Introduction by Pat Weiland: We’ve all completed big tasks after extending ourselves beyond what we originally thought to be our capacity. There is a giant sigh of relief upon completion. There can be a party or a little pomp and circumstance. I was talking about the excitement of submitting an RFP for a giant piece of strategic workforce planning business. And I was sitting in the afterglow, sort of wishing I was still in the process. There is no explaining the juicy power in the time after the submission or the party guests have gone or the sigh that has been exhaled.
Until now, when my dear friend Wendy Overend, who recently completed her doctoral studies and while she is exhausted she is in the very juiciest of the stages. She writes about the stages of completion for coaches. Coaches, who usually walk people through all stages of progress, are sometimes left sitting behind. No different from any other human being, coaches are impacted by the same cycles as the rest of the world. So to that, I am being coached by my client / friend / co-conspirator / and pupil. Understanding the process is the first step to harnessing the power.
Guest writer Wendy Overend, Ph.D. writes on completion –
The idea of completion can fill anyone with dread, not least of all coaches. However, if we consider the process of completion, just the same as a process of conflict resolution, or the same as the process of grieving, we can utilize a similar simple model to apply to this natural process of endings.
In doing so, this thought process and model may help us move forward during times of change that deeply impact our livelihood; challenge our sometimes fragile egos, or our hopes and expectations.
The Handbook of Coaching by Fredric M. Hudson states that “coaching offers hope” (pg. xviii.) Hudson shares four simple new rules that can easily be mapped to the model of completion in a coach’s business life:
- The cyclical rule, i.e. managing the art of cycling through, practicing self-renewal.
- The continuous change rule, i.e. not being defeated by ongoing change.
- The inside-out rule, i.e. using your inner beliefs to remain positive.
- The learning-is-for-everyone rule, i.e. remembering that learning IS our primary activity, no matter how young or old we are.
The reality of completion can be overlapped or over layered on these above mentioned rules with the following four questions shared by life coach Chris Petrossian:
- When is it ever complete?
- What did I/we learn?
- What am I proud of? And finally…
- What does this lead to?
Step 1: The cyclical rule and the “when is it ever complete” question.
Reframing, every coach’s gift to their clients should be applied in thinking about the word “completion.” The work of a coach is never complete. The task of completion may include invoicing the final session, getting paid, requesting an evaluation, asking for a recommendation, and requesting a referral. These tasks can be developed into a sequence of tasks that would seemingly indicate completion, but in fact, are tactical maneuvers that prolong the experience and, as such, should be reframed as marketing, business development, institutional advancement, strategy, planning—all these suggest an ongoing engagement.
Add requests for LinkedIn, Facebook (Like), an e-quote for your brochure, website, business card, book jacket, and be sure to get approval for use of client name, or company name, or simply job title, for use in marketing materials, flyers, advertisements, quotes can be written, solicited, copied, but from a coaches perspective need to be tailored to suit the next market, gig, or area of outreach that could bear fruit for new coaching work. See, when is it ever complete? It is continuous… which leads us to rule two…
Step 2: The continuous change rule and the “what did I/we learn?”
Naturally, the insights from coaching are clarifying. It is after we take time retrospectively that we not only see clearly the importance of coaching, but we see what we learned about ourselves in the process, what we learned about the art of coaching, what we learned about listening, and what we learned to say. Additionally, we see in this question what we learned about our tenacity, persistence, and drive to stay the course, to develop and grow as coaches, but also how to develop and grow our business. We are educated with hindsight and reflection. We reframe our own ideas, tweak, rest, renew, rejuvenate, and then we reassess about what we learned. And, we rejoice that our clients learned too.
To that effect, we as coaches must remember our insights and journaled notes from the field. All of these become fodder for future clients, writing, insights for improving and changing our techniques, style, approach to coaching in the future.
Step 3: Inside-out and the what am I most proud of?
The easiest way to see growth is to quantify what you did – be it a six session gig, a two-hour workshop, a four-month assignment, working for two years with a company and their executives, contracting with an HR manager for ongoing trainings, working online, coaching by telephone, coaching international clients from your home office, etc. The first step is to Name It. What did you just do?
Think of all the nuances of what you did; the driving, the meetings, the invoicing, the study, the preparation. Be Proud. Then, taking Byron Katie’s simple tools from “Who Would You Be Without Your Story?,” tell that story using these four questions: Is it true? Can you be absolutely sure it is true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought?
While doing the “inside-out” work, think about what (the quantified version) you did. And think about how important was the impact of the work you did.
Step 4: Learning is for everyone and what does this lead to?
Learning, in the thought of completion, is as simple as looking at what you do differently or did differently as a result of the event that you’ve just completed. Think classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People from the 70’s by Stephen Covey. Covey’s habit of “start with the end in mind”—ask what did you or your client seek to want to change? How will you leverage those learnings for the next step? What is the next step? How long before the next step comes my way? What would the client say they learned? What initiative and responsibility must I make to really keep learning? Stephen Covey says “response-ability” is the ability to choose our response. How will you respond to the newly found space after completion?
So, put yourself in control of a completion model. You’ve made yourself a promise. You held yourself to that promise. And now leave space after completion to create new ideas!
Go to a nearby tree, count the leaves. Go to the beach, scoop up some sand, try to count the grains. Remember your place in the Universe. Think of more clients. Think about getting new clients. Think of referrals. And think of all you have done so far.
Look backwards, but live forwards. All abundance applies to you. Your deserving heritage is abundance. Everything will come to you, and there is enough for all of us.
This abundance applies to you, your creative energy, your generative skills, your talents, and they are all part of your soul purpose to coach and share these gifts with others. Your “job” is to express this soul purpose again, and again, and again.
Yes, completion is part of the process of being and becoming a great, wise, experienced coach, but it doesn’t complete you. Today is the beginning of new learning and a new way of coping with endings. What will it lead to?
Go for it!