A common challenge that many leaders have in today’s world is around the balance between being “task” and “people” focused.
The pace of change in today’s world, the increased demands that are put on the workforce, and the continuous need for results certainly doesn’t provide a lot of extra time to intentionally shift one’s focus from tasks to people. The reality is though that making the shift in mindset and behavior to focus on relationships is an absolute necessity for leaders to be successful.
The same is true when you are seeking an executive coach to work with. There is little doubt that the effectiveness of a coaching engagement is dependent upon what is accomplished throughout the engagement. What is often overlooked, however, is how the “chemistry” between the coach and client will make or break the success and effectiveness of the engagement.
Think about it for a minute. In an effective coaching engagement, regardless of the desired objectives, the client needs to feel safe, trust the coach to honor their agreements, and practice ethical standards. The client needs to know that being vulnerable is how true results are achieved and when they are with their coach, that is perfectly acceptable and welcomed. This can only be achieved when there is “chemistry” or a “good fit” between the coach and client.
The same holds true for the coach. To create the space for the client to achieve their goals, the coach needs to have that “chemistry” with them as well. It is the coach’s responsibility to be fully present, honor agreements, cultivate trust and safety, listen actively, and support awareness and facilitate growth with the client. In short, without a connection, this can be very difficult to do.
So, what does “chemistry” look, feel, and sound like? It is knowing that you can be your true self without judgement. It is feeling confident that the other person will respect you and engage in the relationship with you as an equal. It is having a sense that regardless of internal or external challenges, trust is strong. It is knowing that active listening will be happening, silence and discussions will be respected, and that consideration will be given to the point-in-time each person is at.
How does one know if there is “chemistry”? Well, literally, when two compounds come together they can either form a reaction or rejection. Think about oil and water for example. While you can shake them up together to form what seems like a new mixture, it is not sustainable and with enough time, they will separate. On the other hand, think about lemonade and iced tea. Putting them together forms something new that won’t separate after time.
“Chemistry” in coaching can be thought of in a similar way. When meeting with a potential coach or client, do you feel a connection or do you feel like it just didn’t click? Did you sense respect or inferiority? What does your head tell you? What does your gut tell you? Do you think this person can bring out the best in you or simply help you?
LAK Group not only appreciates the importance of coaching and chemistry but works with our clients and our coaches to make sure any match is a good fit for both of them. Our diverse pool of coaches and our coaching process makes that pretty seamless.
To learn more, inquire about our executive coaching practice, or start a conversation, visit our coaching page. We work with you to transform careers, cultures, and organizations.