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So, what is it that life coaches do that make people so angry? As coaches aren’t, we meant to do the opposite?

I belong to several online coaching groups and came across this interesting post by “Anthony Paul-Lewis Lungabardi” titled:

 “What is it that coaches do that make you the angriest?”

With 120 comments this 60,000 strong membership of the “principle into practice” FB group had a lot to say. And being a coach myself, I wanted to learn more.

Here’s what some of them had to say.   

As some of them were similar in “angst” I have grouped them:

Coaches who cast themselves as experts when they are not.

When they make assumptions and thinking on behalf of the other person

No boundaries coach.

Suggest affirmations as the solution to everything.

Some coaches are arrogant.

Telling clients what they need to do.

They think everyone needs rescuing

Talk too much, do not listen and their ego.

Taking advantage of their client’s trust.

Give their opinion when I did not ask for it.

Muddling coaching with mentoring/counselling.

There is a trend in coaching where a large majority are always talking about 6 figure, high paying clients.

Interrupt while you are talking.

Manipulate into dependence.

Overstepping the bounds of coaching such as medical or psychological advice.

Cheerlead without any practical help.

When they get off being right, it shows I’m not the priority.

As a coach

I’ve been around personal development for over 20 years. As a qualified coach, I did not spend years obtaining my diploma and gaining experience to read these comments; it saddens me to know there are so-called ‘coaches’ out there who are clearly acting in an unprofessional manner.

As one person said to me “You could get better “advice?” from the bloke behind the bar at your local pub than some of these so-called coaches!”

It’s time to address some of these “angry” questions on behalf of my fellow hard-working coaches that are making a difference to people’s lives.

“Telling clients what they need to do” – Coaches don’t give advice

As professional coaches, we do not give advice, tell our clients what to do, or pursued them. The focus of coaching is on the client. Clients already have all the resources they need to achieve what they want (or help them create them).

“When they get off being right it shows I’m not the priority” –  A Coach  focus is on the client

A professional coach will focus solely on a client’s individual situation, their goals and outcomes. It’s never about the coach. The client is always the priority. 

“Some coaches are arrogant +Talk too much, do not listen and their ego” Coaches leave their ego and agenda at the front door

As coaches, we do not bring our personal lives, thoughts, feeling or emotions to the coaching table. Before a coaching session, a good coach will be self-aware, grounded, and may even practise yoga or mindfulness to get into state.   

“Overstepping the bounds of coaching such as medical or psychological advice” – Coaches set boundaries.

A good coach will set boundaries from the start of any future coaching journey with a client. We have a code of ethics you can view here, which I am proud to work to.

“Manipulate into dependence” – Coaches do not fix or manipulate

All human beings are all whole and complete and do not need fixing; we have the resources within us to achieve what we want.

Coaches come from a presupposition that “people work perfectly” No one is wrong or broken. We are all executing our strategies perfectly, but the strategies may be poorly designed and ineffective. I help my clients find out how they and others operate so a strategy can be changed to something more useful and desirable.

There are no un-resourceful people, only un-resourceful states of mind. People have all the ability and all the resources they need to succeed or make any changes they want.

The emphasis is on your internal thoughts, feelings, and intentionally creating resourceful states of mind.

“Muddling coaching with mentoring/counselling” – A coach will enquire how the client wishes to be “coached?”

When a new client comes to me, I undertake an ‘intake session’. This comprises general information about the client, contract to sign, times, dates, and sessions.

This is also where I manage expectations. The “housekeeping rules”, what’s expected from the client, arrive punctually and be ready, willing, and able to be coached, together with other rules.

Also, what they can expect from me as their coach, to be challenged, inspire, motivate, and contribute to their development, goals and outcomes.

During this intake, I ask the client “how do you want to be coached?” pure coaching? Mentoring?  

“Interrupt while you are talking” – Coaches only Interrupt when.

During the ‘intake session’, one of the housekeeping rules is to ask the client “do I have their permission to interrupt If I feel the coaching session is going off track and bring it back in line?” It is the only time a coach should interrupt a client.

Interrupting the client is not giving them space and grace to finish what that want to say. The focus is always on the client, not the coach.

To conclude

I hope this addresses some of the unprofessional practises that people purporting to be coaches do.

Studying to be an accredited professional coach is not a race to the top. It is not about completing a book, course or workshop in record time. That is saying more about the ego and the race to finish, than the journey, learning, and experience gained.

To become a coach of true excellence takes years of practice, and you never stop learning. Each new client brings an opportunity to take a journey together, walk side-by-side into the future, to make a difference not just to their life but yours as well.

Keep up the excellent work, my fellow coaches. Your skills are needed more than ever.

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