21 May, 2020
A Fundamental Skill for Every Coach to Have
This informal CPD article on A Fundamental Skill for Every Coach to Have was provided by Know Thyself Coaching Institute, a leading expert in the field of personal empowerment, integrative energy & holistic healing methods.
As a coach, you must be yourself. Authenticity! So that your clients can feel the honesty and integrity of who you are. When you are authentically yourself, and not wearing the mask of a ‘professional coach’, you create more relationship and more trust, and your clients will swing out more in their own lives. Coaches sometimes think they have to be serious all the time; while it is important to take serious situations seriously – there is plenty of room for lively engagement and humour to lighten the air.
Another dimension in coaching model is, the coach is in fact virtually invisible and yet completely present. This is because a coach’s job is to hold the client accountable for his/her plans only and the client to bring about or create own answers. This is where the context of self-management comes in.
For new coaches, the obvious way to be helpful is find the problem and solve it – make it disappear. There may be an urge to act as the expert or to eagerly feed solutions to the clients whenever they seem to be struggling to find answers. Some clients can also be dependent on the coach for their solutions and results. The disadvantage of both is that the client will never be able to learn that they are capable of generating answers and solutions on their own. It is important that as a coach, you sincerely believe in your client’s ability to come forth and find their own answers and make their own choices. We do not coach for problems to be solved (that puts the emphasis and attention on the problem) – we coach for a life to be lived (this puts the emphasis back on the person).
We are here to empower our clients to become more resourceful and more capable. We do that by calling forth this inner strength from clients, and that means we call ourselves forth as coaches to. Practice self-management by holding back your advice and opinions. Build this trust early in the relationship for you and your client and watch them naturally whip up creative and unexpected answers. We may not always agree with your client’s plans, and yet we honour their actions and theirs. Theirs to work with, to change as necessary, to fail or succeed, to learn and keep moving forward.
A coach may also find times where it is appropriate to share a valuable experience or expertise. Though it can be done, a coach must seek permission from the client first. It is worth mentioning to the client that, as you are sharing, you are more of a consultant or a mentor rather than a coach.
Self-management also opens a door for coaches to be able to push back on their own Saboteur. It takes practice to notice whenever you are carrying on an internal conversation with your Saboteur and then quickly shifting the focus to your client again, therefore be patient with yourself too. Dropping to Level 1 listening can happen often and unexpectedly. It may be during a challenging session, wherein you ask yourself if you are asking the correct questions, or during a fruitful one and you cuddle in your own self-enjoyment instead of focusing on your client. What becomes important here is self-awareness and recovery. The ability to notice where you are in the relationship and always re-connect when off-track.
Your presence and ability to focus on the client alone is essential in coaching. So much so that some coaches have a grounding ritual before their coaching sessions with clients. You need to be strong for your clients, and sometimes that may require you to re-schedule their appointments because you are unable to be fully present with them. You are human, and things will happen that throw you off balance. The act of you not covering it up, builds more trust between you and your client. They respect your honesty about what happened because they know that you are committed to them.
The Comfort Zone
There may be areas in your own life where you as a coach hold back. Maybe one day you will work around that but until then, these are areas where you might get defensive about exploring. There will be also cases where you will get clients who are holding back on the same areas as you are, and chances are that these are the areas that you are unwilling to explore in the coaching session. In your unwillingness to explore those areas out of defensiveness is what deprives your client from fully exploring that area for themselves which is crucial for their action and learning.
Recognizing that these areas that are outside your comfort zone, and yet still daring to explore them anyways for the sake of your client is crucial for your success as well as your client’s growth. Always remember to be gentle with yourself. If you feel you are unable to work with a client– refer them to another coach – for the sake of your own client.
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Know Thyself Coaching Institute, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.