Getting the right people in the room

I’m just back from a brilliant three day course on coach supervision.  It was a real privilege to work with Peter Hawkins and Nick Smith of the Bath Consultancy, who are real thought-leaders in this area.

There was so much to learn, and one of the things I reflected on was how you should always learn from and with the best people you can, because you soak up not only their knowledge and wisdom, but also their skills and presence and energy.  Having the right people in the room with you makes a huge difference.

But the real thing I’ve come back with is the challenge to get the right people in the room when I’m coaching and supervising.  That may sound foolish: surely I’m there and the client is there?  Well, yes, but that is almost never the full cast.  What about the client’s boss?  What about the business leader’s key customers?  What about the team leader’s team?

If they all had to be there physically, it would be a crowded room.  But they don’t: the challenge is to make sure that the client is engaging with the real challenges that these people put before them, in the way that they talk and act and react and pound the table or yawn or whatever it is that they do in a meeting with my client.

Unless we spend real time making sure these people are there, too, we won’t make any progress on the issues.  Because it’s these people who will oppose or support my client, and these people who will work with him or her to help them succeed.

We need the right people in the room.