10 Sep Coaching Myths
For the last ten years, I have been traveling visiting my clients as well as a leader representing the International Coach Federation all over the world, meeting hundreds of coaches worldwide and listening to their hopes and concerns. I have also been training coaches, mentor coaches, and coach supervisors worldwide. As a supervisor, I get to learn about the coach´s challenges and struggles.
I am passionate about coaching because I believe coaching provides with opportunities to maximize our potential, develop self-awareness, have better relationships, produce results, and have more fulfilled lives. It is also one of the tools for making this world a better place. This is the reason I am committed to the development and sustainability of professional coaching worldwide.
With this context in mind, I would share with you 4 myths about coaching that deserve exploration. What is a myth? A story that may or may have not to be true but that we relate, as it is true. A story that we believe even though we don´t have any proof of it.
Ten years ago, I committed to bring to Latin America more professional standards and I wrote my second book focused on Coaching Competencies. I studied the ICF competency model and wrote a book targeted to be used for coaches to understand what professional coaches do. Last year the book was translated to English and is available in Amazon. I share this background because in the books I provide guidelines on how to coach following the ICF framework. I am very committed to quality coaching and train coaches, mentor coaches and coach supervisors.
Last year, I was invited by Choice magazine to write about how the coaching framework many times is misunderstood. The magazine focused on “breaking the rules” and I wrote some of the ideas I am presenting here today.
I believe there are some myths or stories about what is appropriate for coaching that may be misleading. A myth is a story that we are not sure if it happened but we believe is true. Let’s explore some:
Myth #1. The client has all the answers.
We believe the client is whole, complete, and resourceful. We are not here to fix them. We want to be supportive and encourage them to find their own solutions but many times they may not have the answers and may want the coach to provide some guidance. Sharing best practices or what other clients have done to be successful is not wrong but that is not the heart of coaching. As a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology with a specialty in Leadership Development for 30 years I have a lot to say about leadership but I do that when I am training leaders not when I am coaching. This takes us to the next myth.
Myth 2. The coach never ever should give advice
The coach is not a consultant an expert that provides answers. For some people telling others what to do is much easier than making people think. That is the work of the consultant, or mentor, or trainer. Sometimes a client wants a consultant rather than a coach. There is nothing wrong with that. Many coaches are HR professionals or have an executive background and can provide direction but that is not the main work of the coach. If you decide to provide consulting or other services just let your client know what you are doing! Coach is a science and an art. It is expected the coach to follow some framework but the coach needs to be creative on how to work with his or her clients.
Myths 3. The coach should never bring his/her agenda
One of the key coaching core competencies is setting the agreement for coaching. I believe the agenda should be from the client, not the coach. You don´t bring your agenda. But, what happens if the client has a blind spot and doesn’t know it If they are completely blind, shouldn’t the coach bring awareness to his client about the issue? I believe that we should. Recently, I completed two certifications in Foresight to be of better service to my clients to be sure they were addressing how to focus on the future. If the client is not being strategic and not paying attention to how new trends are impacting the business, shouldn’t the coach bring this to his her attention? I think that a systemic approach that takes into consideration geopolitical issues is important to understand the client situation
Myth 4. The coach should we neutral
I think it is important for the coach to bring his experiences, body sensations, emotions, reactions to the client for the benefit of the coaching process. It should be done to provoke in the client new insights and needs to be intentional.
Myth 5. The coach is responsible for clients´ outcomes
The coach needs to provide the conditions for the client´s success but is not responsible for the outcomes. In the same way that cannot own the client´s successes, can´t own failures. The coach needs to be sure that it provides a safe environment, a structure, opportunities to develop goals, action plans, to identify obstacles and support mechanisms.
1) Coaching is a partnership, we co-create, collaborate.
Pay attention to the power dynamics, and how you show up, being the co/pilot and letting the client to be at the wheel.
2) Keep working on self as instrument. It is not how much you know but how you apply yourself. Supervision can be a good place for this.
Supervision is very important to support coaches in keep learning and growing and I am very passionate about coaching because it assures the quality of the service and offers opportunities to coaches to keep learning and growing.
3) Coaching is an art and a science. We follow some framework but bring our creativity. Many people feel more comfortable doing somatic, artistic work.
For more information contact Damian Goldvarg at Damian@goldvargconsulting.com