What’s your coaching style?

Coach: “Good morning! How are you?”

Client: “Doing well. How about you?”

Coach: “I am doing ok. How can I help you?”

Client: “Well, I do not have any specific problem to solve today; however, I am wondering why every coaching session is so different from one another. I had an excellent experience in some while was disappointed with others. Why is it so?”

Coach: “Tell me more.”

Client: “Well, for example, my last coaching session, coach & I almost went into a conflict. Coach is not at all agreed on my perception of the problem. I was not ready to accept his since I found it hard to take his perception as my problem. In another instance, the coach did listen to me with a lot of patience, but we ended up solving a cosmetic problem. There was another situation where coaching leads to finding a problem, but that was not the real problem. But, if I recall my experience with you, I always came out as a person with better clarity after every coaching session. I feel more confident about myself. Can you please enlighten me on these contrasting coaching styles & outcome?”

Coach: “Ok. Great questions. Let me ask you some questions. When you see me, do you see the person you think you are, or do you see the person I think you are?”

Client: “I am a little confused. When I see you, I see you, not me :).”

Coach: “What do you think when you ask for help from me?”

Client: “I just think of my question and try to articulate in the right way so I can communicate my thoughts, feelings better.”

Situation 1

Coach: “What do you think when you seek help from your boss?”

Client: “Well. It is different when I interact with my boss since he is a different person. I not only think of my questions, but I also consider my boss’s mood, judgments, perceptions, biases, relationships, personal expectations, etc. I tend to consider all these factors before demonstrating my curiosity on any subject or matter.”

Coach: “Whom do you think you are reflecting?”

Client: “My boss.”

Coach: “What do you feel then?”

Client: “I feel numb. I feel shackled. As my boss continued his chatter, I feel safe to keep quiet (both in mind and speech). I am afraid if any of my words go against me and not in alignment with what the boss wants.”

Coach: “So, when you are discussing with your boss, whose problems are getting addressed?”

Client: “Since I am reflecting on my boss, I tend to focus on his problems. Therefore, we find a solution together but not for my questions. They will be challenges or difficulties as perceived by the boss.”

Coach: “Where do you think your conversation lies in the top picture?”

Client: “I think the top left since I was like a mirror where we (Boss and I) both see the reflection of my boss’s impressions such as judgments, biases, opinions, etc.”

Situation 2

Coach: “What do you think when you seek help from your peers?”

Client: “Well. It is a little interesting since it largely depends on which of my peers I am talking to.”

Coach: “Tell me more.”

Client: “Well, some of my peers are quite approachable, while others are not. Unwillingly I have to go and seek help from some people. Most of the time, we ended up in conflicts.”

Coach: “What made you say so?”

Client: “I think we both look at the problem from each other’s perspective. We hear each other’s viewpoint from lenses of impurities (judgments, etc.). We make many assumptions about one another’s position. Both are right from their perspective; however, I believe it should be looked at from my perspective since I am asking for help.”

Coach: “Where do you think your conversation lies in the above picture?”

Client: “I think the bottom left since we both have our mental models. Finding a solution to a differently perceived problem will always be conflicting.”

Situation 3

Coach: “Tell me more about your other experiences in coaching?”

Client: “Sure. There is an interesting person who is quite approachable. I always love to go and talk to him.”

Coach: “I am curious. Tell me more.”

Client: “Whenever I am stuck with problems related to external partners in our projects, I always seek his help.”

Coach: “I am listening. What else”

Client: “I feel quite comfortable sharing my problem as I find him like a mirror where I see myself. Oh, I got it why you asked me the first question, “Whom I see when I see you :). I got it now.”

Coach(Smiles): “Great. Then what happens?”

Client: “I shared my problems and he then asked me a few questions to dig deeper and find the solution from within. It helped me, and then I shared with him some action points.”

Coach: “How did that go?”

Client: “Although I find a solution, yet I continue to encounter similar problems. I feel that I did not resolve the root cause of the issues I am facing.”

Coach: “Where do you think your conversation lies in the above picture?”

Client: “I think the bottom right since while I am comfortable approaching him, yet we do not dig deeper to get to the root cause of the issue. We settle for a mediocre solution. I do not feel I evolved.”

Situation 4

Coach: “How do you like our conversations so far?”

Client: “Extremely rewarding. I feel like it is expanding my awareness, and I never knew that I had so much more profound insights about the situations I face.”

Coach: “What did you try to achieve in this conversation?”

Client: “I was trying to understand various coaching styles and how they are different from one another.”

Coach: “What did you find?”

Client: “It looks like every interaction (whether we seek help or offer help) falls under one of the four different coaching styles: 

A. Beginner Coach (Raises Conflict)

B. Hasty Coach (Symptom Fix)

C. Dominant Coach (Solves the Wrong Problem)

D. Great Coach (Evolve and Create)

Coach: “Where do you think your conversation lies in the above picture?”

Client: “I think the top right since I felt empowered. I felt I have become more aware.”

Last word: We all experience these coaches in our daily lives. A great coach is like a shining mirror and attaches himself to the client. Then, both the coach and client reflect the client’s problem and then view from the client’s context. Then the great coach asks the thought-provoking questions to the client and takes the journey together into the client’s world and finds more profound insights that reveal the solution.”

Happy Coaching!