Part of coaching is understanding what challenges your clients are facing, as well as helping to identify and overcome their blind spots. Sometimes, all that’s required is giving teams or leaders a stronger system, so that they can build on what’s already there and working.
However, there are times when you’ll find people facing moments of quiet crisis. Maybe they’ve become waspish as things have progressed, or have gone unusually quiet. They may talk about trouble sleeping, or simply give off a sense of apathy to major moments or achievements at work — things out of character.
Part of the work you’re doing is to create a best-possible-version of people, individuals and teams confident in their abilities, and who possess the skills and perspectives needed to support that confidence. So what kinds of warning signs should you look for to determine if there’s a crisis brewing, and what are some approaches to helping guide people forward that work? Eleven members of Forbes Coaches Council have this to say:
1. Lack Of Focus
Having a lack of focus is something that can affect the most adept entrepreneur. However, a major life crisis can cause people to get off track. When dealing with clients experiencing grief or loss, I advise them to write in a journal and connect with their feelings. Writing is often therapeutic in nature and helps some people purge negative feelings so they can focus on the tasks at hand. – Lori A. Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group
2. Significant Shift In Behavior
I had a client that completely changed the way they were interacting with me and others. What I found out was that they were going through a difficult time. I functioned as a sounding board and a coach. I know she appreciated having someone there to listen to her and support her through a difficult time. – Brad Federman, F&H Solutions Group
Clients who have too much on their plate, and tell me that they are fine as their voice quivers, is a denial flag for me. To break the denial, I ask my clients to imagine that I am a friend they care about and I repeat what’s on their plate back to them. Asking them what they would say to their dear friend in response, they inevitably tell me that I am carrying too much. This breaks their denial. – Alexandra Salamis, Integral Leadership Design
When clients of mine have trouble concentrating, are not able to focus and have issues that seem out of character, there is something wrong. Before I confront them and their behavior, I like to find out how they have been sleeping. They can’t break destructive thoughts and it shows in lack of sleep. I refer them for professional help and try to help them get rest by dealing with the issues. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
5. Feeling Stuck
When a person feels stuck or that they’re wading through mud, and that is consistent over a period, this is a clear sign for you, their coach, to sit up and take notice. To navigate this, reality check the truth. Are you telling yourself a story that may be different from reality? The way forward is to completely get involved in your core values, while building trust and your authenticity. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC