Coaching student

I will always remember my first

I will always remember the first time I coached. It was nerve wrecking and exhilarating at the same time. I forgot and then remembered many of the lessons I had learned. I stuttered, fumbled, regrouped and carried on. I was excited, humbled and ashamed all at the same time.

What lessons have I learnt from my first coaching session?

1) Breathe. Not only before a coaching session but regularly during the session. I am a shallow breather so I need to make an effort to remember to breathe deeply – 3 deep diagrammatic breathes. I realize that silence also helps me with deep listening.

2) Staying comfortable with silence. And not having the urge to fill in the silence with questions. Maybe some thoughts and emotions just need to simmer for a while in the silence. Allow the space and time for that to happen.

3) Asking powerful questions. Powerful questions are usually simple. For example , “tell me more”,”why is that important to you”,”what options do you have”. There is NO need to have a follow up question to a powerful question. A powerful question stands by itself as it’s self-explanatory. As a rule of thumb, if the question is not raising awareness or responsibility in the coachee, don’t ask it.

4) Annoying Assumptions! Every time I started my statement or question with an assumption, I felt a knot in my stomach. My body was telling me that I should not have done that. How do I guard myself against assumptions? I think silence helps in this aspect as it allows me think to regroup and think through what I want to say. I need to ask myself “is that true or am I assuming it to be true?”

5) Leading the coachee. I think this is the cardinal sin of coaching. My own perspectives and experiences cloud my coaching intentions and I “decide” the issue the coachee needs to inquire further and lead the coachee down that path. It may or may not be the right issue to discuss but I need to make conscious efforts to challenge my own assumptions.