The added value coach… are you one of them?

Nov 2017

My role as a coach supervisor allows me to work with a wide range of coaches from all different walks of life with a multitude of experience.

Supervision is co-creating a learning relationship that encourages development, and growth for the coach. It provides a space for reflection, a time to review, and a time to re-play conversations, situations and scenarios that have impacted them.

If we use the statement “Who you are is how you coach” means that when we work with our clients we need to ensure our baggage, issues or things that stop us from being the best we can be get left at the door and if they don’t then we can explore why they have presented themselves.

Coaches tend to care, and come into the profession because they want to give something back, however on many occasions they can get lost in their clients lives and emotions. This can in the long term leave a dent in the overall coach’s well-being and confidence.

Over empathetic coaches can even begin to own their client’s emotions and carry them round with them on top of their own emotions. Leading to a sense of heaviness and on occasion leaving the coach in a low ebb funk not realising why they feel the way they do.

But most of all the common ailment of the everyday coach is one of “wanting to add value”.

Regardless if you are a newly qualified coach or one with a raft of experience and many hours under your belt, it’s there rumbling away underneath. Waiting to pop up and force the coach into a torrent of self-criticism, a powerhouse of perfectionism or a crisis of confidence.

All in all the coach starts to question “Am I adding value?”

How this manifests in the coach can vary from coach to coach. However it is likely I will see a range of personas present themselves.

The over zealous cheerleader, the one who constantly tells the client they are doing great? They are doing amazing or dare I say… they’re awesome? An over praiser and an over supporter using phrases such as “that’s fantastic” and “keep going you are such an amazing person” and the praise continues from coachee to coachee. The drive to be seen as supportive; be caring and enthusiastic; only getting in the way of the coach, the client and the session.

The master of disguise, pretending to be the coach but as soon they get the opportunity to add their two-penneth; the mentor appears removing their mask of objectivity they seize the client’s story and begin to tell them what they should do. Doing most of the talking they slip easily into offering up solutions and making recommendations. The drive to now look good and be seen as someone who knows their stuff taking over leaving no space for the client to do the work they are meant to do.

The magician, ready to pull a wide range of exercises, questionnaires, home actions out of their top hat. Dahdahhhh… Proving they have everything the client needs up their sleeve. Discouraging the client from taking responsibility for designing their own actions. The drive to show how good their tricks are, only hinder or misdirect the client from digging deep in the session and exploring what needs to explored in the moment.

The superhero, keen to rescue the day. Presuming the client needs saving, the coach quickly changes into their cape and wearing their underwear over their business suit, they swoop in to save the day. The drive to rescue the client is led by a strong morale code and a sense of responsibility. However this only leaves the client relying on the superhero’s powers and sense of responsibility. It also leaves the coach caught in the same dilemma, always needing to save the day.

So I ask you? Do you find yourself in one of these personas with your clients? Do you want to be the coach who insists on adding value?

The real outcome of all of these scenarios is simple, the coach will take on too much, and they will feel they’re not good enough. The tragedy in all of this is the coach will never reach their true potential and will always be searching for it

So what do you need to do within yourself to let your over zealous cheerleader, the master of disguise, the magician and the superhero go?