The ultimate responsibility of a business coach is to provide a “safe place” to guide and support his or her clients in reaching the clients’ stated objectives. The term “safe place” is critically important to this definition and should be clarified in more detail since the meaning of this term is not necessarily self-evident.
The term “safe place” refers to a positive, supportive environment that is free from judgment or hidden agendas. There are also no self-imposed (or “coach imposed”) limitations on what is possible. In this safe environment, the client is free to speak openly and honestly, knowing that anything discussed will be held in complete confidence. If “providing a safe place” doesn’t seem significant, just think of this:
Business owners (and leaders) are people. They are wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. Many business owners have employees, who also have families. They have vendors. They have clients. They may have shareholders or partners. They have bankers, accountants, and lawyers. And these are the people that business owners usually talk to and get advice from (solicited and unsolicited). The problem is that, due to the nature of those relationships, there are often “hidden agendas” that are represented in the advice from these different constituencies. This is not unfair; it’s just the way it is. Everyone has needs and wants and our opinions or advice may be tainted by having our own ends in mind. To be sure, people don’t do this to be insensitive or manipulative. It’s just human nature.
However, when a person hires a business coach, the coach represents the self-interests of just one person: The client. There are absolutely no hidden agendas – ever.
Another thing our loved ones tend to do is to “protect us”. People don’t want to see their loved ones get hurt and therefore try to protect them from “failure”. They may try to minimize the risk of failing by sharing their own beliefs. This may result in the business owner adopting those beliefs of what can and cannot be done. Imagine how many people lived and died without ever going after their dreams due to a loved one projecting self-limiting beliefs.
The fact is people constantly project their own ideas, opinions, thoughts, agendas, and even fears onto other people. That is normal and precisely why it is so essential to have a place that is “safe” from all that noise. That safe place is with a business coach.
Heike Heemann, LinkedIn and career coach, brings over 20 years of business experience to her blog.