3 Things Our Clients Have Taught Us

I've heard it many more times since, but it stuck with me from that first time, although I have no idea where I heard it first, it was when a coaching colleague told me that their practice to keep them present during a coaching session with a client is to ask themselves before each session: "what can I learn from this client?" And it's been one of the greatest lessons over the years as a coach, and something that continues to teach me with each session. Because the reality is that our clients are our greatest teachers. And this is a small part of what they've taught us.

  1. The importance of being heard, supported and held accountable. All 3. Not just 1 or 2 of these things, but all of them at the same time - this is what we ultimately aim to represent as coaches to our clients because we know how impactful that can be to someone. So when we get it right, it's worth everything. Being heard is a fundamental requirement and truly listening is not something that comes naturally all the time. Do you remember the last time you felt misunderstood? Imagine instead that every time we spoke to someone, they're able to truly hear what we're trying to say. What would be different as a result?

  2. The power of perspective. When someone is able to see something from a different point of view and when the lenses they've been wearing suddenly allow them to see clearly or expand their thinking. It can shift a person's entire direction, actions, and plans towards building a life and career that resonates with them. Sometimes the shift is small, but the transformations are just as life-changing. You've probably had these moments with people in your life, you offer your view/opinion/idea and the other person says, "I've never thought about it in that way." You can almost see the light bulb go on somewhere, and with that light, what can they see that was possibly hidden in the dark all this time?

  3. That we all need a helping hand sometimes. Whether it's an exercise helping to clarify a goal, calling a mentor for advice, or something more practical like resume writing tips, we could all use the help, and sometimes it doesn't necessarily come in the form we thought it would. Why do we usually feel like we have to do everything on our own, or that there's a weakness in asking for help? It's a constant reminder that asking for help is not weak but wise.

And so much more. It's one of the best consequences of our job and a list that's ever-growing. Perhaps this topic becomes a series on its own as there are too many lessons to fit into one post and they each deserve their shining moment. And sometimes I need to be reminded multiple times until it becomes a lesson learned, and other times it's a life long lesson.

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