When coaching goes wrong; and how to avoid it

I once had a coach who was so adamant about traditional employment patterns that he managed to convince me otherwise! I needed somebody who listened, understood my goals and weaknesses, someone flexible enough to establish an intellectual connection, someone who could earn my respect to open my mind to new ideas and push me to do something about them. He was so stubborn that I knew I could do better on my own. In many ways, despite his approach, if it were not for him, I wouldn’t be a coach today.
Based on my experience as a coach and a client of coaches, here are some tips to help you establish an optimal coaching experience.

1. It starts with empathy

Coaches who don’t empathize with their clients—like the one from my experience could end up jeopardizing their careers and their clients’ careers. It is of utmost significance that your coach understands your situation and helps you out of it without damaging your confidence. Apathetic coaches, and clients who may not be comfortable challenging a coach, is a very dangerous competition that can lead nowhere fast.

2. With empathy comes mutual respect

A client-coach relationship works on present strengths and weaknesses to shape the future. To maximize your client/coach relationship and your experience results, you must respect and trust your coach, and they must respect and believe in you!

3. Empathy and mutual respect will lead you nowhere without measurable goals and mutual accountability

If you don’t know what you are looking to achieve, you will never achieve it. When starting a coaching relationship, if the coach doesn’t establish goals and a timeframe to achieve these goals, ask the coach to do the exercise.

4. Coaching isn’t forever, don’t be afraid to switch it up

If you begin to get bored in the coaching sessions or begin to not look forward to the sessions, it may be time to stop- you may have all you need to deliver on your goals. No matter how good your coach is, it is also good to switch it up if you begin to feel the relationship is stagnant. 

Coaching is supposed to be the path to mental and emotional rejuvenation to help you focus better on your personal and professional goals. It offers possibilities that allow more room for creativity to grow and reflect on actions. While the technical skills are critical, soft skills like listening, curiosity, & a spirit of iteration can make or break a coaching relationship. When a coach and a client with complementary expertise and perspectives genuinely hear each other, that’s when the magic happens.
Jay Mandel is YourBrand.coach and is a marketing and branding consultant and adjunct professor of Marketing. This post expresses my personal views, and my personal are directly connected with my employer because it is me 🙂

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