Take Off the Blinders! Coaching Based on Perceptual Style
the honor and privilege of working with a broad range of clients in a variety
of different contexts. Whether the context for that coaching is professional or
personal, clients reveal what life is like from their unique perspective. What
might come easily for one client is a constant struggle for another. What feels
like an opportunity to one client feels hugely intimidating to another… and the
list of differences goes on and on.
Some clients have developed a self-consciousness of their inner lives. In the course of situations that challenge their intuitions, judgments, views, and realities, they ask themselves, “Why do I respond in this way? Would someone else respond the same way? What is it that makes me different?”
Most, however, have never asked themselves those types of questions, and remain relatively unaware of the differences between their perspectives and that of those around them.
Whether or not your client has developed this kind of self-reflective consciousness, as a coach, you need to be aware of his/her individual and unique perspectives in order to be effective in your coaching.
Because understanding your client’s innate Perceptual Style is a critical component of:
· Communicating effectively
· Creating real motivation for change
· Creating a development plan your client will find energizing and exciting (rather than overwhelming or dull)
· Overcoming seemingly “unmovable” obstacles to personal or professional fulfillment
· Helping clients to understand themselves (and, in the long run, become their own best coach)
Once you understand your client’s innate Perceptual Style, you can help to pinpoint their strengths and natural abilities as well as their weaknesses and persistent set-backs.
For example, the Vision style client will be inspired by a big-picture goal, and will jump into the challenge of getting there with both feet. This type of client has no problem working with incomplete information, or in switching tactics when one approach doesn’t work out.
The client with the Adjustments style, on the other hand, will need more information in order to proceed, and will feel more comfortable working with a clear plan. This Style, too, is willing to change approaches, but only after more information has become available, and usually in a more incremental way.
The good news is that each of the six innate Perceptual Styles comes with a vast array of talents, skills and abilities. Helping clients tap into those natural assets – rather than pushing them to develop ‘acquired skills,’ that don’t come easily – will help them power through obstacles and overcome challenges in a way that feels completely natural.
The key to getting a handle on your clients’ innate Perceptual Style is using the right assessment – one specifically developed to help you, the coach. Rather than relying on a one-size-fits all coaching model – or on your basic intuition -- the right assessment will unlock the world as it appears to your clients, as opposed to how the world appears to the person who developed your coaching system, or to you.
After all, no matter how great a coach you may be – or how natural the coaching process may be for you – you have your own innate Perceptual Style, too. The right assessment can help you see beyond your own biases and offer the most value to your clients.