that is important to the client. We're not saying it isn't. We just know in our experience that there's something going on underneath in order to bring that topic to the to the table.
Jeanine: Yes, absolutely. And so, it really is, again, having in mind that your client, when you first meet them in a session, that their topic will potentially be very at a higher level. I can't think of the right words right now, but a much higher level. And they'll perhaps be a whole lot of information in relation to that, but higher based goal. So, it is listening to what the client shares. And as you get curious with the client and potentially it takes maybe 10 minutes to do this initial. And that's just a it's not a defined ten minutes. It's just a ballpark figure. You'd be with your client and you use your intuition as to how much time to do this initial investigation of what they bring to the session. And then when it feels like you've supported your client to create more awareness about perhaps what's going on underneath this initial topic that they bring to the session, it's then asking your client. So, if you could and this is one way you could ask the question, if you could share in one sentence what it is that you'd like to walk away with from this session, something along those lines that will support your client to also really think deeply about what it is that they truly want.
Marie: And nothing else as you're moving through the coaching conversation and perhaps it splinters out for the client into other things. And then you will hear a masterful coach checking in again and potentially re-contracting midway through the session, redefining the goal, really getting clear again. So, I notice this is you're saying this, so you're talking about that. I noticed this is coming up. Are we still on track with what you want? Or is there a different topic that's arisen now that we need to look at? And then you really come track if the client changes their mind, it's about saying, OK, so now what is it you want to get out of the remaining time that we've got together? And that could even be 10 minutes towards the end of the session that a new agenda arises that you recontract for. So again, you will hear the masterful coach always checking in, always listening for something new that's arisen for the coach that may be deemed to be re-contracted for.
Jeanine: Yes, beautiful. And even if that coaching session doesn't bring about perhaps a splintering, even if you're if you check in at some point and ask the client, are we on track with your goal? Then again, you're supporting both of you. Both of you to ensure that you are on track or perhaps discover maybe off track, knowing that there's no wrong or right here, there's always learning. And of course, at the end of the session, checking in with your client. Did you get what you wanted? Did you get that awareness or did you understand what it is that we originally determined as the goal? You might not use those words, but something along those lines.
Marie: Absolutely. And notice coaches, if you want something for the client, your client, if you want them to move forward, if you want them to take any kind of actions that may be influencing the type of questions you're asking and the kind of trajectory that the coaching conversation goes on. And again, we bring in our agenda, even something as: I want this for the client and that influences and that can take the client down a path that actually they don't want to go on. So, it's checking in with yourself in the moment. If you notice that happening, maybe re-contracting with yourself as a coach to say, OK, let me take a breath. I'm leading this. So sometimes it's also really powerful to be transparent and say, you know, client, I'm noticing I really want this for you. What's happening for you in this? Because you're in a relationship, so you're influencing potentially the system if you don't check and recontract with yourself about the work you're doing.
Jeanine: Yes, absolutely. So, it is being aware of the contract that you have with your client and the contract that you have with yourself to support your client, to, again, trust that they're naturally creative, resourceful and whole.
Marie: Yes, it's like an art, this is the art of the science part, isn't it? There are so many parts at play in this conversation. And the more you practice being mindful, trusting the client, trusting yourself and trusting the process, as long as using, as well as using your skills to keep things on track and ensure that the clients on track, then you're going to have a beautiful, powerful conversation.
Jeanine: Absolutely, sir. So, coaches, we trust that you've got value from this podcast. We've enjoyed recording this while I have anyway. And so, we look forward to hearing your feedback and we trust that will hopefully come across with you again in the future.
Marie: Thank you for listening. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please share with anybody. You know, it's our mission to share our knowledge and experience with as many coaches as we can around the world. Have a wonderful day, morning, afternoon, evening, wherever you are in the world. We'll see you soon. Thank you.