Some time ago during basic ICF coaching training, I volunteered for a turn as the coachee in a practice session. The problem was, I had no goal. I was on a hot streak of personal and professional success, and could not think of anything worthwhile to explore or develop. At the moment the session began, it came to me: I would create a plan for arranging care for my dog during my upcoming vacation in Hawaii!
My coach/ classmate Mary wondered why I would need coaching to accomplish such a straightforward task. What was required for this goal, other than contacting all my neighbors and nearby friends and offering return favors until one or several of them agreed to feed and play with my beloved Cupcake? To her credit, Mary did not settle for focusing solely on the plan, and prompted me to consider why I found this task so challenging. With her exploratory coaching, I stumbled onto a key insight, something that had taken me over four decades to realize: I hate asking for favors!
Not only did this awareness far exceed my expectations for a session about dog feeding, it also totally changed my approach to the challenge. Since discovering that asking favors felt so deeply unpleasant, I no longer pursued them, and quickly realized I could turn Cupcake's care into an employment offer. Now that I was clear, comfortable, and aligned (with myself and my goal), the action plan became stress-free and easy to implement.
The outcome of this plan was also superior, because a teenager hungry for extra cash from an easy job performs better than a neighbors and friends who would rather not spend the time. One of these unpaid volunteers once forgot to let Cupcake outside and feed her, and I returned home in the late afternoon to find her locked up in her crate since the previous day. As you can imagine, everyone was very upset about that, especially Cupcake.
Best of all, I have generalized the awareness of my "favor complex" to help me better manage numerous situations, and not only canine care. What a nice result for a practice coaching session, right? Imagine how much more your clients can accomplish, and how much impact you can create, if you coach them to capture awareness of fundamental values and motivations, and don't settle for helping them design the perfect action plan.