Mistakes are an important part of every coach’s learning journey. I know because I made them all! And I see them all the time working with coaches in certification and/or in my Fast Track program. The good news is they all stem from mindset. So, use these tips to recognize them faster, minimize their impact and create powerful new learning and intention.
1. You’re Waiting To Be Ready
What is ready anyway? It’s a state of mind, one which implies you don’t have something you need yet to really be a coach. What do you think that is? More training? Experience? Knowledge? How is that possible when being a coach is just that … a state of being? It’s an intention to be whatever you think it means to be a coach. Have you defined what that is for yourself? What if that definition is the only thing that’s been missing? A lack of readiness signifies a lack of clarity or commitment to being what you want. So, stop waiting for someone else to define it for you. Stop allowing fear of what you don’t yet know distract you. Make it known for yourself. Who are you as a coach? Define it and be it.
2. You Want To Be Great
Again, what is great? How will you know it? How will you measure it? And is it based on your definition or someone else's? Regardless, it’s a trap. Like meditation, the path to mastery is a never-ending process of applying new experience and knowledge. If you make greatness your goal, you will always be attached to an outcome you can’t control. And you will be forgetting that your value is not based on how great your clients think you are, but in the depth and breadth of their experience with you. It’s not about you.
3. You're Attached To Results
Many coaches equate their value with clients achieving their goals. It’s not. And it’s dangerous to think so. You want your clients to have intention, but, as their coach, you must be completely detached from their present and future outcome. The safe space you hold for your clients requires you to eliminate your own judgment, bias and perspective. Any attachment to outcome, even praise for completing a request, is judgment. That detachment gives your clients complete freedom to explore, choose, change their mind and learn how capable they really are. And we know what the client doesn't. Every experience, regardless of whether the client perceives it as good or bad, is an opportunity for growth. There is no destination.
4. You’re Trying To Fix The Problem
It’s tempting to want to help your client fix their problem. You empathize with them. You don’t want them to feel badly. You can think of all kinds of ways that could help. Have you really empowered your client by fixing it though? No. You’ve actually disempowered them and kept them from learning as much as they can from their experience. You’ve now become an obstacle to their evolution and growth. And when you automatically assume their struggle is bad, you’ve introduced judgment and given power to the problem, rather than your client. Yes, you want them to bring an agenda or intention into your coaching session … not to fix it though. Your job as a coach is to help them explore their relationship to it. How do they see or sense it (metaphor)? What do they feel about it (values + embodiment)? What do they think it means (perspective/story)? What does it say about them (Inner Leader/Inner Judge)? What do they want to do about it (intention + action)? By exploring their relationship to the problem, you are untangling them from it, so they can create a new relationship with it. And as coaches, we do the same for clients to fully celebrate their victories as well. Our value is never tied to the situation, the experience or even the perspective of the client. Trust your client’s ability to grow, not break, through every experience. Respect that their experience and what they choose in that experience is solely theirs.
5. You're Not Willing To Get Fired
Let me tell you a secret … you are not for everyone. While your coach training has given you the methodology to coach anyone on anything, it doesn’t mean you are the same as any other coach. Your values, perspectives, experiences and expertise are unique to you … and you will attract your ideal clients who resonate with exactly those things. Tune into that resonance. Know it is fully there before agreeing to work with a new client and say no to anything else. Let that resonance create the critical foundation for a fulfilling, long-term client relationship. Pay attention to it. Lean into it. Trust that it will support your alliance through raw emotion, bold questions and hard truth. Use it to fully show up for your clients without fear. Trust that they can be with it because you are fully with them as deep and dark as they need to go. Anything less is a disservice to them and you. Trust in YOUR ability to grow, not break, through every experience. Respect yourself and appreciate that there are no mistakes, only learning.