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Gardening as Coaching

September 27, 2010

Filed under: Coaching,Gardening — admin @ 7:13 am

My neighbor planted a new rhododendron in his front yard recently. It’s probably not a big deal to most of you but to a gardener like me I couldn’t help but notice that it was exactly the wrong type of plant for the location.

Without going all green on you I would just note that a rhododendron has shallow roots that don’t like to dry out. So if you’re looking for  a maintenance free garden, planting one in the bright sun where it will need to be watered almost daily during the summer,  is just a recipe for disaster.

It’s a lot like coaching, every client is different and requires a different coaching method. In a similar vein most coaches have their favorite tool just like gardeners, but you have to know when it doesn’t fit the task at hand.

For plants you have to know how much sun , water and what kind of soil is appropriate. For coaching clients you have to know how your client communicates, how they want to be treated and what they expect from the coach.

Some clients have to talk through issues while others need to write a journal and others just want to listen to alternatives. Finding what communication method is right and what filters affect their view of the world might be the toughest job a coach has.

Unfortunately, unlike gardening, you can’t just look up your client in a gardening book and find out how they need to be handled. But if you are patient and listen you have a pretty good chance of opening up the lines of communication and helping your client thrive. Just like your plans.

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