There was once a school of thought that said a coach didn’t’ really need to understand the business the client was in, in order to coach well. Some have even opined that we don’t’ need to have anything in common with our clients at all. We are the invisible guide, the mirror, and the one who draws forth all that comes from the client – nothing comes from the coach. Well imagine my surprise when I spent 10 minutes of a coaching call today talking sports with a client. We talked about the 49’ers, A-Rod and the steroids scandal and Messi coming off the injured list to score 2 goals for Barcelona.
Am I an aficionado of sports? Not really. But I can talk cars, sports, cigars, and good scotch when I need to. How does this help me as a coach? Well it’s all about connecting with others.
If I am coaching a neurosurgeon, you can bet I’m going to learn a little bit about the brain. If I’m coaching a vice president of pharmaceutical sales, well, I’d best read up on the industry, FDA approvals and the challenges of meeting quotas.
Connecting with clients can happen lots of ways. We listen deeply, we believe fully, we mourn and celebrate with our clients, and we have to know them and what’s important to them in order to do so.
Here are three ways to get to know your client
- Listen for clues – do they use sports analogies? Brush up on your basketball, football or hockey!
- Take time for small talk – what’s in the details tells you a LOT about your client. Do they talk about family, art, the latest best seller? Brush up on their interests.
- Google them /their company – yep the internet is a great way to do a bit of research. 10 minutes of research can yield a deeper and more meaningful connection with your client
I don’t really know if Kaepernick can pull it off next Sunday, but I DO know that what’s important to my clients is important to me.