Are you working too hard as a coach?
Are you filling the silences? Is your heart racing? Are you out of breath because you’re doing all the talking?
Do you feel like you’ve been doing all the work in your coaching sessions and trying to provide all the right answers for your client? Then it’s time to take a breath and relax.
Coaching is a collaborative relationship, where the coach listens and the client ultimately gains insight and awareness that will prompt action, build skills, and support growth.
Coaching isn’t about having the right answers. It is about listening to the client, asking the non-judgemental probative questions that lead to deeper thought and reflection. Good coaching doesn’t direct a client toward “the best” solution, or “in the right direction”, or even “to the coaches best option”. Good coaches won’t steer, maneuver or manipulate for an outcome. If you are doing this, you will likely feel it is hard work. These are just some of the signs that you, as a coach, need to make a coaching course correction.
How to Keep your Coaching in Flow
Here are four guidelines to keep your coaching in the flow:
- Guide your client without giving them answers. Offer opinions only after asking permission and do label it as opinion. Avoid telling clients what will work for them and allow clients to talk through their own concerns and uncover their own truths.
- Create a safe place for your client to make mistakes. Learning and awareness can happen when clients are emotionally safe to fail and be vulnerable. When clients don’t have all the answers but seek to learn, growth will happen if a safe place exists.
- Suspend your judgement and do allow your client to express their feelings without being wrong. The coaching relationship is the one place the client is heard and seen at their most authentic because the coach creates the opportunity. Great things can happen from this place of possibility!
- Don’t be attached to any outcome or decision that the client makes. This can be challenging but you must suspend any agenda that your “fixer” coaching brain develops to remedy the client’s issue. The “magic” and joy of coaching comes from coaching clients to discover their own superb insight, awareness and answers to their concerns. In this method you will support them fully and realize what it is to BE a coach!
So, relax, don’t fill the silences. Listen.
And even ask yourself, “What will it be like to not have all the answers for my client?”