Because competency 3 is focused on the agreement, consider the entire process with a diversity lens. How the formal agreement is done – verbally or in writing – calls for sensitivity to client culture. Exploring what the client wants to focus on and address means being aware of possible influencers based on their culture and experiences. Incorporate curiosity, humility, flexibility, and a focus on the client throughout.
Competency 4 is Cultivates Trust and Safety, defined as “partners with the client to create a safe, supportive environment that allows the client to share freely. Maintains a relationship of mutual respect and trust.” The number one indicator of success in a coaching relationship is rapport and that requires ensuring a safe place where the client knows they can trust the coach. This in turn means a client can and will share freely and be open to questions that invite them to think about what influences them and their perceptions. The best way to earn trust is to give it and to follow through on commitments. The agreement process and discussing ethics set the foundation; it is essential the coach give trust and respect to cultivate trust and safety.
Competency 4.1 states “seeks to understand the client within their context which may include their identity, environment, experiences, values, and beliefs.” This means caring about and getting to know the client. Competency 4.1 reenforces this “demonstrates respect for the client’s identity, perceptions, style, and language and adapts one’s coaching to the client.” Whoever the client is, the coach seeks to understand, demonstrates respect, and adapts to them.
Competency 4.6 states “demonstrates openness and transparency as a way to display vulnerability and build trust with the client.” As a coach, when we are open, transparent, and vulnerable, we make it safe for the client to also be open, transparent, and vulnerable. The value of coaching shines through when we engage in this way.
More in the next blog.