Instant Coaching-infused Conversations — an “Out of the box” Approach to Coaching for Busy Professionals!

Christelle Soto-Suarez
7 min readDec 14, 2023

--

At the time of publishing this article, it’s early winter here in Canada…

It’s getting colder, but the sky is blue with some white clouds… and the sun is shining…

My ideal coffee experience

And I like to enjoy a lovingly prepared hot drink (like a cappuccino or a chestnut latte), sitting in a very comfortable chair, in a peaceful and relaxing environment with a beautiful view… taking a break from all the things I want to do, re-energizing myself… and taking the time to get lost in my thoughts… sometimes developing new ideas, and sometimes having these thoughts going around in circle in my head, unable to do anything with these thoughts (yes, this is the self-based development approach I mentioned in a previous article!).

But what I like even more is enjoying that same drink, in that same environment… while having a conversation with someone else, someone who “knows” how to really listen to me (and my thoughts), who “knows” how to push my reflection further than I can on my own, who “knows” how to “pick” on something I said without being fully aware of it… someone who empowers me to expand my thoughts and, as a consequence, to “figure out” what next steps I ought to take to move forward (yes, this is the partner-based development approach I mentioned in previous articles!).

That’s my ideal (I also call it my “deluxe”) coffee experience!

  • Your turn: What would be that “ideal” experience for you?

Note: Want to know more about this partner-based development approach I’m referring to? Then check out my series of articles “Want to Lead your Life and Career more Intentionally?”

Alternative to my ideal coffee experience

But life is life… and I don’t always have the time to do this, or there isn’t always the right type of environment nearby… Does it mean that I shouldn’t find an alternative? Of course not!

Sometimes, the alternative is to get an “instant” coffee and drink it at my desk, generally doing some mindless tasks…

Of course, it doesn’t taste as good as the “lovingly prepared hot drink”, but it still brings me some benefits: warming me up, re-energizing me a little, creating an interruption, allowing my thoughts to wander off a little…

That’s my “instant” version, when I can’t get my “deluxe” coffee experience!

  • Your turn: What would be that “instant” alternative for you?

It’s metaphors’ time

Now, let’s use each of these situations as metaphors for the two extremities of the range of options available for the partner-based development approach:

  • Regularly “enjoying a lovingly prepared hot drink in a nice and relaxing environment with someone really listening to me” being the metaphor for a long-term one-on-one (1:1) coaching experience; and
  • Regularly “drinking instant coffee at my desk” being the metaphor for “instant coaching-infused conversations”.

What are those “instant coaching-infused conversations”?

Well, this is a method that I’m developing to bring some of the benefits of the “long-term 1:1 coaching experience” to the world of hard-working, busy professionals who may not:

  • Have space in their schedule (both professional and personal) to not only add regular coaching sessions, but to also take the time to prepare for the session, reflect after the session, and take action between sessions!
  • Have the energy (mental, physical, eventually spiritual) to absorb the effects of the coaching experience — because, thinking, reflecting, going through mindset and perspective shifts, etc., consume energy!
  • Have access to the financing of a 1:1 coaching experience, because not every company considers that coaching is a worthwhile investment for the professional development of their personnel — especially entry-level and mid-level employees, and because not every professional is in a position to personally invest in such an experience.
  • Consider that “talking about their thoughts” is a great approach to their professional and personal development, especially if they’ve never experienced coaching.
  • Yet be “ready” for the experience — after all, it’s quite normal to start “trying out” something one step at a time!

But what are these “instant coaching-infused conversations” about, then? Well, let’s look at it one word at a time:

  • Instant: Like instant coffee, it’s done over a short period of time — So, I’m looking at conversations lasting between 20 and 30 minutes only… because you don’t have much time in your schedule, and because there is just so much we remember from a one-hour event!
  • Coaching-infused: Like instant coffee is a “diluted” version of my ideal “deluxe” coffee experience, this is a somehow “diluted” version of the 1:1 coaching experience because it’s in a group: even keeping the group small, the participants won’t get as much attention as if in a 1:1 experience, and can’t each bring their own topic to explore.
  • Conversations: This is not about YOU listening to ME (and then barely remembering what I said, and generally not having the time to implement anything…)! This is about conversations that I facilitate (based on a pre-identified topic), but that are really about you, the participants, reflecting out loud, learning from within YOURSELF (intrinsic motivation) and from OTHERS in the group (in some similar situations to yours)

Of course, there’s the need to set up a few rules, like not criticizing or judging someone else’s reflection, and respecting the privacy of the others in the group!

What are the objectives of these “instant coaching-infused conversations”?

Well, the main objective — the one that led me to develop this approach — is to start building a bridge between:

  • The world of “coaching”, where having regular 1:1 coaching sessions as part of someone’s professional and personal development is “the norm” — for example, the world of senior executives, or the world of companies that are ready and willing to invest in their employees at the individual level; and
  • The world of hard-working, busy professionals, where there is no (or little) time, money, energy, interest, etc. for that investment…

and bringing some of the benefits of coaching (that I also call a partner-based development approach) where it’s all about YOU, but you’re not on your own, and you’re having an interactive conversation that allows you to expand your thoughts and to develop yourself!

while fitting better into your busy schedule, lack of energy, lack of financing, stress, overwhelm, etc.

The other objective is for you to leave one of these conversations with:

  • At least some sparks (questions, insights, discoveries) about your self-leadership (in your life or career), about how you could maybe think differently, about some of your perspectives;
  • A changed perspective on how to lead yourself, your life, and your career more intentionally;
  • A shift from “igniting” some self-reflection (disrupting your “habitual” thinking process) to “creating momentum” for long-term self-leadership;
  • The start of a conversation about “thinking differently about yourself and how you lead your life and career”, that you can continue with others (friends, family members, colleagues, managers, etc.).

Note: Want to know more about the benefits of the partner-based development approach? Then check out my article “Want to Lead your Life and Career more Intentionally? — The Partner-based Development Approach… (part 2)

What would be the format of these “instant coaching-infused conversations”?

Well, the format would be flexible for bespoke series of conversations, for example, if an existing group, like a company, a professional or a networking organization, wants to create a development program for some of their personnel or members.

But an “off-the-shelves” series of conversations would look like this — pending adaptation to the feedback received, of course!

  • A series of 4 short sessions (20–30 minutes), weekly;
  • With a small group of participants (say, 10 people) — even better if the participants are from a similar background (e.g. women in STEM) or in a similar situation (e.g. recently promoted);
  • About one specific topic — for example, “leadership”;
  • One main question per session — in the example of “leadership”, these questions could be:
  • How do you want to be led?
  • How do you lead yourself (a.k.a. self-leadership)?
  • Who inspires you in terms of leadership style?
  • How would you like to lead others — now that you’ve looked at “leadership” from within yourself?
  • Note: These questions refer to the leadership of ourselves (self-leadership) because that’s what I’m about — Awakening your Self-leadership so you can Empower Yourself to Design, Build and Lead YOUR Life and Career! And yes, it’s a different perspective to the more usual perspective of considering “leadership” as “leading others”…

What do you think of this approach?

I’d love to know what you think of this approach, combining “real life conditions” with the need most of us have to grow, expand, explore, and experiment

And if you’re interested in discussing this topic, please email me at christelle@pistachiocassis.com!

And now…

Want to get regular sparks of inspiration, motivation, and education about how to empower yourself and develop your self-leadership? Then subscribe to my Pistachio-Cassis Newsletter! You can also follow me on LinkedIn.

Want to know more about me and what I do? Then check out Pistachio-Cassis Coaching website!

And, finally, I’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback, suggestions, or anything else you want to tell me! — email me at christelle@pistachiocassis.com.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.

--

--

Christelle Soto-Suarez

Self-leadership Awakener / Executive & Leadership Coach | ICF ACC | 20+-year international career – construction & corporate - https://pistachiocassis.com/