Coach’s Corner – Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
William Shakespeare said it best, “Parting is such sweet sorrow!” When you’ve established a certain level of trust, understanding and even friendship with someone, it’s difficult to end that relationship. In a coaching relationship, parting ways is a must, and can be a sign of success.
Unlike a mentor, engagements with coaches are goal-oriented and have specific start dates, and either target end-dates or estimations of number of meetings. I know it sounds transactional and task-oriented, but that’s exactly what needs to happen for ‘clients’ to gain the greatest value from their coaches. Clients understand what they want to achieve, and coaches know how to help their clients achieve these goals. This doesn’t mean coaches will do the work for clients, nor does it mean coaches are responsible for the progress. However, coaches can help manage and hold their clients accountable to lack of progress.
The obvious reason for ending coaching relationships is that clients have achieved their goals. To continue engagements without a goal, simply because they enjoy each other’s company or conversation is beside the point of the coaching engagement. Clients may choose to continue with their coaches on a separate goal, as a new engagement.
Here are some other reasons why relationships between clients and coaches can end:
- The client doesn’t feel needs are met by the coach (lack of rapport with coach, discomfort with coaching style or personality).
- Coach feels client’s needs cannot be met. The coach might acknowledge that coaching isn’t the right support based on the client’s needs, or that the client isn’t open to coaching. In these cases, coaches may refer another coach or another support service.
- Changes in the client’s needs (such as de-prioritized goal, goal met by other means such as training, lack of resources such as time or budget).
As a coach, I love the opportunity to work with and help others. At the same time, I know the limits of coaching (as well as my own limits). This post is a reminder that ending coaching relationships, whether or not expectations were met, is a good thing and allows us to move forward.
I’m leaving you with one of my favourite songs from the Manhattans (check out the outfits and dance moves!):
Check out more blog posts in this series: Coach’s Corner.