Answering the “What Do I Need to Do?” Question

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Everyone who enters into coaching has to grapple with some variation

of the question “What do I need to do?” To become a coaching

client, a person has to have the desire to further his or her personal

and/or professional development in some way and must have the

willingness to make the necessary changes to realize development

goals. Asking this question, or some variation of it, initiates the

coaching engagement and opens the door into the coaching space.

Sometimes clients answer the “What do I need to do?” question

with a list of outcomes designed to alleviate symptoms that are

plaguing the person. Joe may feel that he is not getting enough done

with his time, so he wants to become more organized, or Patty realizes

that her relationship with her team members is a little rocky,

and she wants to improve her ability to work effectively in a team

environment. In these cases, it is the coaches’ role to help clients

uncover and address the root causes for these problems. Some clients

are uncertain what they need to focus on. They may have a sense

that something needs to be changed to improve their effectiveness,

address feelings of being overwhelmed, or rekindle their enthusiasm

for their work, but they are uncertain as to what that something may

be. In these cases, the first work of the coaching relationship is often

to explore this question “What do I need to do?” in greater depth to

gain an understanding of the path coaching will take.