Working is not a coaching skill.

November 26, 2019

Part of my work is to train new coaches. I love doing that!


It’s totally in line with my purpose because I want to grow this army of positive change. 


With 7.6 billion people in the world, we need a multitude of coaches. Maybe nobody needs a coach, yet I firmly believe everybody could do with one. People want to get as much as possible out of their lives and a coach can really be of great support there. 


Coaches are in the business of making dreams come true. Coaches are in the business of figuring out what you really, like no kidding, really want. Coaches are in the business of holding you bigger than you dare to hold yourself as well as calling out your bullshit when you play small. They articulate who they see you be at your core, and hold up an honest mirror for you when you shy away from your magnificence.  


A good coach rather gets fired for playing the game too big, than for playing it too safe. 


A good coach plays with the balance between creating a really safe place for their clients and at the same time making it courageous to the point of scary. A strong coach is always willing to pick up the fight with their client’s saboteurs and shining a light on their limiting beliefs. 


Coaching is about being convinced that the client holds all the answers and that they don’t need fixing. 


In spite of all wonderful intentions, this is where beginning coaches, and frequently also the more experienced ones, struggle a bit. 


They’re all committed to the long list above and want nothing less for their clients. They’re totally willing to go the extra mile to serve their clients. Yet, in their eagerness to do it all as good as possible, they start working…


Time and time again I tell my students that working is NOT a coaching skill!


When coaches start working, in essence they lose faith in their clients. Instead we start thinking about the perfect way to coach. Or about the solution. Every second we think, we lose a bit of connection with our clients. We start missing the verbal and non-verbal cues they give. We don’t hear that shift in tone of voice which holds valuable information. We don’t see that gesture, or twinkle or tear in their eyes so we can ask them what’s shifting. 


When we work to DO coaching, we think about what happened a moment ago, or what we expect to happen in a while. So we’re no longer playing with what happens right here, right now and miss the gift of the presence. 


At the same time our questions are less curious since we want to hear a certain answer. We expect or even want our clients to think and choose in a certain direction. 


All that work almost guarantees the client doesn’t experience that internal shift, that aha-moment that coaches like to call transformation. 


And with that, we kill the essence of coaching…


Luckily there is an antidote! My students look at me as if I’m joking when I say one of the biggest virtues for a coach is to be lazy!


And I’m serious; working is not a coaching skill and laziness should be our basic attitude. 


When the coach is lazy, they can’t think. They won’t work. They let all of that to the client. All the coach needs to be is present. So we pick up the signals our client give. So we just respond to and play with what’s happening now.
All we create is an environment where we trust the client will explore new terrain. We call that terrain ‘life’. Our client’s life. For them to explore and make conscious, self-empowering choices. 


Be lazy so that coaching works!


(©Alex Verlek 2019) 

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