The start of a coaching/client relationship relies on what we call in the Co-Active Training Model Designing The Alliance. This is foundational because in Co-Active Coaching, neither the coach nor the client holds the power; the relationship does. Both the coach and the client must show up as their authentic and courageous selves for trust, intimacy, and transformation to occur. As you may know from personal experience, the power isn’t given to the relationship on accident; it must be actively and methodically designed and reviewed regularly by those involved. It takes work, patience, and open communication.
As many of us begin to adapt to a new life in the time of the Corona-virus, I’ve been witnessing an ever-important need to designing our alliances. Whether it’s for the family with 2 working parents trying to handle homeschooling 3 kids or for the large companies dealing with the newness of maintaining synergy while working remote, we all need to be conscious of purposefully and actively designing alliances to empower our relationships in this time of uncertainty. It’s time for some hard conversations. So how do we do this? Here are some steps we can take to build powerful, trusting relationships to withstand this time.
Understand Your Needs What do you need at this time? Are you particularly anxious about the future and only want to watch the news once a day? Do you have to take an hour-long walk (in line with to your local regulations) in the morning to feel sane? What is the most amount of time you can handle doing homeschool? Being clear on what you need and how you want to honor your values to feel most like yourself is essential to designing your alliance with your partner, colleagues, and family.
Make A Plan to Design Together Empowering your relationship is crucial to adapting to the changing times. Conversations in passing, though it can feel easier at the moment, means that things will get lost along the way, requiring multiple, often unclear encounters. This may be all you feel capable of doing, but please, give yourselves the time to sit down and build together. Make it a date night or a virtual Zoom cal coffee break. Be intentional about working together to empower your relationship.
Express Your Vision & Expectations Though it may feel foreign to overtly express your expectations (especially in a family setting) or your vision (especially at work), it’s truly important you to build your relationship knowing what your ideal scenario would be and while maintaining an openness to adapting to the needs of your partner or colleagues. This means you’re actively co-creating with each other, ensuring that this relationship looks like both of you, not just one of you.
Recalibrate Your Design When Necessary Like anything, designing your alliance will take time. Strong relationships between coach and client are the result of regularly checking in with each other, ensuring that the safe, courageous space is being created for the sake of growth and learning. Ask anyone who’s been in a successful long-term relationship, whether professional or personal, and they’ll tell you that it’s a process, not an outcome.