Depending upon your style and type of coaching it is quite within the realms of possibility that there will be more individuals involved in your coaching other than the individual you are coaching.
There will off course be specific jargon and language that applies to your specific area of coaching – in the corporate world for example you may be familiar with hearing the term stakeholders. In a business setting you may have an employees manager showing an interest. Maybe there is a third party actually paying for the coaching – a company or even a charity. Then you may have family members, particularly if you are working with a minor, who also express an interest.
As a coach, your primary relationship will be with the individual being coached. However, in such situations you do not operate in a separate bubble. If you are already working in such situations then you have no doubt already perfected ways and behaviours of dealing with these circumstances. If that’s the case than feel free to share your views below
If you have not got as much experience in these areas here are a couple of my initial thoughts on the subject.
It helps if you understand the context that the coaching has been requested. This may be as simple as improving performance, however sometimes there is a lot more involved. For example, in a business setting I’ve observed a manager think of it as a tick box exercise as part of managing an employee out of the business.
Know who the other interested parties are – managers, business owners, HR professionals, organisations, parents, charities etc. It’s entirely possible that there will be more than one.
It’s also entirely possible that each interested party will have their own different priorities and ideas. It will help if you know what each of them wants.
Knowing all that can help you to tailor the expectations and agreements that you set. Getting agreement and “buy-in” for this from the start can make situations easier in the long run, and potentially avoid issues even arising. Matters around confidentiality and the flow of information not only will potentially affect the trust between the individual and coach and also is likely to be of concern to the other “third parties”.