Is this working?

Ever wondered if you’re doing it right? 

Well, duh, I fucking hope so! If you haven’t, I’d be seriously worried. 

Excessive self doubt is a serious toxin for relationships, and research tells us that healthy confidence really benefits clients.

Obviously there’s a spectrum. And while we could debate the value of questioning yourself, when it comes to relationships that are rooted in partnership (which definitely includes coaching relationships), what I can say with certainty is this:

The best way to figure out whether you’re doing it right is to simply ask!

For some reason we seem to forget that quite often, or we feel that it may be inappropriate. But think about it… 

If your partner wasn’t sure whether they’re being a good partner, would you mind if they checked in with you? For me it’s the opposite. I’d expect them to.

If I had a penny for each time a coach in supervision told themself that a session was useless, only to be thanked by the client later for how helpful it had been, I’d be… well, going out for a pint (that’s a good couple of hundred penny’s right there).

Practically, there’s two ways that I found very effective: 

A fairly neutral “Hey, how are we doing? Are you getting from this what you need? Anything we could do more, less of, or differently going forward?”

1) If you make this a routine question, it’ll sound like a routine question – professional. Even if you’re doubting yourself, try to bracket your assumption for the time being and just check in. You may or may not be surprised by the answer, but unless you’re asking the question clean, you may be influencing the answer. 

Now, you may have a polite client, or someone to whom it may feel like they’d be criticising you if they told you they aren’t happy with how it’s going, or you may not quite have sufficient rapport to get an honest answer, or they just don’t know how to tell you… so you may want to…

2) Be super transparent and share how you feel or what’s going on for you. This might sound something like: “Hey, I’d love to check in with you on something: I’m telling myself this story that today’s not been a great session and that I could have done a lot more for you [or whatever the story is that you’re genuinely telling yourself]. What’s your experience?”

This could be a lot more specific if you can put your finger on it, like: “Hey, I feel I’ve been interrupting you a lot today”, or “I wish I had created a lot more space for you to think today. What was it like for you?”

Or, indeed, a super blunt: “Hey, ehm… is this working for you? I get the feeling something’s not quite right…”

However you’re inviting feedback, good relationships depend on it. And the more often you take stock, check in, and re-contract, the stronger and more effective your relationship will be. 

Yannick out
With Love


New content: Does free coaching work? TaC #68

Daniel asked us whether coaching still works if the clients aren’t paying any money for the coaching. This applies to pro-bono coaching and also to circumstances like Daniel’s where it’s not appropriate to charge due to how coaching has been set up within the organisation or institution. In this episode of Talking about Coaching, Nicki, Siawash and I hence discuss the crucial importance of commitment in the coaching relationship, and what other ways there are besides money to create commitment. 

You can listen to this episode or watch it on YouTube

We’ve got a few new episodes out btw. If you’re hungry for more, check this out


Free coaching opportunity: Would you like to stop drinking alcohol? 

Alcohol that is. This isn’t for the the suicidal. Also not if you feel you’re heavily addicted. But if you see the value in cutting beer, wine, or whatever your poison of choice is, out of your life, and you wouldn’t mind having an open conversation about it in front of an invisible audience of coaches, then let me know for a chance to work with “the godfather of the alcohol-free movement”, Andy Ramage inside the Coaching Lab on 6th February

Andy has been a pioneer and major player in the alcohol-free movement for many years and I can’t wait to see his approach in action with a client, so if you’d like to be that client and help other coaches learn from your encounter with Andy, or perhaps you know someone who you think this could be a good fit for, reach out!

And if you’re curious to be a fly on the wall for this session, you can grab a ticket or sign up as a member for a chance to catch the recording if you can’t make it: