Coach: Don't Get Sidetracked!

Matt Driver
January 14, 2022

When coaches are relatively new, they tend to like to collect tools and techniques to use on their clients. With more experience, most of us will have a smaller number of preferred tools and techniques that we feel comfortable using and which we know work.

One fairly common thing that we notice as coaching supervisors is that people will begin to use a tool, or a technique and then will get side-tracked either through their own curiosity or by something their client says which they did not expect. The coach will then unconsciously abandon the tool, leaving both tool and client hanging.

We encourage coaches to really understand not only how to run a tool or technique, but the purpose and the principles which underlie it. If we are clear about what we're trying to do by using a tool, then, if we're slightly thrown off course, we'll know how to come back to that tool and pick it up again.

A fairly common example of this is when people use the ‘Snapshot wheel' or ‘Wheel of life’. The coach can get too interested in one aspect of the client’s story and start asking questions about it, or the client may deviate from the main wheel to start talking about other areas of life or what they have tried, and the coach start following them. The secret here is not to coach during the use of the tool, but to keep the coachee focussed and follow the whole tool through to the end. This ensures a sense of completion and allows the client to gain the best insights they can. It also supports the coach’s sense of their own competence and their confidence.

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