Contracting – Contracting – Contracting
That’s what I tell my students a LOT. Becasue our work us held by good contracting. Clients feel safe within good contracting. And most answers to “what shall I do with this client?” lie therein.
So here’s what I ask pretty much ALL of the coaches I supervise at some point (in fact, this is what we talk about in the majority of sessions at some point at the very least): What’s your contract – what was agreed between coach and client to work on, and in what way this work would be done? In my experience this exploration generates the answers to what was brought into supervision most of the time. Let me say a bit more:
Many of the issues that coaches bring into supervision tend to be resolved by an exploration of what was agreed in the beginning. It provides the focus to the conversation and answers for questions around where to go next, what to ask, how or if to intervene, etc. Contracts in coaching can be written, verbal or both. Regardless of format however, both parties being clear on what you are working on and how is crucial to coaching practice.
My first question to coaches who find themselves in a dilemma with a client is then usually: “Tell me about the contract” or something along those lines:
What’s your contract with this client? What have you agreed to work on and how? How have you framed your coaching space? What was the conversation like when you introduced what coaching is and isn’t? Have you had a conversation about what you can expect from each other in this relationship?
If you’re a coach and currently stuck with a client, ask yourself these questions and see what comes up. Or better yet: Explore them together with your supervisor 🙂