Contracting is the foundation of coaching and of good business

Within the vision of the International Coaching Federation is a dream for everyone in the world to live the competencies of coaching. Imagine a world where everyone honoured the adult in themselves and each other; where we are fully present with one another listening and reflecting – absolutely clear about boundaries as we work together towards a well formed outcome and having contracted about how we might deal with pitfalls and conflict.

The newspapers sure would read differently!

Lives are changed by coaching. As a coach for over 25 years I know how changed I am by the experience. I know too how empowered so many clients feel by the absolute attendance to themselves they get from being coached. A couple of years ago during the Olympics in London when I was addicted to watching events, I was constantly struck by medal winning athletes thanking their coaches. Winning is a collaboration.

As a coach I watch clients win promotions. I watch them win their nerve before a presentation to the board. I see them win back control of their lives, spending quality time with their loved ones whilst doing spectacular work at the office. I watch them come home to themselves; annihilating limiting beliefs they had about their ability. I am humbled by their courage.

The heroes in the coaching alliance are the contracts drawn by both parties. I believe the magic of coaching is this step in the process. I strongly believe this powerful element can add effectiveness to so many endeavours in the workplace.

Taking time to agree how you will disagree, challenge, reflect, feedback, argue…this is the stuff of contracting. Being utterly clear of what your alliance is serving in terms of your outcome and purpose before you take a step, this is contracting. Covering the basis of conflict prior to its seeming inevitability can indeed annihilate conflict.

It is the foundation of coaching. Try it as the foundation of your next meeting at work.

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