And so we move from work in private (Otium) to the public dimension (Negotium). Here you find opportunities to deploy not only the skills of trade but also your private passions, interests, skills and enthusiasms. So, let’s consider how your client benefits from your lifestyle purpose.
It may not be obvious how your life-experience, passions and interests benefit your client. They purchase your services because you have expertise or experience.
Remember the way your life-experience informs your work is most likely implicit. For example, someone who offers health therapies may find conversations with business owners easy because they already use conversations to put their patients at ease and help them open up.
The key lies in preparation for each meeting so that you know what to offer the client as they struggle with a particular issue.
The implicit promise made by coaches is they listen to their client to free their speech. This is valuable because most offers on the market assume the client needs a proven solution to a known problem.
There are benefits to the business-owner who can automate their offer. It saves time and increases the number of clients they can handle. It is difficult to automate coaching. Actually it is impossible to automate coaching, although it may be possible in part.
Preparation is crucial and we see Otium‘s importance. The coach must prepare for each meeting, reviewing their client’s records, preparing questions and suggestions for the client to consider.
Types of Question
It may help to have a set of questions to use for all clients. These move the sessions with the client forwards. They change slowly, through experience. Without such structure, it is likely the sessions will never move forward. They decide what you consider. It helps get everything relevant on the table.
The coach may prepare subsidiary questions for the client, based on their answers so far. The client will act between sessions and so it is important to discuss their actions and results.
And there will be questions formulated and asked during the sessions, in response to what the client says.
All these stages of preparation can and should engage the whole person. What can the coach draw on from their experience to help their client? This will range from directly relevant experiences, eg work in the same industry; common human experiences, eg family life; through to unique experiences that introduce a new perspective.
Knowing the coach has a lifestyle purpose is one way to decide whether the coach can deliver. A coach overly focused on profit, for example, may be prone to burnout, stress, loss of perspective. A coach who turns up for meetings tired or rattled does not present the best opportunity for the client to make progress.
Also, a coach aware of their own lifestyle purpose will be sensitive to the need for a similar purpose in the client. There is no problem where lifestyle pervades business, especially for self-employed people, where marketing themselves is their business.
Large companies may frown upon employees bringing their own lifestyle purpose to the workplace, perhaps undermining the company’s consistent message. But this is not true for the self-employed, they are the message and if they can find an approach that draws on what they enjoy doing, their enthusiasm will communicate.
That sense of being at ease with business and life is a big draw to people; to communicate that ease to their clients increases trust.
These benefits extend, of course, beyond the client to the wider world.
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