Assessments, making the most of first impressions

The assessment is a crucial opportunity to gauge presenting issues. Often I have found that the interventions I have made at chemistry meetings and assessment sessions are some of the most powerful moments in the coaching work that follows.

I remember an MD who had been referred to me because of problems in his relationships upwards, downwards and laterally. When I asked him what he thought of the suggestions that he had problems in his relationships he was dismissive. In me this created the sense that he regarded himself as superior to me, that my idea was poor.

I put it to him that he didn’t think much of my idea, and that he did not think there would be anything gained from working with me, that there was nothing that I could do that he could not do himself.

Reflecting back to him the way he thought about others surprised him and had the effect of making him think. It opened up the possibility that coaching sessions might have something interesting to offer him, and he became interested in talking to me. The work that followed addressed the objectives successfully. As he became more interested to reflect on the dynamics of his relationship with me, he became more flexible and open to those around him. Seizing that original opportunity to reflect my insight back to him was crucial to opening things up.