The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Being clear about the request

A blog post on the A Learning a Day blog resonated. It describes a simple three-step cycle contributing to building relationships. It is based on sharing one’s request, being flexible to learn how and if it is compatible with the other, and developing an ability to want the right things.

Relationships shape what is possible within them but will also evolve based on the quality of this cycle.

There are always two in a relationship. It leads to both having to be clear about the request they have when entering a conversation, but also an understanding of the consequences when this request isn’t clear.

In a coaching relationship, this means for example, that the coachee is seeking help from the coach. Both will, in an initial conversation determine what the client is asking for and how the coach sees himself able to serve the client. If there is a match, both will start working together and will build on this conversation.

In subsequent meetings, the client will update the coach on his progress or share what help he wants based on his current experience and towards his objective. The coach will check with the client about what progress he sees or what matters he wants to address to continue the work they started. It’s a crucial moment in the coaching relationship.

Whenever the client doesn’t come up with an input with the session, the coach can be tempted to step in and help find a topic. At the same time, whenever the coach steps in and asks questions about the situation to find where working on the task seems best, the client may be tempted to follow the coach’s lead or, in some other way, let go of the task agreed between them.

This isn’t to say that there is a clear line between right and wrong. Finding how to work together takes time.

However, the more both deviate from the idea that the client is in the lead of bringing up a clear request and the coach in the lead of supporting him in developing it, the less they can determine how their request is compatible with the other and thus the less they can know how it contributes to the work they agreed upon. It becomes a sign that their initial agreement has not been clear enough.


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