If you are a coach, a counselor or a therapist, you have
many responsibilities to your clients. Clarify your responsibilities,
and check whether a client actually wants what you offer. Otherwise your work
can disappoint or even damage your clients.
When Help Fails
Some common reasons why your efforts to coach or counsel
people may fail:
- Lack of choice: Do you offer clear choices
that you can fulfill?
- Lack of clarity: Do you know your
own goals for coaching others?
- Lack of flexibility: Are you dogmatic or
can you move between models?
- Lack of leadership: Do you lead clients towards
dependence or independence?
- Lack of congruence: Are you congruent with
your clients and your clients' goals?
1. Your Clarity
- Insist that all information is the client's alone
- Help your client challenge, change and/or veto
coaching contracts with the people who receive your
- The client chooses goals - and the client decides
if your coaching is helpful
- Make different service contracts with employers,
parents or HR professionals
- Clients should pay for coaching themselves or at
least know who pays how much
- Do not report to your client's boss, wife or anybody
that the client doesn't endorse
If you are confused about who your clients really are,
or about what the purpose of your coaching really is - be prepared for
failure. If your real client is a third
person or an organization, you are not coaching, you are appraising
performance, facilitating communication, defining roles or setting
objectives. These are all legitimate consulting efforts, but they are
2. Your Congruence
Only coach people in ways that are congruent with your
- Make offers that you can fulfill
- Find out what each person congruently wants
- Discover what
a person can change to achieve a goal
- Decide whether you can fully support each
- Clarify with your clients whether or not you support
If you persuade someone
to follow your decision - this is not coaching, but manipulation.
If you coach someone to become a better criminal - you may be an accessory
to a crime.
If you coach people, careless of whether your clients succeed
or fail, you are unlikely to enjoy coaching.
If you accept a client, but you serve the
needs and follow the direction of a third party, you are not only unethical,
you are setting up your client and yourself for failure.
3. Your Dogma
Are you a solution looking for a problem? Or
are you ready to help clients define and get what they want?
Dogmatic adherence to a single model leads to failure. Our systemic coaching
involves a great deal of listening, exploration, and trust
building. If you offer a one dimensional model or approach, you may
feel good about yourself, but you would fail as a coach.
Good coaching includes empathy, non-judgmental
exploration, diagnostic skills and flexibility. Beware of trainers who
want to sell you a single process. An effective coach is an outstanding
listener; more interested in the client's hopes, dreams and aspirations - than in a model
Be wary of athletic models. Athletic
coaching is different to life coaching or executive coaching.
Athletic coaches are content experts - they know the sport and the
skills necessary for optimal performance. Athletic coaches
are often part of a system - they are paid by the system and they are fired if they
don't rack up enough wins.
Beware of military or warrior
metaphors. If you talk about killing competition, destroying
resources or defending territory, you are unlikely
to take responsibility for your clients - you may use their information in ways
that hurt your clients.
Good coaches need not be content experts - they are
process experts. They may not be experts in a specific disease, family,
product or service, instead they help people develop skills to change or
cope with their life challenges.
Effective coaching is defined by the client, not the
coach. Effective coaching is a helping relationship, and requires
mutuality, openness and focus on the client as a unique individual.
4. Dependency & Codependency
An important part of our systemic work is to empower and
then withdraw. Our coaching is not "a long term relationship that
provides a steady income!" A professional coach should not stay in a
helping relationship for the money. Dependency can hurt you and
Ensure that you and your clients agree about when and
how coaching will end, and resist any temptation to prolong coaching. It
is important and empowering for your clients to fly solo!
Coaching is more effective when it is limited in time
and to agreed objectives. Set these goals and limits early - and stick
to them. It is not good for you or your client to create a long-term
dependency. If you overstay your welcome, get yourself fired!
A termination plan is an essential part of a coaching
contract. Coaches who coach clients for multiple years
often reduce their effectiveness and credibility. They can create
It is fine to withdraw and monitor progress, but a
coaching goal is to empower the client towards congruent goals, and then
end the relationship.
Our systemic coaching is a powerful developmental tool. It
can also be used in shallow, manipulative and harmful ways. Coaches who want to
ensure their effectiveness and clients who want to be wise consumers of
coaching expertise can avoid these traps.
We offer fast and effective solutions
Codependent Therapists and Coaches
Systemic Coach Training
Do you want online coaching or training? We can train
you to help people to resolve a wide range of emotional and relationship challenges.
We can prepare you to coach people to manage emotional issues and solve relationship
Online Life Coaching,