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Sustaining Objectivity While Offering Executive Coaching and Consulting

This is for all consultants, coaches, and others who provide advice and counsel.  This is for all of you (us) who spend sleepless nights worrying about the success of others!

From executive coaching to being a leadership consultant, finding a way to be objective about a client, their project, their anticipated success is often a difficult line to walk.  It’s particularly challenging when a consultant’s orientation and value is:

I REALLY want you to be successful! I want you to be happy with your project AND with our work.”

Adding to the challenge in sustaining objectivity is the problem that sometimes, born of frustration and desire to do the right thing, these tapes might be running in our heads:

  • We’ve told you, and we’ve shown you—numerous times.  But you won’t listen!  
  • If you don’t want our advice, why did you hire us?
  • You’re standing at the entrance to business disaster—we really don’t want to go there with you.
  • We’re treating you professionally and with empathy.  When did we become your scapegoat?
  • …and other, sometimes even more unpleasant thoughts intrude on us!

This is normal, and natural for consultants who care and are committed.

We want so much for our clients to do the right thing, to succeed, to receive value from us, that sometimes we forget—it’s not our bed.  We’re only helping to make it.  We aren’t going to lie there forever.

We need to make sure we are ”providing the best advice we can, based on our experience and knowledge to make sure they can make a fully informed decision. We need to allow them to make that decision and then support them to the best of our abilities.”

It can be a difficult line to walk—to support, coach, advise, do all that is possible to ensure the clients’ success.  And then to know when it’s time to say, “It’s your call and, while we may disagree with the process/method/approach/decision, we will do all we can to support you.”

(And then go out and do…whatever it is that makes you feel better…sports, shopping, playing with your dog, or staying in bed on a Saturday morning.)

God bless consultants!


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