Prospective coaches and even trained coaches have beliefs about coach training, growing a coaching business, and the act of coaching itself. Below are 3 myths about coaching.
1. The client has all the answers.
Coaches never give advice or suggestions, right?! Many coaching purists believe this to be true. They believe they just need to ask the right questions and the client will figure out the answer.
If the client had all the answers, why would they need a coach? While an effective coach will have the skills to elicit many answers from their client, sometimes the client just does not have the answer. If they’ve hired you for your expertise on a topic or with a situation then you probably know the answer or solution they need, or could consider, in that moment.
When I first started coaching I was faced with this situation. I was working with a client who was having a challenge with fitness and weight loss. Having been taught that the client had all the answers, I was hesitant to give her suggestions based on my years as a fitness and strength training consultant. Yet it seemed ridiculous to me to have her try to figure out the answer on her own. I realized in that moment that I could ask her questions until she hopefully arrived at an appropriate solution or I could ask her if I could share what I knew from my previous experience as a fitness consultant. She opted for the latter.
As a coach you may need to wear different hats. You can ask the client if it’s ok for you to put on your consulting or mentor hat when you feel it is needed.
2. All the learning takes place during the coaching call.
As a new coach you may think that the client needs to get a big ‘ah ha’ during the coaching call in order for the session to be a success. Learning often happens in the space between coaching sessions when the mind has had time to process the call.
Think about a time you were faced with a challenge. You may have talked with a friend, colleague or family member about it and they may have offered some solutions. Yet none of the solutions felt right. Then you’re out for a walk or in the shower and voila – the answer flashes right before your eyes. Same concept.
You just need to coach during the session. Don’t worry about getting the person to some place. If that’s your focus, then two things may be happening. One – your ego is in the coaching relationships. Two – you may fear that a client will drop you if they don’t get an ‘ah-ha’ each session. Two things you can work on with your coach.
3. You need to be your client’s friend.
You’ve probably read articles stating that hiring a coach is like paying someone to be your friend. Would you really want a friend or family member to coach you? Think about it. Our friends and family will be affected, for example, if we want to change our high-paying career for one that is more fulfilling but pays less. How can they coach you from a non-attached place? For the most part – they can’t. They have a personal agenda, knowingly or unknowingly.
Does your client want you to be their friend? Some may. What your clients need is for you to be willing to risk not being liked in order to support them. They need you to ask one more question when it gets uncomfortable, something a friend may not do. You may be the only person in their life who will tell them a hard truth or to hold them to a higher standard or vision of themselves. A coaching session may be the only time a client gets heard.
If you are your client’s friend, you may develop a personal agenda for them, which interferes with your coaching.
In summary, it’s beneficial to question your perceptions or beliefs about coaching. If someone tells you that this is the way it’s done, ask for the reasoning behind it. Perhaps they do it that way because another way was never tried.
Related Post: 3 Myths about Becoming a Coach