Almost everyone I know confuses coaching with consulting or mentoring. And when I do try to explain most respond back clarifying, “what’s the damn point if the coach doesn’t have solutions to my challenges?” Reasonable, right? I used to think just that until I started to get coached and then explore, research, study and get accredited as a coach myself.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating, “coaching isn’t about knowing the answers but showing where and how to find them.” And that’s the client’s prerogative. The coach’s role is that of a facilitator during a session not a consultant with a chockfull of tips and tricks to troubleshoot problems.
The only exception is when you’re a sports coach as the most effective way to communicate your point is to just shout (metaphorically speaking) it across the hall/court/stadium during a live game. That said, when the coaches are with the team players off the game, the best ones do ask a lot of questions to clarify thinking and set the motivations on track. Why you ask? Because coaches know that the ones that need coaching are intelligent beings experiencing a temporary bout of self-doubt, delusion and/or confusion.
In simpler words — you don’t preach to the choir. They already know. And ignoring that basically insults their intelligence which sets them back even further!
While my work with clients mostly focus on individual (one-on-one) or group and team coaching the overarching approach to facilitating thinking remains the same. I’m not the expert, they are. I can’t answer their questions but I can help them explore answers. I don’t tell them what to do but let them figure out what’s the best for them. Now, that’s what the essence of a coaching service is — helping them clarify their thinking.
Easy? Well, if it were everyone would be doing it and this world would’ve been a much better place. Alas, some day.