No Obligation Phone Call

No Obligation Phone Call

A former client contacted me last month to ask about hiring me for coaching support. He is a contractor working in an interim position and was struggling with his ability to impact the organization in the way he wanted and in the way they had hired him to do.

This situation he was working in was quite different to what was communicated when he was brought on board – the budget was not within his department but held by an executive in another division, there was only one direct report on the “team”, and a senior leader in the organization openly criticized my client’s area of responsibility.

After many months of trying to make a difference my client wanted support in figuring out what to do, and contacted me for coaching advice. I replied that I was more than happy to have a discussion to see what coaching was needed and what commitment that would be, as I provide a no obligation phone call to offer advice to all potential clients. Given it was December and we had different holidays schedules I emailed some preparation work in advance of our discussion which we agreed would be in the New Year. The preparation work included thinking about the goals for the coaching, for his work this year, for the organization with which he was contracted and for himself as a person.

Before our discussion I received the preparation work – it clearly identified all the goals and in doing so had in fact answered some of the questions he had. I then asked a few more questions about those goals relative to his values (which I knew from working with him previously and which had come through his initial contacting email in his frustration with the situation).

A couple of days before our call I received another email stating clearly what he wanted for himself relative to the contract position and the steps he wanted to discuss to get there. Our call lasted 45 minutes during which we talked about how he’d feel executing what he had written to me, what the steps were to get it, brainstormed potential consequences and hence alternative actions, reviewed timing and secured commitment to himself. The last 5 minutes I spent saying I didn’t think an on-going coaching program was necessary. He was surprised at first and realized he didn’t need anything more than what he had already done in preparation for this discussion and with what he had just refined on the phone. Done.

In terms of my business some could argue this was a bad process as I “emailed” myself out of work. And I’m ok with that; my focus is on getting people to be aware of themselves and make conscious choices, equipping themselves to continue to live that way. I may not have “made any money” – I didn’t charge as we had agreed just to have a no-obligation discussion and it was a former client – and I’m sure karma will kick in somewhere down the line.

He’s in the process of executing his plan and is convinced it is the right thing for him, and he has some new potential work that is more aligned to his values.

What would you have greater clarity about if you spent some time just thinking about what you wanted more of in your job, business or life?