One problem that challenges every coach is the loss of momentum. Whether it’s the summer vacation period, an intense work project that takes you or your colleague out of action for a period of time, or just that occasional and unavoidable scheduling blip, we all face times when the coaching relationship feels stalled, like a sailboat stuck in the middle of the lake on a calm day.
What to do? Start with where you left off. This is when you’ll be thankful that you take notes during meetings with the person you’re coaching. And if you send a little summary note after your sessions, you’ll give another sigh of thanks. At the very least, this gives you a place to start. After catching up on whatever has happened since last talking, you can simply say, “When I look at my notes from our earlier conversations, it looks like we left off by talking about … What’s the update on that issue?”
At this point, you may get a blank stare. Remember, if you feel like the sail is slack, your colleague probably does too. Don’t fear. If that happens, back up a bit further. Review why that issue was important to the person being coached in the first place. Then ask a simple checking question. Something like this might work: “So given all that we just reviewed, how critical is that issue to achieving your goals?”
In the guise of getting started again, you’re doing something very important. You’re bringing the summary of your whole coaching approach right back to the front of mind for you and your colleague, and you’re re-contracting to focus on this issue (or not!).
Whether your colleague jumps back on board that issue or chooses to re-direct your work together, the gentle breeze of momentum should be filling the sails.
What else do you do to re-capture momentum in coaching relationships?