Throughout the first month of our coaching engagement, I gave my client honest feedback on various aspects of his leadership style.
Now it was my turn to get his feedback. And to be honest, it felt a bit like a needle to a balloon: a quick sting followed by a slow deflation.
“You told me to be upfront if I had any issues with the coaching,” he wrote in an email.
“So I’ll just be honest,” he continued. “I’m a linear thinker and I need a direct approach. I don’t think we’re getting anywhere with all your open-ended questions.”
The message went on to say,
“When I was working with my mentor last year, he suggested an action plan and I was checking off the steps. I feel like you and I are constantly brainstorming and reflecting rather than getting things done.”
Hired by this executive to help him shift perceptions of his approach, I wasn’t completely surprised. I was used to clients initially resisting the self-discovery that effective coaching requires before planning action. But he seemed so sure of what he wanted.
I wondered what I could have done differently. And then I began to understand the real source of his resistance.