As I mentioned in my earlier article, I am relatively new to this side of coaching.  Although I have spent a couple of years as a PBC, the experiences of being the one to help guide the discussion are still new and sometimes perplexing to me.  One common and inevitable occurrence that I don’t feel fully prepared for is the ending of a coaching relationship.  Happily, none of my associations to date have ended on a negative note–although I’m sure that time will come.  But just the normal fulfillment of a contract has been surprisingly full of unexpected thoughts and emotions for me.

To begin with, I have formed a connection with the PBC.  Although I may have never laid eyes on the person’s face, I have been privy to some of their deepest thoughts.  We have talked for hours and hours, and I feel invested in their accomplishments.  We may have cried together.  We definitely have laughed.  We have pushed through times of indecision and discouragement.  And we have celebrated both small and gigantic successes.  A bond has formed, and I am sad to let it go.  What will happen to their plans?  Will they follow through on these last steps?  Will they call me again if they get stuck?  I feel like a mother hen sending out her chicks … and worrying about the foxes.

Even harder is the PBC who simply fades away.  He cancels appointments or just doesn’t show.  He may have made some great progress but then suddenly appears to lose interest.  Or it may be that the challenges seem too great or that he doesn’t want to do the work.  But, because he just disappears, I can never really know what happened.  Was it my fault or was he not ready to move?  The lack of closure frustrates and leaves me hanging.

And, finally, how do I evaluate the time I’ve spent?  Did I do all I could to be the best coach for this individual?  I’ve considered various ways to approach this topic:  email an evaluation form, ask during the last few minutes of our final conversation, or just let the experience speak for itself.  Mostly, I have used the second method counting on the PBC to be honest and guiding them to give me the good, bad and ugly truths from their perspectives. But I wonder if writing their responses would allow them more freedom to be open with me.

So … will you give me a hand?  How do you handle the resolution of your coaching relationships?  Do you experience some of the same emotions I’ve mentioned?  How do you deal with the PBC who just fades away?  Or the one who responds negatively to your approach as a coach?  And how do you get the appropriate amount of feedback to insure that you are doing your best work and growing as a coach?  My inquiring and inexperienced mind really wants to know.  And thanks in advance for sharing your experiences with me.

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