Coaching is a key resource and service we provide at Eagle Center for Leadership. We work diligently to walk with our clients and develop strong relationships with them in order to make a difference in the lives of leaders. As a coach, it is important to continuously sharpen your “blinking" skills. Blinking is the ability to quickly assess another person in order to understand them at a deeper level. Blinking allows you, as the coach, the ability to formulate thoughts and actions on how to better connect with your client. It challenges you to be aware of your client’s personality, perspective, style of communication, and other behavioral aspects so that your connection can be stronger. It is our responsibility as the coach, to continuously practice, experiment, and work at honing our “blinking” skills.
So, let’s look at how you “blink” using your knowledge of the personality profile. How can you tell if your client is a Much-Loved Monkey, Leading Lion, Competent Camel, or Tranquil Turtle?
Characteristics to listen for or look for if you think your client is a Much-Loved Monkey:
Monkeys are loud, fun, and playful. They will tell jokes and reach out to “touch” through a hug, handshake, or pat on the back. They like to feel connected to you and value the conversations you create with them. They receive validation from words of encouragement about them as a person. To connect with a Monkey, make it about “fun.” Remember, they want your approval. Look for ways to give them what they need.
Characteristics to listen for or look for if you think your client is a Leading Lion:
Lions are direct and to the point. Lions move fast and furious. They have strong personalities and are capable of making quick decisions. They are task driven and goal oriented. Lions are competitive. They tell it like it is. Once given a task, they work, work, work until it is done. They are considered workaholics. To connect with a Lion, be direct and straight to the point. They receive validation from affirmation around the big task they are working on. Remember, quick and direct comments on their task are all they need. Be concise, clear, and you will hit the mark.
Characteristics to listen for or look for if you think your client is a Competent Camel:
Camels are about the process. They are well organized and follow the rules. They do not like spontaneity, but prefer a plan. Camels need to make lists and will do their homework from the coaching session. To connect with a Camel, be sure to prepare your questions and agenda. Create a structured format for processing the coaching session. They are not wired for casual, off-the-cuff conversation. They need to have a purpose or reason for having dialogue. Camels receive validation from feedback on the specifics and details of their task. Remember to speak to the process and notice what they have done.
Characteristics to listen for or look for if you think your client is a Tranquil Turtle:
Turtles are very methodical and relational. They value one-on-one conversation and relationships. They bring wisdom to a situation and are intensely loyal. When they speak, people listen because of their well thought out response. When connecting with a Turtle, remember to slow down and allow them to have some processing time. They need mental space to formulate their ideas. Your first session may just be about connection and getting to know the important relationships in their life. Understand, this is key to connecting with your Turtles. They will assess your authenticity and formulate their willingness to allow you to coach them based on your ability to build this type of relationship with them. Turtles receive validation from the one-on-one relationship you will share. It is important to know who is important to them. The time you take to connect with them on these terms will pay dividends.
So as the coach, be aware of how you may come across to the person you are coaching. Your personality may help or hinder your ability to truly connect.
If you are a strong Much-Loved Monkey coach, remember to slow down and not be so excited or move quickly to make it fun. You can come across as frivolous and unauthentic. The client may question your skill level.
If you are a strong Leading Lion coach, slow down and listen. Do not focus on the coaching session as a “task,” but rather a meaningful conversation, a time to learn about your client. As a Lion, you can come across as intense and not caring about them as a person. The client may question your ability to truly understand them.
If you are a strong Competent Camel coach, be aware that you may drive structure verses creating the environment that the client may need in the moment. You may come across as too structured, unable to flex to address the ever-changing business issues that the leader may be currently be experiencing. The client may feel that you are driving the session with your agenda verses allowing them to have free flowing, valuable conversation.
If you are a strong Tranquil Turtle coach, you are loyal and care holistically about your client. Because you naturally have a more introverted style, your loyalty may not be known by the client. You may come across as passive, quiet, and unengaged. This may cause the client to not fully connect with you because they may perceive you as unable to really identify with what they are going through. The client may question the value that you can provide and not make time for you to coach them.
You as the coach have the ability, desire, and skills to make a difference. Remember to consistently work at “blinking”. You will not do it perfectly every time. The secret is in trying. Use this as a tool to understand yourself and how you can come across to your client. Use this as a resource to better connect with your client. Know that the strong relationship that you build and facilitate is the base for the coaching relationship to be successful. Practice, try, mess up, and “blink” again. This will make you the kind of coach that your client needs.