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So What Sort of Coach Are You...?

Written by Annette Cairns on .
coaching light bulb

I have attended a fair few on line networking events in the last year. For those of you familiar with networking, you get an opportunity to tell everyone there what you do…usually in less than a minute. Which is really difficult to do! I either talk for 20 seconds, or find myself well over time. When I have listened to everyone else I realise that nothing I have said will stand out and it is unlikely that people will do anything as a result of hearing from me.

I also find that there are usually at least two coaches on the event.

And when you state “I am a coach” several people roll their eyes and look bored. I don’t think I am a boring person and I have crafted my pitch over the year so I don’t sound like a yabbering idiot.

So I decided to reflect on firstly how there get to be so many coaches at networking events, and secondly what is making people turn off.

And I realise that they are linked. There are so many coaches out there! And so many different types of coaches from performance coaches, to body conscious coaches, to women only coaches, business coaches, action coaches, leadership coaches, Get your S*** sorted coaches, and so it goes on! It is not surprising that people are turned off with all these labels.

Now I think it is a great thing that there are so many coaches, but it is hard to stand out from the crowd. The number of coaching qualifications being offered to coaches has grown exponentially in the last few years, which is a good thing as this does mean that there are standards and consistency.

There are also a great many coaches out there who have no qualifications and use their life experience or passion to share their “Tried and trusted ways of making money/getting fitter/dealing with people….”. What they bring is that passion for helping others.

(For the record I have qualifications and years of experience!)

As I write this I realise I sound dismissive…and I really am not. But it can be bewildering to people who are looking for a coach. That’s even if they know what a coach is.

Many people equate “coaching” with football coaches and being told how to improve. Their view may be f they have a coach they will find out how to improve their game/business/life.

That they will find out how to improve is beyond dispute. The question is HOW effectively are they coached, or have they been told what to do?

For me, coaching is starting from the point that my clients have the answers and resources that they require…they may not recognise it. It is down to me as their coach, to enable them to find the answers FOR THEMSELVES.

I believe that as a coach, if I give my clients the answers I am short changing them. I am not allowing them to uncover their own potential and realise their own strengths and thoughts. I am also taking away their commitment and accountability.

By that I mean that if the solution goes wrong, the client has the perfect get out clause – “you told me if would work”! And if it goes brilliantly, they may be left thinking that the coach is brilliant for coming up with that solution, but they don’t have the resources for it themselves.

The best feedback I have received for my coaching practice was from someone who turned to me and said “I don’t know what you have done to me” ! I said that I had done nothing, she had done it herself.

She continued trying to express what had happened and eventually said, “You have allowed me to find out for myself what sort of leader I want to be and I know how to become that leader”.

This was really powerful for her, and me. She had received coaching in the past and knew loads of different leadership theories. This time the coaching was focused on her, her potential and her own definition of how she wanted to be.

So to the question in the heading. What sort of coach am I?

I am a coach who enables managers to find their own way to become the leaders they want to be, and their business needs them to be. I will ask questions, I will give feedback, I will be challenging. Above all, I believe in them, and their potential.

If this sounds like something you would benefit from for either yourself or a member of your team, please do get in touch!

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