Obviously I haven't been coaching as long as I have been mentoring. I started a life coaching program for the women of our church four years ago however I did that flying by the seat of my pants, creating the program as I went along . Amazingly, it worked well. I've been career coaching for a little over a year now and I love it. The company took a risk in hiring me as I had no career coaching experience prior to that. I took it as my mission to make sure they didn't regret bringing me on board and in fact would one day consider me a valuable part of the team.
A great majority of what I know a year later comes through the woman who became my boss in July of last year. Her name is Kathryn Kemp and if you have read my blog for very long, you've seen my "lessons from Kathryn" that I post from time to time. (Just go in the sidebar and click "Lessons from Kathryn" or type Kathryn in the search bar and you can read them all.)
I'm the type of person that likes to solve problems and present solutions as quickly as possible. Coaching has been a challenge for me in one regard because it requires you asking more questions than producing answers. A few weeks ago Kathryn gave me the assignment of coming up with twenty powerful questions to ask my job seekers. She's always talking about powerful questions and the reason for that is because they are...well, POWERFUL. "Let the client do the work," is one of her mantras. That used to feel so irresponsible to me. A job seeker has a problem, I'm sitting there with the solution in my head, but I just need to sit there, ask a question, be quiet, and hope they discover it for themselves...yeah...ohhh-kay. That was a challenge for me but now I see through Kathryn's leadership that it's absolutely essential for them to own the outcome. She's great at asking blockbuster questions and then quietly waiting for answers. She does it with me all the time and it really works! Her favorite question is, "What's the gift in this?"
Those of you who have known me for any length of time know I've been to counseling a few times. Yeah, I'm one of those leaders not afraid to admit that I've been totally broken a few times. Looking back on all the times I sat in the counselee's chair, I am cognizant of the fact that most of what really helped me move ahead were the times the counselor would ask me powerful questions I just hadn't thought of before or just didn't dare to ask because it was too painful.