The focus of coaching is to serve the client. Serving the client includes listening for understanding (active listening), asking thought-provoking and curious questions that lead to deeper awareness, and challenging current perspectives. It is important to understand the client’s current situation, needs, and goals. The role of a coach is to put aside what he or she thinks is best for the client and focus on coaching the client to identify the best solution.
Below are 5 questions for a coach to ensure the focus is on the client.
1) Are you eager to share a solution or a similar experience?
(A client’s experiences, perceptions, and realities may differ from the coach. Do not assume they are the same!)
2) Are you leading or listening?
(Are you offering suggestions or asking open-ended questions?)
3) Who feels better at the end of a coaching session?
(Are you providing solutions for your client or helping your client identify his or her own solutions?)
4) Are you allowing your client to work at his or her own pace or are you setting the pace?
(Are you tied to a process and prematurely pushing your client to action or allowing your client to reflect and explore in the present?)
5) Are you challenging your client based on his or her needs and vision or based on your vision for your client?
(Are you serving your client or yourself?)
There have been times during coaching sessions that I had to catch myself from eagerly giving advice or sharing my experiences. At this point, I realize I am focusing on me and not the client. Of course, I have good intentions and want to help my clients. As a coach, I know it is not about what I think. It is about zooming in on clients to support, listen, challenge, and encourage based on their goals.