Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Friday, 31 January 2014

Slow burn - Fast burn?

Where did we get the idea that every coaching session has to produce a magic ‘ah—ha’ moment? These days I meet way to may coaches in my supervision practice who seem to carry around a huge self-induced pressure to produce fireworks in every session - and if they don’t, seem to feel they have failed the client or not done it ‘right’. As a result they push through their coaching sessions without adequate exploration or creativity, in the desire to get their clients somewhere  ... anywhere.

The therapy world talks about the  idea of slow burn change vs fast burn. Fast burn change is where the client rapidly comes to a conclusion or a decision, but may be short lasting or worse, in the wrong direction.  Slow burn change is where nothing much seems to happen until one day the accumulated work precipitates a radical change without it being obvious where it came from.

To my mind, our coaching clients take many decades to get to be the rich, exciting and frustrating mix they are today and it is extreme arrogance on our part to assume that a few hours with a coach will fundamentally change them. Often our work is slow and patient, waiting for the tipping point to come.  Coaches would do well to remember they can only go at the pace of the client .. and to let themselves off the hook if each and every session is not stellar.