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Avoid coaching burnout with frank talk

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

You enter into a coaching relationship with enthusiasm. But over time, the fire can go out—and you dread what you initially enjoyed. If you repeatedly sigh when you see the next coaching session scheduled later in the week, that’s a red flag.

If you’ve lost the drive to coach, the person you’re advising has probably withdrawn as well. It may make sense to talk through next steps using these pointers:

Invite input. Do not begin by bluntly asking, “Are you dreading our sessions too?” Instead, say, “I’ve felt less energy between us in our recent meetings. Let’s step back and assess whether we should make some changes.” Then keep quiet and allow the person you’re coaching to chime in.

Open up. If you’re less invested in the coaching process, say so. Admit that you’re preoccupied with other priorities or you’re unsure of your own coaching prowess. Use phrases such as, “I’m just not putting in enough time as I was earlier in our coaching relationship” or “I’ve taken on so much lately that I don’t have time to prepare for our meetings as well as I’d like.”

Make positive suggestions. After you share your feelings, anticipate that the person will ask, “What now?” Be ready with constructive answers. Examples include, “If you’d like, we can try to continue this online” or “I have another few candidates in mind who might make great coaches for you at this stage.”

— Adapted from “When You Just Aren’t Feeling It in Your Coaching Relationship,” Judy Nelson, www.greatleadershipbydan.com.

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