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The Outcome: Time to Reflect

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JC reflects on the importance of building good relationships for coaching to work. He is also offering a free coaching by email service. The series involves 15 emails that will help you become your own life coach. To take part or if you have any questions for JC send an email to jc@trainingzone.co.uk.


I spoke to sales and distribution manager Bill Proctor for about 10 minutes, generally briefing him on what I had done so far. We agreed to spend some time after the sales meeting on 12 October to discuss the two days in more details, and to organise the coaching sessions to come.

I made my notes about my meeting with administration manager Trudy Bradshaw. She had given me important food for thought. I then set off to meet the rest of the team as I had arranged to over the two-day period.

I managed to spend time with everyone I had hoped to, and was able to gather great information that allowed me to get an understanding of the individuals and the general atmosphere in the company. I even managed a couple of minutes with salesperson Tina Pearson at the end of my last day, as she had returned to work in the afternoon.

Having made my last brief notes, I packed away the evidence that told you someone was using the small table in Bill’s office, and went outside to speak to his secretary Shelia. “Thank you so much for all your help Shelia, you have made my work here so much easier,” I said, as she looked up as I appeared out of Bill’s office. It was true, Shelia had been efficient, considerate and positive in how she had dealt with me, and above all else, she had been friendly.

We said our goodbyes and I headed through the office towards the main reception. I passed Trudy as I went through the offices, and I thanked her again for her time and her help. “I was going to thank you,” she said. “It was great to tell somebody about my ideas and thoughts, so thanks for listening to me waffle on. When do we see you again?” I told her I would be back on 12 October. "I will be in again after that, but I don’t know the exact dates yet. You’ll see me again. I want to discuss more of your thoughts and ideas with you if that’s ok?" I added.

I said my goodbyes to all the people I had met over the last couple of days that were on my route. I put my briefcase in the boot of the car, taking out my dictaphone before closing the boot. I got in the car and considered the last two days, running through key points in my mind.

As is always the case with me; as I drive away from an initial period of time with any of my clients, be they individuals or companies, I think of things that maybe didn’t get put in the notes, and this is where the dictaphone is so great.

When I got home, I went straight into my office and spent the next hour or so updating my notes from the thoughts and points I had recorded on the way home.

I made an appointment in my own schedule and blocked out two hours on 10 October, so I could read my notes thoroughly and plan for the sales meeting.

    Key Points:
  • Always check and refresh your notes after any session, as the key to note taking is to get the thought out of your mind, leaving your mind clear to consider other things, and also the thoughts you have written, but from different angles.

  • Develop your own key code for notation, so that you can identify things you considered interesting, important and critical at the time you write them down. This will enable your reflection on the notes to be more focused.

  • Ensure that the atmosphere you generate and leave is open for your return.

  • During the first visit of any coach, your ability to build relationships is paramount. Not everyone wants you there, or indeed wants to share information. Many people Fear the unknown, and although fear is very often just ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. It will cause people to be defensive and reduce the quality of the information you gather dramatically. Your relationship building skills are key to your information gathering.

  • Coaching is about achieving outcomes. Most people spend far too much time focusing on what they want to achieve and drawing the map of how to get there. The problem is, that they make assumptions about where they are starting from, and therefore the map they draw is flawed. Make sure you ascertain clarity of where we are now, and where we want to be, before you begin mapping the route.

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