Lessons Learned in Matching (or Rematching) a Coach with a Client

One of the most powerful underpinnings of high impact coaching is the match between the client and coach. This match is based on many things and is both a science and an art. Here is how we successfully match clients with coaches at Blanchard.

  • We know our coaches—their strengths, their style, and who fits the profile for their ideal client.
  • We consider geography as one of many factors, but not necessarily the first factor.
  • We explore the needs of the client. What do they want to achieve? Who do they like to work with? The more we know about the client, the better we can match them to a coach.
  • We explore the needs of the client’s organization. What does the boss think? What are desired outcomes? How will the organization know that outcomes have been achieved?
  • We ask the client to put some skin in the game, often in the form of a chemistry call with one or more prospective coaches.

And we rematch if we get it wrong.

We want the client to have the right coach. Relationship and rapport are of the utmost importance in coaching—and not every coach fits every client. Although it rarely happens, in the seventeen years we’ve been doing coaching there have been times we’ve had to rematch a client with a different coach. Here are some examples of what happened and what we learned.

  • A coach missed her first session with the client. It was a simple time zone issue, but the coach just couldn’t recover trust. We swapped to a new coach and the client is now deeply engaged in his own development. He appreciated the quick response and the high touch recovery.
  • A coach worked with a client for several sessions but wasn’t seeing the high impact we expect. He talked to his Coaching Solutions Partner (head coach) and we then reached out to the client. We explained that we wanted the client to have a phenomenal experience. The client agreed to try a new coach. His feedback was that it was the “best decision ever.”
  • A coach made an error during a second coaching session, confusing one client with another. The client in the coaching session felt marginalized and asked for a new coach. We learned that feedback from a client is a powerful learning and development opportunity for our coaches. The coach in question now has a better system in place for herself: she consistently takes a break between coaching sessions to allow herself to properly prepare.

3 Signs a Rematch Might Be Necessary

Our experience as a business-to-business organization with more than 143 coaches worldwide has given us good insight into some of the early warning signs that the client and coach match isn’t what it should be.  These signs should be monitored as part of any internal organizational coaching you might be managing. If you are a human resources business partner tasked with managing the coaching of others in your organization, here are three signs to look for:

  1. Clients are rescheduling frequently.
  2. Clients are not looking forward to their scheduled coaching sessions.
  3. Learning is not occurring.

If you see any of these signs, what do you do?  A frank conversation with the client is a great place to start. Have a backup plan in place—and another coach who can step in as a better fit.

Ultimately, trust and rapport are key elements to a great match. Our goal is to serve clients in achieving their desired outcomes.  If that’s not happening, we won’t hesitate to suggest a better fit.

About the Author

Patricia OverlandPatricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team.  Since 2000, Blanchard’s 150 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.

One thought on “Lessons Learned in Matching (or Rematching) a Coach with a Client

  1. Learning is not occurring and this is no. 3 to describe the desired outcome of clients. The satisfaction of clients is vital in this business and coaches should abide the value of time and session. Learning mechanism of individuals plays a vital role in coaching success. It’s good writing and informative too. Thank you.

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