A friend from our free meetups and exchanges (link to register below) was telling us a story that all coaches can relate to. She was coaching a young woman who for the life of her did not want to admit that she has done anything well. The client had an impressive CV, multiple languages, multiple post-graduate certification, a highly sought-after profile. She was looking to find a new job and was engaging in coaching to prepare for job interviews.
When our friend asked her what her strengths are, she went silent. “Nothing much”, she said. And when asked what her friends and family would say her strengths are, she replied: “I throw nice parties.” Whatever coaching move our friend tried — the client would or could not talk about things that she does well.
Now, what to do? Here are some coaching moves that might be helpful:
It is much easier to describe and tell a story than to interpret and talk about a general “strength”. So start by asking questions like:
Describing moments of joy, motivation and fulfillment at work is socially acceptable, fun and uplifting.
Invite to talk about team success
When talking about these moments, you can inquire about the team that made it possible:
Invite to talk about details
Invite the client to talk about the details of the story.
Invite to talk about contributions
When the joyful, motivated, successful situation has been described, there might be a feeling of joy and maybe even a bit of pride in the air. Now it might be easier to talk about the client’s contribution:
Invite to talk about learnings
A skill or a strengths are usually learned or developed over time. In order to become aware of one’s strengths talking about how they were developed is an interesting exploration:
Ask for a perspective change
You can probably leave it at “learnings” because clients can draw their own conclusions when they describe what they did. If you are preparing someone for a job interview, it might be helpful to gather language that the client might use in the interview:
I hope these ideas are helpful — do come to our free meetups and exchanges to share your ideas and discuss these and other cases with your colleagues.
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