What does consent look like in the coach/client relationship? This video shares real-life examples of consent in business & life coaching, so that you know exactly what you're getting into and what to expect when we work together in a 1:1 coaching capacity!
(This topic is relevant to both business coaching AND success and life coaching settings)
Quick overview of what's in this video:
- 0:00 Intro
- 1:05 Example for what consent in business coaching looks like in my Solopreneur CEO 1:1 coaching program, BEFORE we even begin working together
- 2:20 Example for what consent in business coaching looks like in my Solopreneur CEO 1:1 coaching program, DURING our work together in a 6-month coaching container and throughout our coaching sessions
- 5:15 Example for what consent in business coaching looks like in my Solopreneur CEO 1:1 coaching program, at the END of us working together in a client/coach relationship, and AFTER we wrap up working together in a client/coach relationship
- 7:15 Why we’re discussing this topic today, and how a friend’s spouse asked me about some mindset coaching and career change for my friend
- 8:15 The FIRST thing I did to get consent from my friend, before we started having the conversation
- 8:40 The SECOND thing I did to get consent from my friend, while we were having the conversation
- 9:00 The THIRD thing I did to get consent from my friend, to wrap up the conversation
- 9:15 The difference between wearing my “friend hat” vs my “coaching hat,” and how I differentiate between these and change my approach to the conversation
- 10:30 A few things I CAN do in an informal session, wearing my friend hat as a success and life coach
- 12:20 How this is very different from an official coaching session (spoiler alert: an informal “coaching” conversation when I’m wearing my “friend hat” as opposed to my “coach hat” is VERY similar to my free content, similar to these videos!), and why a more formal coaching session gets you results much faster
- 14:15 Safety and informed consent in business coaching and success & life coaching settings (and how this is built into our coaching sessions together)
- 16:15 Wrap-up
Are you curious about hiring a coach? Do you ever wonder what the coach client relationship might look like? Are you hesitant about hiring a coach because it feels a little bit uncomfortable or you're concerned about how safe of a space it might be? In today's video, let's talk about coaching and consent.
My name is Sagan Morrow and I am an anti hustle Productivity Strategist and internationally board certified Success and Life Coach who specializes in working with solopreneurs. Be sure to grab my free training, Anti Hustle Secrets to Solopreneur Success!
Now let's get into today's video — coaching and consent. Consent is extremely important throughout your coach-client relationship: The beginning (before it's even started), during the entire experience, at the end of it, and afterwards as well. So for example, I have a six month one to one coaching program called Solopreneur CEO, and here is how I incorporate consent at every single stage and level of it…
At the beginning, before a client has even joined Solopreneur CEO — they've maybe reached out and inquired about my services, checking in about whether coaching might be good for them. And in that case, I am very clear about providing as many details as possible and being extremely transparent about what is and is not in the program, what they should expect and what is not included in it and continue to ask if they have additional questions, rather than just throwing links at them and saying, “sign up, sign up!”
Instead, I'm asking them, “Do you have any other questions? Is there anything else that I can help you with? Do you have any other concerns that I can let you know whether this might be the best fit for you?”
The most important thing is always about making sure that it is the best decision for their unique situation and that they feel fully empowered to make that right decision for them. So it is my job, as your coach — before you've even hired me! — to help you make the best decision for your unique needs. It's all about ensuring that if you're still interested, here's the information; and if you're not interested or it's not a good fit, that's absolutely okay as well. You can feel free to reach out and inquire without the pressure of I'm going to be super salesy about any of it.
Now, during the middle of our actual coaching experience, here's what kind of happens during the sessions themselves, because again, it's a six month coaching program…
During our actual coaching sessions on the call, I'm going to often be pointing out things that I noticed or things that I suspect might be at play that the client is kind of working through, and I will continue to ask them, “Is this okay? If we dive into this, are you comfortable with us addressing this right now? Can we dive in a little bit deeper to this?”
It's always about ensuring that they feel very comfortable and that they are consenting: “Yes, we can work on this” or “No, you know, I don't feel comfortable with that.” I have had clients say, “You know what, I don't think that I'm ready to get into that aspect right now.” And I've said “Okay, that's not a problem!” We can always approach things from a variety of different angles to make sure that you are fully consenting and feel really safe the entire time.
And you might also get to that point where you think, where you say, “Yes, we can start talking about that,” and then as we're talking about it, you might say, “You know what, I'm actually not ready for this,” and that's okay, too. I'm going to be continuing to ask you as we're having these conversations, “Is this okay? Are you alright with us continuing to talk about this?” and that kind of thing.
I'm also always watching you to determine any unspoken discomfort or interest to continue going further. That is another part of my job, as a coach, is to see all of the things that are underneath the surface — that you might not be vocalizing — so ensuring that you're consenting not only by saying “Yes, we can continue this,” but also that I'm checking in with your behaviour, your expressions, and that kind of thing to ensure that okay, underneath the surface, you are still continuing to consent; that it is okay that we are diving into these things on a deeper level.
And it is always okay, it is always okay if there are certain topics that you do not feel comfortable with diving into. That's okay! We can always again, approach things from a variety of different angles. Your safety and your informed consent are so so important.
We always want to make sure that we also provide continual check-ins on an ongoing basis. So, at the end of each session, I'm always good to check in see how you're feeling and ensure that you are in a good place to be able to do the work that we discussed, implement things after the session, and that you consent to “yes, these actions feel good to me, I'm happy to move forward with this on an ongoing basis.”
We do a lot of those types of continual check-ins. You always have space to let me know how you're feeling. I'm always going to ask you what you're thinking and experiencing, feeling, “is this okay?” And then we move forward from there so we can pivot a lot as needed at the end of the coaching container.
At the end of our six months of working together, that's when I will again ensure your consent; I will inquire if you want to continue working together, or if there's a different capacity that might be best supporting you and that kind of thing. So it's always going to be checking in: “Would you like to continue this? Is there a different way that you'd like for us to work together?” etc.
And then afterward, I might invite you to share testimonials (again, without any pressure — just checking in if you would like to consent to particular testimonials, if there's feedback that you'd like to give me that you would prefer to be kept anonymous or kept private and you don't want me to share it at all, or if you want your name but maybe maybe not any other identifying details included; so you get to consent at every single single stage of that as well). And also I will invite you to share updates with me. You get to share updates as much as you feel comfortable with; again, you get to consent to that.
And one of the things that I forgot to mention that I always do during our time together is checking in with what you consent to share with me of the work that we are doing together. So, in Solopreneur CEO, you'll get access to the Productivity Powerhouse e-course, and that includes a lot of guided questions and doing a workbook on your own. So I always invite you to share that workbook with me if you feel comfortable with that — your answers to that workbook.
When you share those workbook answers with me, I can start to pinpoint certain things and see things that you might not be able to see, and then we can work on that together throughout our sessions. But if you don't feel comfortable sharing your workbook answers with me, it's not a requirement! You can give me a bullet point recap of anything that jumps out at you. You can also just share with me anything general. Or, you don't need to share with me any of the things that you're coming up with. So it's always, again, that consent is integrated into every single aspect that we are doing.
Now, the reason why I want to talk about coaching and consent today is because I was thinking a lot about this recently when I was out with some friends. So I was hanging out with my friend and her spouse, and her spouse was telling me about how my friend is thinking of this career change. And he said, “Sagan, I think that this is what's going on with her mindset. Don't you agree? What should she do about it?”
My friends know the type of coaching that I do and the mindset work, we've talked about it a lot in the past and that kind of thing. So he said “I think that this is what's happening with her; you agree with me, right? And what do you think she should do about it?”
Now, this is wonderful. And it was all of course from a very loving place and everything like that. But the first thing that I wanted to do before I answered his questions was to make sure that my friend actually felt comfortable talking about it and that she was actually consenting to it. Because he was the one who brought it up, which is great and that's totally fine, but I didn't want to address it or discuss it unless she actually was okay with it and that she consented with it. So I was watching her as he was talking about it and then I outright asked her, “Are you okay with us talking about this? And are you okay with us discussing this right now?” So I just needed her consent since it was his idea and he was the one who brought it out.
Once I got her consent, the second thing was to be very cautious about the types of questions that I was asking because we weren't in a coaching capacity. So I wanted to be very cautious about ensuring that the types of questions that we were going over weren't things that were going to bring up a bunch of stuff that she would then be left to deal with on her own after we had finished our hangout.
And the third, the third thing that I did was to follow her lead in continuing the conversation for as long as she wanted it and allowing her to change the subject when she didn't want to go forward with it. This is really one of those scenarios where I am very, very careful about when I'm wearing my friend hat versus my coaching hat!
So as a friend, if we're chatting about something that's going on in your life that, you know, could absolutely have coaching things that would help with that, or there's mindset pieces or there are any kind of internal bottlenecks, I will be sympathetic. I will be a friend for you. I might ask you some questions about it. But if you have not consented to be in a coaching capacity, right, then we are not having a coaching session. We are not in a coaching dynamic. I'm not going to dig in and ask you a bunch of coaching style questions. I'm also not going in there with the multiple types of listening that I would normally do with clients.
When I'm working with clients in a coaching session, I am listening in a variety of different ways for what's going on beneath the surface. If I'm hanging out with friends, I'm not doing that for a number of reasons but in part simply because if we are out, you know at a restaurant or out having a drink or something like that, then there's there's going to be far too many distractions and I will not have that capacity to ensure that I can fully focus and do all of those different types of listening at every single level.
So here's what I CAN do in an informal setting: I can offer a few gentle questions. So for example, in this case, my friend's spouse was saying she should probably start a business. Right? That's what he was kind of saying, he's like, “Well, if you want a career change, you should start your own business.” And I kind of explained that it's often not quite so simple as that. It's not so easy to just say “okay, you know what, if you are not happy about your career, then you should start a business.” It's not if this then that! Because sometimes, that's not the way that it's just automatically going to work. That's not gonna be the right fit for anyone.
Instead, we went over a few examples of the questions that she can kind of think about, and moreover, to determine what it is about her current career that isn't working, why that is and so on. So it's really about ensuring that you're getting at the underlying things that are happening, rather than just jumping to that immediate conclusion of, “if this career doesn't feel good any more than you could start your own business.” It's not a linear type of thing — There could be many different things happening beneath the surface, many different reasons for why that's going on and what's really going on. And as a result of that, then we can kind of figure out what those sort of next best steps are for your unique situation.
And I also offered those questions to her without asking them and expecting an answer. Because again, we weren't in a coaching container. So instead, I said, “here's a few things that you can think about.”
Another thing that I can do in that sort of informal capacity is to give you a suggestion, or an exercise to try to write a thought experiment or a little activity to kind of try to work things out. So this is very helpful because it gives you the direction and also some kind of an actionable idea to then move forward in the right direction.
Now again, this is not the same as an official coaching session, because I'm not walking you through all of this. I'm not doing a full recap later on and pivoting as needed, right. We are not doing deep coaching together. I'm sharing questions that you can ask yourself, but I'm not asking you the questions myself.
When I'm asking you the questions, I'm hearing certain key pieces that I can then sort of draw out to guide you into the next question and the next so that you can come to the best answers for your unique situation, or we can come to the best answers for your unique situation together right now. We do it in a coaching capacity, but it's much different if you're navigating those questions on your own. And that's really what we're doing. And that sort of friend capacity is kind of like, “here's some things that you can kind of explore on your own.”
…So in other words, coaching as a friend, that sort of informal coaching or being asked in a very informal setting, “what do you think Sagan about sort of like with the coaching side of things,” when I'm in that sort of setting, it's kind of like a lot of my other free content that I provide — for example, these videos!
These types of videos are a really good example of what I'm doing if friends are asking me for things outside of an actual coaching session. So this stuff, if I'm in that sort of setting or in these videos, this stuff really helps you get from point A to point B, or even to point C or D or E maybe even point F.
But when we do an actual coaching session together, you and I, we typically go from point A to point L or M in that first session, and then within another few sessions will likely be at point T or U, and so on. So we move much faster, much farther, and with relative ease inside that coaching container.
Now, getting back to the safety and informed consent of all of this in a coaching session, you're supported with my undivided attention throughout your call and at the end we check in to make sure everything feels good, you feel safe, you feel comfortable moving forward.
And I always, always make sure that you feel better at the end of a call than you did coming into it — I never want to leave you hanging. If for whatever reason you're still feeling overwhelmed or discomfort or anything like that, then we're going to stay on the call and ensure that you feel in a better place than when you joined on the call. I'm not just going to say, “Oh, our time's up. There we go. Time to go.” I'm always going to make sure you're in a good place. And that's when we part until the next session.
Of course, I'm always going to check in with my friends or you know, in an informal sort of setting and ensure that they feel good as we're sort of moving out of it. But often we don't dive in deep enough for it to really get to that point where they might feel any kind of discomfort or anything like that, because it's a lot more challenging to create those safety structures in that informal setting. It's a lot more challenging to get deeper into things and ensure that okay, now you can move forward with the support pieces in place — they don't have those same sort of coaching support pieces in place in an informal sort of setting. So that's why we don't get too deep into anything; we don't get so deep into anything that you can't safely navigate it out of it on your own.
That's why anytime you're consuming my free content, like these videos, or anytime that we might be in an informal setting, we're never going to get too deep into it. You might still experience some really awesome shifts! But just know that if we are working together in an actual coaching capacity, then we get very deep into things because all of the structures are in place that you will be fully in that safe place to be able to get that deep.
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