Why Some Coaches Almost Always Encourage Their Clients
In a recent training, I had one of those moments where you could almost see the lightbulb turn on over the other person’s head.
The group had been working on listening skills, and the student was trying out their new skills on me. “What I think you’re saying is that one of the prime jobs of a coach is to encourage the person you’re coaching.”
Yep. They were getting it. The lightbulb was on, but I could also see that this realization was troubling.
And then they dropped the bomb.
“But what if the coach themselves is feeling discouraged…even about their own coaching? What do I do then?”
Mirroring a client’s comments/posture/behavior is a powerful way to build relationship or develop direct communication. That same mirroring–intentional or not–can also share less-than-positive outcomes/mindsets between coach and client.
A coach’s behavior/posture is contagious to the client. This is all good when the coach is a positive, upbeat place, but when life gets the better of a coach, what do you do?
Every coach bumps up against this at some point. You know the client needs an encouraging word or question, and there’s just nothing in the tank for you to offer.
Usually, a lack of self care causes this Empty Tank Syndrome, but there are strategies a coach can use to manage the disconnect between the difference in your levels of optimism or encouragement.
Here are seven things you can do to put yourself in the gap beween coach and client:
Reflect on what is causing your discouragement. Sometimes just admitting what has gotten you down takes care of it.
Talk to your coach. Coaches are encouragers, and that is one of the main things a client receives from their coach. You should be tapping into this source as well. Every coach should HAVE a coach!
Evaluate your calendar. Personally, the most common source of discouragement for me is when I have too much going on and not enough space between commitments. One of the most encouraging moments I face is when I wrap up and remove projects from my calendar/To Do list. The freedom that comes with that clean up is exhilarating!
Pray. Coaching is a calling. Getting in touch (or back in touch) with the source of that calling is like taking a drink of cold water on a hot day.
Get some continuing education. Often discouragement comes when a coach feels like their skills have fallen into a rut. Attend a training event or coach’s gathering to add new energy to your practice.
Exercise. If I’m really honest about it, this is the one I do the least of…and it’s probably the one that makes the most difference. Your mood can change dramatically with just 10–20 minutes of movement. And that is contagious.
Engage the practice of gratitude. For most Americans in general and most coaches in particular, there are many more reasons to be thankful than to focus on where we’re left wanting or missing something else. Investing in a practice of gratitude can help you focus on what you have and not what you’re missing.
So what are your thoughts? What do you do as a coach to put yourself in a position to be as helpful as possible to your clients, even when your personal outlook is less-than-inspiring? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jonathan Reitz has a number of impressive titles at CoachNet Global (Chairman/CEO/Guy with Coffee). Jonathan has been coaching for over 10 years and has worked with over 500 clients in the church, the non-profit sector and the business world.
“Coaching plays a part in the kind of leadership the world needs,” says Jonathan Reitz. “I want to be a part of that.”
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