What Makes A Great Coach?: The Coaching Challenge


What is the greatest fear that most counsellors and coaches present with? Most of my clients tell me their great fear is not knowing an answer to a question when in a client session and then feeling embarrassed or put on the spot. They start to doubt their ability to handle situations and fear they are inadequate to take on clients. A surprising number of counsellors and coaches I see, tell me this keeps them awake at night and impacts their self confidence at work. It affects their focus and motivation, and can make them feel incompetent. Yet most of the time, this is not true. They are indeed quite competent and well-equipped to handle these situations.

A surprising number of counsellors and coaches I see tell me this keeps them awake at night and impacts their self confidence at work. It affects their focus and motivation, and can make them feel incompetent.

Let’s get a few facts straight.

FACT #1 No amount of study will ever train you for being able to handle EVERY situation.
FACT #2 The coaching handbook does NOT say that you MUST know absolutely everything about everything before you can assist people?

So, what makes a great coach? My answer to this coaching challenge takes into account FOUR things:

  1. The first part of being a great coach is the ability to listen. In fact, the Aboriginal’s have a word for this and it’s called Dadirri – or deep listening. Part of helping a client through a hard or challenging time is to give them your undivided attention and allow the first step of help and healing to take place. If you are worried about your responses – then how can you truly and deeply listen?

  2. The second part involves you accepting that you will not always KNOW straight away the advice to provide. So, the intelligence here is your ability to ask amazing questions! The better your questions are, the more you can help your client untangle their issue. Of course, if you feel advice and ideas pop up straight away, then you can certainly share them. I do. However powerful questions such as “when in your life did you learn to do that?”or “what do you think that challenge is teaching you that you need?” will allow the coaching to go deeper.

  3. Trust your intuition is my third tip. If you truly listen and then ask great questions, you will find that your creative, right brain will switch on and that innate wisdom combined with some of your coaching tools will formulate a coaching strategy or idea that you can share. If an idea flows into your head – state it clearly and see what your client says or does.

  4. Finally, find the flow between Yin and Yang. Yin is listening and letting the client come to their conclusion by answering your questions. You will play a slightly more passive role here, but it does deep work. Or, you can opt for Yang. Yang is when you take command of the session and challenge your client to take an action you formulate. I think both strategies are amazing. Use them fluidly in the session as you need to.

Remember that you never receive a client that you cannot help in some way. Universal laws (in this case the law of vibration) won’t bring you a client you cannot assist in some way. The energy of vibrational match means that whomever walks through your door, will be a good fit. They might need you ONCE, or they might need you for years. Don’t judge it.

Stay Zenful,
Debbie Pask

If you’d like to learn more about my tools, models, and strategies for helping clients, click here


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