My client was another coach / consultant, familiar with the SF process.
Very strong and interesting personality.
A tough cookie.
I decided to co-create the process with her, so I engaged her expertise.
We started off alright...
until all of a sudden she gave me this feedback: "leave me more space; you are not leaving me enough space to think about the answers to your questions".
I was taken aback by the directness of the feedback.
I took it in good stride, though; I learned long ago to separate myself from the outcome, and to separate my identity from the process I happen to be engaged in.
So I accepted her "suggestion" and we had a very interesting coaching conversation, rated very highly by the coachee at the end of our brief coaching session.
It turns out that piece of blunt feedback she gave me was one of the most useful feedbacks I ever received.
Having been trained in other coaching approaches, I realized I had a strong tendency to butt in, to reach the solution as soon as possible using my frame of reference, not the coachee's.
Now, I know that is not kosher... I did read books about the art of not-knowing...
easier said than done, though...
My coachee made me aware I still had the tendency to "lead" the client: either by summarizing to much, or talking when I should be keeping my trap shut.
I applied that insight right away in my coaching practice.
My first coachee after that session, an executive in a biotech company, came to the session with a "hard problem" and two other "issues" for future discussion.
In one hour and a half, he figured out a way to an effective solution for the "hard problem", and solutions for the other issues, too!!
I used the protocol that I learned from Peter Szabo (Solutionsurfers), but this time I consciously made an effort to take the backseat and to leave plenty of room to the client to just think...
Paradox: the most useful feedback I received was not a compliment.
It was a critique based on a clear understanding of what was needed then.
Not what was missing; what was needed.
But still a critique.
Thanks, coachee! :-)