Outcome Focused: caring most about the what, not the howThe opening question for every coaching session is, “What’s your desired outcome from our time together?” The client will need to recognize and articulate the outcome they wish to achieve. This is the time for the career professional to listen, reflect, and ask probing questions to draw out answers while following a coaching process.
- What pathways have you previously considered?
- What take-a-ways have you gained and what do you hope to accomplish?
- What does this accomplishment look like for you?
- What do you look like in their career mirror?
The phrase, “Start with the end in mind,” generates outcome focus. Focus helps the client avoid distractions that would otherwise take them off course and also provides a gauge for identifying success. We need to stay curious by asking questions that help the client to uncover their own answers and to clarify the outcome.
Stay Curious: eager to know or learn
When we continue to use thought provoking questions, reflection, and empathy, we remain curious. When we stay curious, we journey with the client, guiding them in self-discovery. Open-ended questions are helpful in learning more about the client and allow for reflection. It is important that our questions respect the client’s freedom to choose and not risk leading the client in any direction other than their own. For example, the client may not be looking for a new job but may simply want more out of their current position. Leading questions could distract the client from focusing on their true issue. We must learn all we can to help the client achieve clarity and focus on their personal goals. Clarity is knowing the desired outcome, while focus is knowing what needs to be done to stay on track and reach the desired outcome (Pollack, n.d.).
Obstacle: blocks one’s way, hinders progress
There will be times when clients hit obstacles while gaining clarity. At that point it becomes natural for them to look to the career professional for answers. The moment we stop asking the questions, and begin answering for the client, we have switched to giving advice instead of drawing out the client’s conclusions. When we bring our own experiences, expectations, way of doing things and answers, it could lead to being our outcome and not theirs. We must be mindful to only offer “possible” actions that could assist the client; suggest possible alternatives and then allow time for the client to decide what feels best for them. Once we have nudged the client back on track, we leave our way of thinking and switch our focus back to the client, and continue with their personal discovery. Moving the client from “not sure” to “this is what I want” allows us to move on to the next stage.
Achievement: thing done successfully, typically by effort, courage, or skill
Now that the client has attained clarity about their desired outcome, it is time to break the outcome into smaller, more achievable steps. There needs to be specific actions, a timeline and a measure of successful