Understanding Your Client

Garrett Sheets

Garrett Sheets, https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheetsgarrett/Garrett Sheets

The Understanding Your Client class in my coaching certification program delved into the “meat and potatoes” of coaching by exploring personality and how coaches, in an effort to best serve each type, must exercise elasticity in their awareness, their perceptions, and their actions. In other words, we must know how to reach and be present with everyone in a way that is the most effective for them. For instance, as I determined during our discussion, I most often exhibit an emotional passive style. Looking at the People matrix figure provided during the PowerPoint, the intersection of these two traits correctly identifies me as primarily a pleaser. Bringing this fact to the forefront of my awareness does two things for me: (1) it helps my identification of other pleasers, which may help build rapport with other pleaser clients or pleaser professionals and (2) it allows me to build a plan around interacting with other types that are different from mine. In my opinion, an effective understanding of others cannot be achieved without a thorough understanding of oneself. All of this being said, how do I get started with understanding others, and identifying different personality styles? Well…as the title of this assignment indicates – practice, practice, practice!

The level of deeper understanding I gained from applying what we learned in coach training was surprising, to say the least. During interactions, I simply asked myself “E or L?” followed by “P or A?” and was able to visualize the People matrix in my head. I will admit, at first it seemed strangely impersonal to me – almost like I was making an experiment out of people. However, I soon learned that when I fully leaned into the discomfort, it became very interesting. (1) How do I practice presence and identify their style in the moment? (2) How does their style influence their goal setting? (3) How will I adjust my coaching for this type of client?

As a final thought, I believe that understanding a client cannot be done in total without an expression of vulnerability on both sides of the conversation. In my opinion, a fruitful coaching relationship starts when a genuine desire to understand is met with a genuine desire to be understood.


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