Experience Coaching: Find the Sweet Spot 

In celebration of ICF Coaching Week–our annual weeklong global celebration of the coaching profession—I want to shine a spotlight on something I heard in conversation with our newest Chapter member, Lori Charvat, J.D., LL.M, CEC.


Building on her background in the law, equity, mediation and natural justice, Lori recently completed her certified executive coach (CEC) training at Royal Roads University.  When I asked, “What drew you to coaching?” Lori said, “I’ve finally found the Sweet Spot”.

Aahh…. the sweet spot, now that’s something worth being curious about!  Enjoy!

DH: What do you mean by the ‘sweet spot’?

LC:We talk a lot about the coachee finding his or her sweet spot and being able to build their leadership strengths and leverage their teams’ ability to deliver tangible business results.  Given the many paths I’ve had in my professional life… I’ve realized that coaching has finally allowed me to find my own sweet spot.  It’s the place where I feel I can bring my head, heart and hands—all of who I am—to make a difference in the lives of the people I work with.

DH: Would you share a coaching experience that helped bring this to life for you?

LC:Without breaking confidentiality, I can say that I worked with a high level leader I’ll call ‘Dave’, who had a team of 15 people reporting to him.  He was having trouble communicating his vision to them and he sensed that people were ‘zoning out’ when he spoke to them.

DH:And how aware was your client of what else might be going on for him?

LC:He knew it was a significant challenge to his leadership effectiveness.  And he knew that he needed to find another way to connect with his team.

During our previous coaching conversations I’d experienced him talking non-stop, and I wanted him to have an experience of himself in that moment, so that he might connect at a deeper level with what was going on.

So I said, “Dave do you realize that you’ve been talking for 10 minutes straight? I wonder how effective you feel you’re being getting me to understand you right now?”

“Not very, he said, I always feel like I’m telling and explaining.”

Then I asked, “Are there any similarities between what is going on for you now and what happens when you realize your team is ‘zoning out’ on you”?

DH:What was your thought behind asking these powerful questions?

LC:We’d established a connection of trust in our coaching relationship, and I wanted to provide him with immediate feedback right then and there.  I trusted that what he needed in order to grow, was to experience himself ‘right now’ in that moment.  I really wanted him to experience coaching as a powerful, and trusted partner in reaching his goal of being a better leader.

DH:So it was an opportunity to leverage trust?

LC:Yes, and for him to personally experience the impact he was having on his team.

DH:And the key was real-time feedback?

LC:Yes, and then to follow up by exploring what he might do differently next time, like becoming curious about how others learn.  That, and to encourage him to reflect and ask himself, ‘why am I talking’. (WAIT)

DH:Where did this coaching experience land?

LC:We got to what he was ‘thinking’ behind his ‘doing’. And by the end of our time, he had made a real shift in his being.  He’d let go of his usual way of being and found a path to being a more curious, less ‘telling’ type of leader.

DH:And for you this was?

LC:This was my coaching sweet spot! I’ve been hired most of my life to have the right answers. Now I bring presence, process, a big heart and powerful questions.

We each bring something unique and powerful to coaching through our own inherent coaching presence.  During International Coaching Week, find a way to celebrate yours!

Warmly, Donna

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Donna Howes, Director of Membership 



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