How do you set a challenge? How do you make a request?

I have been working with a client who really is one of those clients you wished your entire practice is made up of- so easy to work with. This client provides the right amount of challenges for me to earn what she pays and yet does what she says she would do in a timely manner. This gives us both a great sense of joy and accomplishment.  She is moving forward hence her goals for coaching are being fulfilled.  Except in one area.  This particular area tends to  take a yo-yo approach with the client and that’s where I got the inspiration from to write this post. I had to make a request or two of the client as well as set a challenge for the thorny area that just won’t get  the requite attention from the client.  This brings me to the topic of today’s post- How do you set a challenge for a client/employee/family member? How do you make a request of these individuals?  Below is an excerpt from our IDARE Work: Coaching Performance manual, on how to make requests and set challenges.

A basic premise on which the field of coaching is built is that of simply keeping our coachees moving forward. This is done through use of a variety of tools and strategies. Coaching is not complete until the coachee has taken actions designed to move them forward. This outcome is not possible without a coach who knows how and when to make a request of the coachee or to set a challenge.

There are three powerful questions to ask a coachee before a coach can make a request or set a challenge for them. These questions are designed to get the coachee start creating solutions even before they have decided to exercise the options below.  These questions are:

  1. What would you like to stop doing that is currently getting in your way of achieving your intention?
  2. What would you like to continue doing that is helpful and supportive of you achieving your intention? finally,
  3. What would you like to start doing that you feel strongly would take you closer to achieving your intention?

Once your coachee/person has adequately addressed the above questions you can now prepare them to focus on what they will be doing when you ask to set the challenge and make the request of them. This is where the three powerful options the coachee must be given in response to the request/challenge asked of them.  You are to let the person know they have these 3 options as follows:

  1. They can accept the request or challenge.  There will be consequences for this and these will be discussed.
  2. They can negotiate how they would like to accept the request/challenge and finally,
  3. They can reject the request/challenge. For all 3 options the person needs to know there are consequences associated with the choice of either option and they will be discussed.

Now that you have adequately prepared the coachee/person for the challenge and/or request you will make of them.  The coaching approach to do so is as follows:

  1. We always ask for the coachees’ permission before we make a request or set a challenge, for example, “John, may I ask you to do something based on what you have shared with me so far?”
  2.  The following three questions are asked of the coachee to determine whether or not their intention is to start, stop or continue doing something. Prepare the coachee to take any of the following 3 options that are always available for them: accept the request/challenge; negotiate the request/challenge or reject the request/challenge.  See above.
  3.  For example, I heard you say you would like to stop ___________; I would like to request that for the next 7-days you commit to stop ________________. Is this a request you are able to meet? (This is both a request and challenge.)
  4. Asking the coachee in a close-ended question format, if the request/challenge is one they are able to meet, allows the coachee to choose any of the three options available to them. A close-ended question allows the coachee to face their truths and come forward with an answer that is closet to their true desires.

I have had clients at this point in the session admit they really don’t like doing the very thing they are asking to be coached on! This approach is very important if the coachee is to own their decision and consequently their actions.  This is another way as a coach you are able to keep your clients moving forward.


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June 17, 2015 Coaching Potentials Corporate No Comments

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