As coaches we don’t hold answers, we hold tools with which to help uncover answers in collaboration with each unique individual we encounter.
We must be clear about that from the outset to level set intentions, responsibilities and expectations.
The ‘answers’ we think we know stem from previous solutions – from theory or experience, neither of which will carry over fully to the specific context of each upcoming situation.
Of course, theory [science] and previous experience are far from useless – both provide a framework for our understanding, but both are snapshots in time – insights really.
Seeing theory and experience as tools for selection rather than rules and absolutes, will help steer us away from jumping to conclusions or projecting our biases, anecdotes or knowledge onto the current situation, or worse, the client.
How do we know which tool to select?
We must get curious – explore through great questions, then listen – really listen – to the client’s responses without judgement.
We must have the courage to execute.
At some point, with solid rationale, we must select a tool from our kit and get to work – armed with the humility and vulnerability to accept that there’s still plenty that we don’t know, and so we’re open to learning no matter the outcome.
Of course, we must continually work to refine our craft – our execution, tool selection and the way in which we use them – our coaching skill. [Note: We must be careful here – a positive feedback loop of success can lead us back towards believing that we’ve got it all figured out – if that thought ever crosses your mind, be sure that you don’t know enough about the person in front of you].
The only way to establish the truth in any given scenario is through increased awareness and continued open and honest collaboration. From which, whilst one of you may have arrived at a conclusion, in reality, you both got there together.