Six foundational elements of coaching (part 4)

Six foundational elements of coaching (part 4)

Last year I had to break up with a friend.

This was someone I had been good friends with for about four years. Over the years I had been there for her in numerous ways. Everything from helping her with her business to helping her process many break ups. I had spent many, many hours trying to be a good friend. And to be fair, she was there for me as well in many ways.

The unfortunate thing was that our friendship became about complaining.

A lot of complaining.

And as I started to notice and try to change my ways, I noticed it more and more. I tried to talk with her about it and get us both to change our ways, but it didn’t work.

Then, in the summer of last year my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer.

As you can imagine, it was not an easy time for me.

I texted this friend and we had a short text exchange where she offered some kind words. A couple of days later she sent a text message complaining about her mom. I sent a quick supportive text. And then for a month I heard nothing from her. One month later, she asked me how I was and how my mom was doing.

By that time, I knew the friendship was over. I had gotten clear about what kind of friendships I wanted and what kind of friend I wanted to be. I took a good hard look at how I wanted to transform in this area. And this friendship didn’t fit that. And I did the tough job of letting her know.

Over a year later as I look back on that decision, I still know it was the right one for me to make. While I’ve missed her, my life has been much more aligned with the person I want to become.

The people in our lives have such a huge impact on our goals and the results we want to achieve. Some are helpful. And some are not.

It’s the same for our clients.

As their coach, you need to help them take a good, hard look at the people in their lives.

And ask the following questions to help them get to the other side of the transformation:

  1. 1
    Who do they need to see less of?
  2. 2
    Who do they need to see more of?
  3. 3
    Who do they need to connect with?

Who do our clients need to see less of?

As I’m sure you know, some people in our clients’ lives are not good for them and the transformation they want to make. For many reasons, others can be less than supportive when it comes to our clients' goals.

This can lead to some pretty tough conversations with our clients. Talking with them about who in their life is supportive and who is not. But in order for them to make the transformation, they need to see others clearly. 

Their motivations.

Their support. Or lack of.

Now they don’t need to remove the people from their lives completely like I did. But you'll want to help them develop a plan of how they’re going to manage the relationship. 

For example, let’s say you have a client who wants to lose weight but has a sister who is less than supportive. The sister's lack of support comes across in subtle and not so subtle ways... 

  • Pushing food on your client at pretty much every opportunity,
  • Hinting at her past diet failures, and
  • Generally showing that she doesn't have faith your client can pull this off. 

Here’s how I would work with the client to handle the situation…

  1. 1
    Investigate with the client the reasons why her sister is less than supportive. Is it because she doesn’t like change herself? Or would feel jealous if the client does change? Get to the bottom of it with the client. Not to judge. Or have the client get angry with her sister, but to go for understanding and compassion. As you know, we often do things that are outside our conscious awareness. 
  2. 2
    See if the client is willing to have a heart-to-heart with her sister. Maybe her sister would be on board after this conversation. If her sister is still unwilling to support her, then the client may need to put some distance between them. 
  3. 3
    If the client is unwilling to talk with her sister, then she’ll most likely need to see less of her sister. At least in the short-term. I would help the client do this in a way that doesn't damage the relationship permanently. 
  4. 4
    Work with the client to build a solid foundation -- courage, confidence, and a new identity. So it won’t matter what her sister or anyone else says. She’s got this. 

Along with seeing less of unsupportive people, our clients also need to see more of people who ARE supportive.

Who do our clients need to see more of?

Fortunately, for most of us, we do have people in our lives who do support us. Your clients will most likely be no different. You’ll need to help them identify those people and make plans to see them more often.

Let’s use our weight loss example again. Maybe your client has friends who will go on this journey with her. Who have the same goals. Help her set up outings and weekly rituals with these people so she’s not alone. This is the best way for her to make this a new way of life. Getting the people she already cares about involved with this new self she’s creating. 

You’ll also need to see if there are new people your client needs to connect with.

Who does she need to connect with?

Are there people that are not currently in her life that she could connect with to make this easier?

Perhaps your client knows of someone in her area that has already achieved the same transformation she's working on. Or someone who is also working towards the same goal. 

If so, have her connect with those people and make sure she’s seeing them on a regular basis. 

Are there any groups that your client could join? 

In the case of fitness, there could be running groups, hiking groups, tennis, etc. 

Anything that your client enjoys and would be willing to do regularly. The more she associates with people who are similar to who she wants to become, the easier the transformation will be. And the more chance it will become a permanent change. 

To summarize, you want to look at:

  1. 1
    Who they need to see less of
  2. 2
    Who they need to see more of
  3. 3
    What groups or individuals they need to connect with

In the next blog post, I'll share how to identify what skills and knowledge your clients need to have as they move towards the transformation. 

With love & joy,


P.S. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share this with them?

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