- Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
- Season 7, Episode 7
- Find out how you can honor and serve your coaching clients by bringing your authentic self to your coaching conversations.
On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with "the Coaches' Coach" Cathy DeWeese, Senior Gallup Workplace Consultant about making your strengths coaching strengths-based. Cathy partners with external Gallup clients on the role of talent in attracting and hiring the very best. She also partners with people at Gallup, serving as a coach and mentor to Gallup coaches.
Our guest host was Maika Leibbrandt, Gallup Senior Workplace Consultant.
Below is a summary of the conversation. Full audio and video are posted above.
Strengths coaching is not like conventional developmental coaching. Managers can virtually eliminate active disengagement by focusing on the strengths of their people. But what does it take for employees to say this? And even for coaches, how often would clients say their experience with you as a coach was about what was right with them?
Maika Leibbrandt: Cathy, what are you excited about around this topic? What do you want to make sure we discuss?
11:40 Cathy DeWeese: Let's remember a few things as coaches. What an honor and a privilege we've been given to be in this space with people. I really mean that. This is an honor and a privilege. And to be in that moment with that person and to partner alongside them … being a guide on this person's journey. I've always thought about myself that way too.
Sometimes I might visualize this as my client and I walking shoulder to shoulder together down a forest path, and we're really enjoying ourselves. It's warm. Sometimes the trail narrows, and sometimes your client should go in front of you and you follow; and sometimes, your client might say, "Here, you go in front." So I'll go in front. But they always get to choose. And then we come back shoulder to shoulder.
I'm excited to think about how to best partner with your clients, to talk about your mission and purpose, who you are as an individual and a coach, what you bring to the table, and how you leverage your own talents in this wonderful role we have. I'm excited to think about how we serve our clients -- it's a service mindset sometimes -- how do we best serve this person? And in order to serve them, how do we show up to be our authentic self? And then I think about how do we honor the person we're working with? All people have value, all strengths have value, and as a strengths coach, how do you help this person rediscover their value?
19:34 Jim Collison: From David in the chat room: I think establishing trust early in the coaching relationship is important. How do you do that authentically in such a short time period? You mentioned a few things, such as immediately figuring out what is right -- what's going right? That's a question I need to steal as a manager. But how else do you do that?
CD: You know, it starts before you get on the phone or face to face with a person. It starts before that. You're getting into your coaching presence and you're getting into that place of connection with that person before they even get on the phone. What does that mean? That means that you as a coach remind yourself of why you're there, and block out and manage yourself (keep yourself from the things that get in your way).
So you do that first, but then, it starts from that very first breath. It's your presence and it's your tone and it's your being ready to go wherever that person needs to go. And guess what? I'm smiling right now, and you can hear it in my voice. If you didn't see a picture (video) of me right now, you would still hear the smile in my voice. So be welcoming.
I call it being a good hostess. When someone comes to your home, what do you do? Do you open the door and from the kitchen, yell, "Hey, come on in. The drinks are on the table!"? No, you go right to the door and you welcome them with open arms and show them you're glad they're there. It's the same tone you need to take when you start your coaching session. Now what do you say? We would say that your introduction should be pretty short -- 30 seconds or a little less, but not too much more. Because it's all about getting started on the right foot with that client. So I think what is a quick way for you to establish your credibility, your compassion, and why you're there.
JC: Cathy, I think one of the things that gets underrated in this is that practicing those statements is important in the conversation. When you are dealing with people, it shouldn't be the first time you're using the statements. While they sound welcoming and inviting, they are that way because you're comfortable in saying them. And I think that if you're new to this or are working at it, it's really important to have those statements thought out, thought through, and practicing them some.
You've done this tens of thousands -- maybe even 100,000 -- times in your career, and so those statements kind of roll, they are part of you, they are who you are and they sound genuine 1) because they are but 2) because you've said them a lot. And you say them in a way that is inviting. I think I would encourage coaches to practice some of those -- have some go-to statements, don't you think?
54:37 CW: Absolutely, 100%. And if it means you practice in front of the mirror, then do it. If that means you get on the phone with a best friend, your spouse, your mom, and just say, "Hey, I just need to practice this," I think you do it. I think you need to practice it with yourself, and out loud with a few people -- trusted folks. Maybe you get your dog on the couch and you talk to your dog. I don't really care, but I think practicing -- my dog's a great listener -- you do want to ask a real-live human who can give you some feedback. Ask:
- How did that sound?
- Was it authentic?
- Did it tell you what was important?
- Did it make you feel welcomed and invited?
- Do you want to talk to me?
You want to be inviting and you want that person to feel, "Hey, I want to talk to you."
ML: And I think, going back to your first point, Cathy, that I don't want people to go away and just replay you, and practice, "How can I be more like Cathy?" Yours is so good because it's how you talk to me in the hallway. It's so true to who you are from the very beginning. And then you practice it.
CD: Yes, exactly. Thank you for that. Because, guess what, everybody's different. So to your point, whatever that needs to be, let it ring true to your heart, let it be authentic to who you are, let it be your introduction, because then the tone and the quality and the authenticity come across. That's exactly right.
Cathy DeWeese's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Individualization, Arranger, Maximizer, Input and Relator.