The reading level for this article is All Levels
â€œAdjust your approach.â€ As a coach, youâ€™re probably familiar with this concept, as different clients need different tools â€" and different types of communication â€" to achieve the results theyâ€™re looking for. But most often, these adjustments are based purely on intuition; sometimes they make a difference in the client relationship, and sometimes they donâ€™t.
Just as problematic is the fact that coaches often donâ€™t adjust their approach until the first approach has clearly failed to produce results, eroding client confidence and straining the coach/client relationship, sometimes to the breaking point. In this case, such adjustments are a classic case of â€œtoo little, too late.â€
The Perceptual Style Theory offers a reliable means of avoiding this by giving you, the coach, a clear picture of who the client is before you begin working together. By making use of an assessment that reveals the clientâ€™s psychological type at the outset of the coaching relationship, itâ€™s possible to make those important adjustments right away.
The power of this is hard to overstate, as it gives the client an immediate sense of being deeply understood. As the coaching relationship progresses, it also gives the coach a clear picture of what kind of language will speak to the client, and what kind of language wonâ€™t.
When you honor and connect with a clientâ€™s Perceptual Style (PS), you interact with them in a way that reflects their actual experience of the world. Based on your knowledge of your clientâ€™s PS and your understanding of your own PS, you can adjust your approach to ensure that your client gets the most out of the coaching experience.
To clarify, when we talk about adjusting your approach, weâ€™re talking about fine tuning the words you use, as well as the manner in which you interact with them, including intensity, speed, emotional variability, and energy level. Each PS has its own comfort zone, sources of motivation and inspiration, and immediate turn-offs. Knowledge of all of these things can be crucial in catalyzing the kind of results the client is looking for.
Knowledge of the clientâ€™s PS can help you to interact in ways that will promote clear communication and avoid stylistic conflict. It is, in effect, meeting your client halfway â€"
so that even though you do not see the world the way they do, you have the tools to acknowledge and respect their worldview as valid.
By learning to adjust your approach to accommodate each of the six innate Perceptual Styles, youâ€™ll see your effectiveness as a coach grow exponentially. It is, after all, simply human nature to respond to those who speak our language, and interact in the ways weâ€™re most comfortable, even when weâ€™re seeking significant change in our lives, be it professionally or personally.