What are the Top Coaching Mistakes Robyn and Andrea see all the time?
Common Coaching Mistakes
- Coaching Mistake #1: Expecting Too Little
- Coaching Mistake #2: Feeling Responsible for the Client
- Coaching Mistake #3: Clear Contract
- Coaching Mistake #4: Having Just One Solution/Model
- Coaching Mistake #5: Waiting Too Long
- Coaching Mistake #6: Being Too Significant
- Coaching Mistake #7: Poor Schedule Management
- Coaching Mistake #8: Not Contextualizing
- Coaching Mistake #9: Knowing When to Say Goodbye
- Coaching Mistake #10: Creating a Dependency
Robyn: OK, hi everyone. Welcome to CoachStreet Episode 3: Top Coaching Mistakes. I’m Robyn Logan, your host and my co-host over there is…
Andrea: Andrea Lee. Woo-hoo!
Robyn: (Laughs) Woo-hoo! Andrea Lee. Is that with like 6 e’s on the end of Lee?
Andrea: Yes, Lee rhymes with “we,” as in “weeee!”
Andrea: Because you know what, it’s so exciting Robyn. You are at the ICF Conference this week.
Robyn: I am. I’m at the ICF Australia Conference in Sydney which is fantastic. It’s great being up in Sydney. And lots of international guests here, which is really good, too.
Andrea: Really neat.
Robyn: Yeah, it’s been really good. Actually the keynote speaker was Dr. David Peterson. Have you heard of him?
Andrea: No, I haven’t.
Robyn: Well he is the director of Leadership and Coaching at Google where, he coaches senior leaders and oversees like the internal coaching programs. But he gave a keynote on becoming a more mindful coach. I’m seeing a lot of this now, mindfulness coaching around, and it was really, really interesting. He had some fantastic quotes he put up on the screen which I might try and grab. His definition of mindfulness was really good. I can’t remember offhand, but something about… It was more than just about being present or being in the moment. It was being present, being in the moment, listening with purpose, and in a non-judgmental way. So it was a pretty cool definition. So yeah, that was really good. So far, it’s been great.
Andrea: Good stuff. It’s really good to, you know, stay brushed up. It’s not something that I think you go to every year, certainly I haven’t been in a couple years. But I remember going to one in St. Louis and you know, a couple of different ones. And there are also lots of different other conferences around. But I know you and I agree, Robyn, that we also like to go to conferences outside the coaching profession.
Robyn: Yeah, totally. In fact, normally, that’s where I like to learn and extend my knowledge and be challenged. And I’ve got to admit, I’m a little bit complacent sometimes. The ICF Conference, I know with this one, I came up here thinking “Oh well, I might not learn anything new, but I’ll get some great contacts and do some great networking.” And then, pleasantly surprised — I did learn something new, so there you go
Andrea: Good! I’m so happy to hear that, yeah. It is hard to stay fresh, but yup.
Robyn: Well, I don’t know. We’re pretty fresh already, don’t you think?
Andrea: I think if you need fresh, you need to listen to the CoachStreet podcast.
Robyn: Yeah! That’s what I think. And so what have you been doing this week?
Andrea: Yeah, speaking of events and things like that, you were attending one, I was hosting a little mini-workshop in Vancouver. We do a bigger event, like it’s a three-day thing, but I wanted to give a short workshop. So we just did a four-hour workshop in Vancouver yesterday, now, boom, I’m back home and we had 30 people there and we have a few guests, new ones, coming to our bigger event in a couple weeks. So that was really fun. You know Robyn, I hadn’t done any real local networking. Our Vancouver event is usually lots of people coming from around the world, and suddenly, I look at myself in the mirror and I said, “Why have I not been building and cultivating the relationships I have in Vancouver?” Because I do have some. So it was just a really nice, you know…
Robyn: So did the guests, the guests that come to the Vancouver workshop, were local, or they came in from other places?
Andrea: They were local. They were just local. Really great local people. And I even bumped into somebody who was in my Biology 11 class in summer school, it was crazy. So it just goes to show, you know, getting out there, not a ton of promotion, not a ton of, you know, hoopla leading up to it or anything. Just set a date, pick a topic, invite people, 30 people showed up. It was great. It was a really fun time.
Robyn: I think sometimes, you know, when you’re running a global business, that is the irony. That is the trap, that you just ignore your local market, because you’re busy looking out all the time.
Robyn: Oh that’s very cool, good on you. Well, let’s get into it. Today’s episode is on Coaching Mistakes. And we’ve got 11 coaching mistakes. So let’s roll right into the first one. The first one I think is one of yours, is expecting too little. Do you want to tell us what that’s about?
Andrea: Yeah. I mean, as a coach you really need to remember that you are there to be an accelerant. Like when you go to the gas station and you’re putting gas in your car — unless you’re a lovely Prius owner, you know, an electric car owner which I have to be, one day soon — you’re putting high-octane fuel in the gas tank of your client. You’re not just there to mm-hmm, uh-huh, that’s nice, interesting…” That’s not the job of a coach. It’s a mistake that can often happen both when you’re beginning, when you’re unsure what to say, or you’re a veteran coach caught a little bit complacent. You just end up not expecting as much from your clients and that, after all, is what they expect from you. So, coaching mistake number one: expecting too little.
Robyn: Yeah, I totally agree. I mean it’s really the job of the coach to hold that bar just a little bit higher than the client would themselves, right?
Andrea: And “higher” could mean smaller or quieter or more healthy, or it could mean “higher” like more money or a bigger, faster car or whatever. It doesn’t just mean the Hollywood goals, it depends, it’s relative to the client set the bar higher, yeah?
Robyn: That is a great point, yeah, totally.
Andrea: What about number two?
Robyn: Number two: feeling responsible for the client. OK, well this one is something I’ve actually even experienced myself, particularly when you develop a relationship with your client. I personally find it hard sometimes to not be responsible, like if they’re not achieving their goal or they’re not doing well. It’s really important that you step back and it’s not your responsibility, the well-being of the client and whether or not they achieve what they set out to achieve. And I don’t know if this is a gender thing, I don’t know if women tend to do it more than men, the caring, nurturing stereotype, but I definitely think it’s a much healthier relationship if you really hold the belief that the client is responsible for their outcomes.
Andrea: Especially Robyn, I would say energetically, if you’re in it for the long haul, right, dear listener, if you’re gonna exhaust yourself on every single client being totally responsible for them, you’re probably only ever going to be able to have 3 clients in your whole life, cause it’s too heavy, and it’s not ultimately healthy.
Number three. You had mentioned, right Robyn, about clear contract?
Robyn: Yeah, not having a clear contract. I see this one a lot. I actually see this happening a lot in our forum, you know where coaches are talking about their clients in different scenarios, and often I look at it and think, you know what, a good clear contract would have just nipped that in the bud. It wouldn’t have even happened. And what I mean by that is, it doesn’t have to be some full-on, lengthy thing that you get a lawyer to see, and it doesn’t have to be like that. It just, in fact, maybe it should be called an agreement. A coaching agreement where it will be different for every coach. You can just open, seriously, one page in Microsoft Word and write down your expectations, the way you work as a coach. So for example, mine could be something like, you know, I engage clients for a three-month minimum, we work once a week on the phone for 40 minutes. And detailing things like who called, does the coach call or does the client call? What happens, are there review periods? What happens if somebody wants to end the agreement? How does that work? That type of thing, you know, when does payment happen? What happens if payment doesn’t come through, is there still another session? Just being very clear upfront can avoid a lot of pain and heartache afterwards.
Andrea: Yeah, can’t emphasize that one enough. Really good. And the thing is, what’s lovely is in the coaching community, we are very generous. So it’s very likely that a colleague or friend or you know someone from your coach training school has a couple of samples of these and you can take those as a place to start and go ahead and create one of your own.
Robyn: Yeah, totally. So that’s number three. Number four: having one solution or one model is a big coaching mistake.
Robyn: They actually talked about this in the conference. This one’s yours, Andrea, so off you go.
Andrea: Yeah, what we mean by this is that, you know there’s a saying that when you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You know what I mean, like even if it’s a screw or a toilet paper roll, you know what I mean? You still think it looks like a nail. If you’re too attached to an identity of being one solution, like let’s say you’re a speaking coach and you think there’s this only one great way, or you’re a health coach and there’s this, you know, formula, that’s this precise thing. If you are not open to the fact that your thing might or might not be the perfect thing for every client, you’re gonna end up being this hammer that’s trying to hammer in a screw or a toilet paper roll. And it’s highly inappropriate and it does the client an injustice and it’s also a disservice to you. Coaches, I think one of the best characteristics we can cultivate in ourselves is open-mindedness and the idea that curiosity, exploration, and right-sizing the solution to the client is such an important part of that.
Robyn: Yeah. Totally. And I think sometimes, you know, depending wehre coaches have trained, they might have learned one particular model, like you know, the GROW model is out there a lot, or you know, an NLP model, or a Solutions Best model, whatever. And that’s great, but like you say, it doesn’t work for every client in every situation because the coaching is bigger than the one hour that you’re on the phone. So I think that’s a really good point, you have to be… it’s actually that thing, you know, you wrote a comment on Facebook a while back about presenters coming to your event. And they were like preparing and wanting to spend time on Powerpoint slides and you wrote something about, “You know what? If you could just turn up and add value in the moment, it’s the greatest gift that you can bring to the conference.” And I think it’s a little bit like that with the coaching, it’s great to have a solution or a model that you know works pretty much 80% of the time, but really, you just need to be there and be open to what the client needs in that moment.
Robyn: So, that’s number four, ripping through. OK, number five: waiting too long. So what’s this one about?
Andrea: (Pauses) We just had to give a brief demonstration of that. (Laughs) It was just a one-second pause of waiting too long to say things. You know, when you’re coaching in a session… And I didn’t want to stop for too long unless you felt like I fell off the line here…
Robyn: You know what, I’m really learning this sort of wacky humor you’ve got, it’s like really left the field. I’m gonna have to stay on alert for these little jokes.
Andrea: You had better be on alert. I’m telling you, this is CoachStreet. The thing is, if you’re a coach, you’ve been called to it because you’re an observer, and you’re a listener, you’ve noticed things, you have a sensitivity that’s different from the average bear. And because of that you’re gonna be holding data – thoughts, ideas, things that occur to you about the person that’s speaking, your client, or the thing that they’re speaking of. And when you have these thoughts, it’s very important that you learn the art of speaking up about the important ones in a timely way and not holding on to them or sandbagging, hanging on to them, so that three sessions later you say “Well, you know, I had this thought three sessions ago that maybe this would really help you.” The client, very rightfully in that case, could be like, “Well, why did you let me spend three sessions going without this piece of wisdom?” So waiting too long to say things is definitely something that… and especially for newer coaches. You know, it’s not that I’m advocating, you know, interrupt every sentence when you observe something, but when something shows up in the room, it’s like when we say there’s an elephant in the room, you need to say it, sooner rather than later
Robyn: Yeah. What do you think stops coaches from doing that?
Andrea: You know, I think when you’re new, you think there’s a testing ground, a confidence building that, you know, saying something is OK, and that the client is not gonna be pissed off at you for interrupting their thought process, trusting that it’s valuable, you know, it’s a little about a testing. And so I think the way that you can approach it, Robyn, if you are in that situation, “You know, could I pause you for a second? There’s something that’s popped up and I wanna make sure that it isn’t something, you know, and if it’s worth something, we can go there, but if it’s not, you can just throw it out” kind of a thing. And then the client, more likely than not will be, “Yes, please do.” And so you say it and the way you say it is “Well, it occurs to me that when you said X, this.” And you say your thing. And the client has two possible responses. It’s like “You know, you’re right. I didn’t realize that I was saying that that way, that you are showing me something.” Or they could say, “Oh, no, I know, that’s not anything and, you know, let’s move on.” So the worst case scenario really is that you interrupted it for like a minute, and then the client can get back on track. So knowing that the worst case scenario is that often can release people from that fear of bothering to try this.
Robyn: Yeah. It’s like a confidence thing, isn’t it? Just having a little more confidence. And I think that waiting too long, from what you just described there, implies not just over weeks of waiting too long, but also in the session. So two types of waiting too long; one is like you know, actually as the client is talking, and the other is, you know, over a period of weeks. We’re gonna have all these coaches now jumping in there.
Andrea: (Laughs) Yeah.
Robyn: Really funny. OK, this sort of segues into number six, which is being too significant. You know, I think this is the thing with coaches. Just don’t be worried about making mistakes. Here we are having a whole episode on Top Coaching Mistakes, but actually the message is “You know what, you can make some mistakes, but no one’s gonna die.” You know, worst that’s gonna happen is maybe in that moment, the coaching wasn’t effective, but you know, no one’s gonna die here. And you know, I think the thing is about this, I’m just gonna give you an example from the conference. I’m just trying to find the page here. So the keynote speech, right, which was great, by David Peterson, it was great. But he said this thing halfway through which was “”active listening and powerful questions are overrated.” And actually, what he was doing was making a point about being mindful and not relying just on powerful questions and active listening. But it was more about, what struck me was the energy in the room. People were like giggling, like a naughty schoolboy had said something wrong, you know? And I was like, that’s just amazing. And then I noticed in the program, and also the keynote speaker from this morning, who was also an excellent speaker, Andrew May, but he listed in his keynote, in the description about his keynote address, in print, in the program, it says that he would talk about four things. Number one, transitioning from the world of sport into the corporate world, number two, too many questions will get you nowhere quickly. And I’ll just read you from the program:
Realizing that he needed to take more of a coaching approach, Andrew went back to University and took a Masters of Coaching. He now knows how to ask questions. Too often, though, coaches can forget that telling is still a valid form of coaching. Andrew will talk about finding the right balance between telling and asking.
I’m just like amazed this is still a topic, and such a serious topic that it would be in print in a keynote speech. It’s like there’s a professional anxiety around telling. Do you know what I mean?
Andrea: Yes, definitely. I mean, it’s onerous, it’s heavy-feeling, it feels very self-indulgent, in fact, to be, not to use too harsh a word, but it feels like it’s like, either do or don’t. And move on. (Laughs)
Robyn: That’s right.
Andrea: You know I don’t mind going right out on a limb to say that. It’s not to disrespect the topic, and certainly for different people that will provide some good learning and so on, but it’s an example, is what you’re saying, right, Robyn? Being really heavy and kind of ponderous and self-indulgent over something.
Robyn: Yeah, it’s an example of being too significant about doing the wrong thing according to some sort of coaching police that will come and tap you on the shoulder. And I think it’s possible that this particular anxiety comes from the fact that the ICF competencies are pretty clear about not giving advice. And so this is an ICF Conference and so a lot of the coaches here are credentialed with the ICF so they have to be very careful when they are doing their exams, that they don’t give advice. And maybe that’s created some sort of anxiety that flows over into their coaching. I don’t know what causes it, or maybe it’s just a lack of confidence about, you know, what coaching is. I’m not sure what causes it, but I do know that it’s a mistake to be too significant because when you’re being significant about that, who were you thinking about? Were you thinking about your client or yourself? You’re thinking about yourself. And actually, it’s not about you. This whole thing is about the client so don’t worry about that, move on, just do, like your advice in Facebook to your presenters at your conference, you just be mindful. Arrive, be in the moment, and give the client the best value you can. That’s number six.
So, number seven, down to a more practical mistake here: poor schedule management. What’s that about?
Andrea: Well, I think it’s good to talk about this from two perspectives. It’s, you know, poor schedule management by you, the coach, and then poor schedule management by the client. OK? And so we can talk about it from the perspective of the coach, since this is CoachStreet, not ClientStreet. But as a coach, a few things to remember—and there’s actually quite a bit that could be said about this—but try to be compassionate to yourself with regards to your own scheduling. It can be very tempting to say “Hey, you know, I have five clients, I’m giving them hour-long sessions, let me book them at 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2. And then I’ll have the afternoon off.” Right? You know, not only is it of course not good to not have a break at lunch, but more subtly, it’s like technically, you can’t have a call at nine o’clock for 60 minutes and then start another call at 10. That’s a 59-minute session. (Laughs) And people don’t usually really understand that. You know what I mean? You’re actually ripping your client off by a minute. So, really and truly, like for your own bodily health, for your own mental acuity and ability to be present for your clients, poor schedule management is when you try to jam too many in at one time. It can also be when, let’s say, you are on a call and you should be ending at 45 minutes if you’ve sold your sessions as 45 minutes long and you let people go over regularly and let yourself be rushed. Learning to be able to say, how to wind up a call at 45 minutes is very simple. Just say, “Well, in our last few minutes, what would you feel is most important to do in our time remaining?” or “I’m noticing the time and I really wanna hurry and give you these last couple questions. So is that OK with you?” You just sign, post, and then finish. Yeah, those are some examples on that.
Robyn: Perfect. You know, on that, sort of related, this other great thing that David Peterson said yesterday in his keynote speech, because he was working—you know, he works for Google so he was in Silicon Valley a lot—he noticed, he said he was getting bored with his clients at one point, you know, he was just like turning up, going, “Oh, right, here we go again, the client’s talking about, no one understands them, the boss is really this, it’s not their fault…” and he’d almost classified client problems into “Ok, this is a 12A, I know how to deal with this one,” whatever. And he was looking for a way to get challenged and move beyond that. And being in Silicon Valley, he looked around and he thought, “You know, with computers and software systems, they’re always developing and growing. And what happens to computers is they get faster, they get cheaper, they get better. And so he thought to himself, how can I, as a coach, get faster, get cheaper, and get better? So he started by saying “Well look, my coaching isn’t now. How can I have that and give the client better value in that time?” And it was really interesting, and then he went on to talk about all various different ways he did that, but what I found interesting about that is that I found this myself as a coach that — ‘cause I coach for 40 minutes and often people go, “Oh really, someone else does an hour, and theirs costs this much.” And I always say to them, “You know what, if I can get you the result you want in half the time, you should actually be paying me double, not half.”
Andrea: (Laughs) Yes. I totally agree with you.
Robyn: Do you know what I mean? There’s this whole concept around it.
Andrea: Yeah. It’s like that story of a man who met Picasso on the train somewhere between Paris and something. He said, “Would you mind very much, Picasso, drawing a picture for my daughter?” And so Picasso did, took out a piece of paper and a pencil, and took like literally 10 seconds and drew something that was really quite lovely. And Picasso gave it to the gentleman on the train. And he said, “Wow, it took you no time at all,” he was kind of not very happy. (Laughs) Picasso was like, “Well, a masterpiece is a masterpiece if it takes no time. And it’s even better of a masterpiece if it takes less time.”
Robyn: That’s right.
Andrea: Yeah. Kind of an apocryphal story. But this thing, poor schedule management has this greater truth around it that if you will give yourself some rigor around your practice with regards to schedule, your clients will thank you for it. Your practice will be able to maximize its profit, you’re gonna be able to enjoy your life a lot better, and enjoy that coaching lifestyle. We’re gonna do a coaching lifestyle session, maybe on a next podcast, aren’t we?
Robyn: Yeah, let’s do that. I’m looking forward to that one.
Andrea: Should we talk about that from the client perspective, though?
Robyn: Yeah, OK.
Andrea: You know, you’re gonna have times when your clients don’t show up for calls, or they’re late for calls and they’re kind of perpetually sloppy with your time. A mistake that often happens is to be… You can be forgiving, but it’s like what my husband says about teaching — he used to be a substitute teacher — that you can be a hard-ass at the beginning and get nicer, but it’s very hard to be nice and then be a hard-ass later.
Robyn: So true, so true. And that applies to parenting, too.
Andrea: Yeah, so we can relate, right? So, with clients, you know, it’s better, really. A mistake to be too forgiving and too lenient at the beginning. If a client misses a session, you could say “Sorry you’ve missed that, unfortunately, because you did not give me notice.” Or whatever your policy, you choose your policy to be. You know, “You’ve missed that session so, when would you like to book your next session?”
Andrea: And it might be that, let’s say you were at your desk and you were working anyway and it was really no skin off your back. You don’t need to cancel a session but you might charge a fee for it. You might say, rescheduling fee for a missed session is $50 or whatever. Some kind of rule to give you some teeth so that the client ultimately remembers not to do it again. ‘Cause that’s what you want to prevent.
Robyn: Alright. Number 8: not contextualizing. So what’s that one about?
Andrea: Yeah. I think that this is really important for two reasons, both from a business-building perspective because let’s face it, if we contextualize this podcast on coaching mistakes, right? And give it a bigger picture, it’s because we want you to become better as a coach and then be able to get better results for your clients, be able to charge and be worthy of your fee or perhaps raise your fee, create a great reputation. So, paying attention to these coaching mistakes is actually gonna help you build your business. And when it comes to contextualizing, what I really mean is, if let’s say you’re a specific kind of, you know, you’re a book writing coach, let’s say, and you’ve been working on just the writing part of the book, OK? Or let’s say, let’s go even smaller, you’ve been working on the outline of your book. If you really, really focus on the outline of your book, to the exclusion of a lot of other things, and you haven’t actually talked about the fact that at some point, the client’s gonna have to actually write the outline, fill in the outline. If you don’t contextualize that, the client, through no fault of their own, could get lost and lose time and spend too much energy on the outlining part without appropriately making the decision in the bigger picture. Does that make sense?
Robyn: Yeah. Absolutely! Absolutely. It’s like the coaching is not just about the 40 minutes or one hour that you’re in the session. I hate to draw it back to the conference back again but Dr. Michael Cavanaugh, he actually works at the Sydney uni where they do a masters in coaching here in Australia, and he gave a presentation, New Models of Coaching for the 21st Century. And one of the things that he talked about, he put that into much bigger words and made it sound a lot more academic, but basically what he was saying was exactly what you’re saying which is, you know what? We live in a very complex world. And particularly, he was talking about leadership coaching. And it’s particularly true for leaders. You know, they are in a very complex sort of ecosystem of their company. Then they’re in a global market with whatever’s happening in the world. And it really is the age of connection. Not connection as in everyone’s got an iPhone and we can connect by technology. But as in the world, things are connected. This event happens here. You know, it’s a bit like that. The butterfly flaps its wings and the Amazon chaos theory thing. And so basically what he was saying was you need to give your coaching a context. You know, what the client is saying is being said within a bigger context. And as a coach, you need to actually be aware of that bigger context. And it’s not just about the words that are said in that session.
Andrea: Yeah. There’s a few ways to interpret it. And I mean, if I take my self as an example, we just did a session earlier today of someone who’s a client who just grows six figures in their business. She’s not a coach but she’s a different kind of a business owner. And something we had to coach on which required me to zoom out, to say “If you do this business strategy now, remember that when you’re at a quarter million dollars, you’re gonna be in trouble.” OK? So this is an example, a very concrete example of zooming out and saying “Whoa. Do you want to do that in the longer term, in the bigger picture? And if so, great! If not, then let’s coach from that bigger picture context.
Robyn: Excellent example. Okay. Number 9 Top Coaching Mistake is not knowing when to say goodbye. And this sort of circles back to your poor schedule management, poor client management. Sometimes, the client… it’s not working. And it’s not working for any number of reasons. And they can be different for every coach. You can have your own very special requirements that you have for working with clients. So for example, for me, I don’t mind if a client’s late for a call, ’cause you know, that’s just not one of my things that bothers me. And I’m very happy and flexible and we can reschedule. But maybe for some other coaches, that’s a very important thing, that a client is on time for a call. And if a client continuously misses that time, then it’s not working for you and you can’t be your best coach. And it’s time to let the client go. But it can be anything. It can be late payments. It can be clients who complain, who are not satisfied, who continually don’t actually achieve what they said they’re gonna achieve but don’t actually take responsibility. It can be all sorts of things. The point is, it’s not a judgment here. It’s not like there’s a right or wrong way to be a client. And there’s not a right or wrong way to be a coach. But there are, for every individual coach, particular things that work well for them in their practice. And I think you have to know about these. You have to be self-aware to know what they are and to know when to let a client go.
Andrea: I loved that one. That’s a really strong one. It’s almost more than a coaching mistake. It’s a coaching opportunity. It’s like if you know how to say goodbye, you know how to say hello. And oftentimes, really, what saying goodbye leads to is a better client that’s gonna fit you, that would probably a better paying client, in some cases, too. Just like cleaning your wardrobe, you know. Get rid of that ratty, old sweater and get a new one.
Robyn: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think, sometimes people feel that because they are getting paid, it’s like an obligation. “Oh, they’re paying me. I can’t give the money back.” You can give the money back. Exactly what you’re saying, Andrea, that that spot is an opportunity lost because it’s a spot you can’t put your perfect client into. And this is for business owners, not just coaches. Any business owner that works with clients knows that a bad client can be very draining, take a lot of energy. And really, the earlier you can spot that and the earlier that you can very respectfully just say “Look. This is not working out but thanks so much.” And even better if you have somewhere to refer them to. “This person, over here, go and give them a try.” And then move on. Just without any energy around it. None of the sort of like complaining about “Oh, I’ve got this client who’s like this and like that.” Just be aware. Spot it and move on.
Andrea: And it’s similar to, what is it now? Mistake number 10, creating a dependency. Quite similar, I think. By creating a dependency, what I mean is not encouraging the client to stand on their own two feet, to think things through. Whether you believe in telling or asking questions or mindfulness. Ultimately, you are the person who is at the back of the bicycle, kind of acting like training wheels. And at the perfect moment, the ripe moment, that is your superpower as a coach, decide you’re letting them go on the bicycle themselves with no hands on the back. Not doing that is really… It’ll be like going to the doctor and having them get you hooked on morphine. You know what it means? You’re supposed to be helping me get better and heal and move on and live a happy life, not give me an addiction to something like coaching sessions or something like that. So that’s creating a dependency.
Robyn: So what do you do, in your experience, if you sense a client is becoming dependent on you or your coaching? What would you do in that situation?
Andrea: It’s such a good question, Robyn, because it’s been years. Like I think a lot of it has to do with a pro-active stance or posture towards not letting that happen. You know like there’s an icky feeling when somebody is… It’s like co-dependency, really. For all of you listeners who are thinking, you know, in those terms… But if I find myself in a situation, say with a client or any relationship, I’m a big fan of just speaking the truth. I would go the direct route and just say “Hey listen. Could I talk to you about something? It really feels like there’s kind of a dependency energy that might be creeping up in our relationship.” And what I mean by that is “You know, I’d really love for you to be thinking things through for yourself. And even if it is that you agree with my suggestion to you as a coach, I want you to think it through for yourself. And obviously, you trust me. It’s not that I’m not trustworthy. It’s that there’s gonna be a day when I’m not gonna be around for a question. I don’t want you to not be able to think for yourself.
Robyn: Yeah. I agree. I think the trick is knowing what that behavior looks and feels like so you can spot it early on. It’s a thing. And that’s like you say, you probably had it for a while because you don’t even probably realize you’re doing it but you know when that’s coming along. And you’re just dealing with it as you go along. Yeah. That’s a great example. Okay. So number 11 top coaching mistake is, drum roll, not being you. I love this one. So, do you want to tell us, tell the listeners about this one, Andrea?
Andrea: Sure! I know we both have opinions about it. We wanted to throw in a bonus one, not content at CoachStreet to give you just 10 top coaching mistakes. We have a bonus, number 11, as our last one. Not being you. You know you’re making this coaching mistake if you feel like you sound different from client to client. And by that I mean, not that you have the same tone or you’re monotone or you’re boring sounding or something like that. But you’re coaching this one person, you sound like Elvis Presley. And then you’re coaching this other person, you sound like The Beatles. And you’re coaching this other person and I don’t know what. It’s like you’re acting and being a different person with each. That is not gonna be sustainable. And ultimately, is quite damaging, actually, to your own self. It’s like as if you had three jobs, you know, in three different coffee shops and you’re a different personality at each. It’s not gonna work. It’s not gonna work. You know Robyn, we’ve been around the block enough to know that this happens. It really does.
Robyn: Yeah. You know, I’ve got a friend, a school friend from years ago who’s never had a party with all her friends in one place. And it’s because, I go ask her about it, she said she has different relationships with each of her friends. And I suspect that’s what’s going on, that she’s a different person with friend group A then she has friend group B. So to bring them together would be too conflicting for her. She wouldn’t know what to do.
Andrea: That person needs a coach. Sorry.
Robyn: Yeah. I know. I know that person needs a coach. But I think the thing about not being you, for me, it’s about taking the time to develop your own style as a coach. Not copying someone else either. It circles back to a lot of the mistakes we’ve talked about. It’s like there’s a bit of a theme running through here. You know, it’s not about… there’s not a right or wrong way to do it. And it’s not about doing it according to the ICF competencies or according to the coach you had or according to the guru/coach that you’ve seen, you know, Tony Robbins or whatever. It’s about finding your authentic style and approach to coaching and getting comfortable with that and being confident in the fact that that is the best coaching style or approach for you.
Andrea: Yeah. And nothing will go farther with that than practice, practice, practice.
Andrea: I love it.
Robyn: Excellent. Well, there you go. We’ve ripped through those coaching mistakes. And as always, we’d love to hear from people if they think we’ve forgotten a few mistakes or would like to ask any questions or offer any other advice on coaching mistakes.
Andrea: Love it.
Robyn: So let’s get into Spot the Coaching. OK. Now, I’ve done the homework. Have you done the homework?
Andrea: What homework?
Robyn: “What homework?” That means you haven’t. Spot Wally.
Andrea: I did not do my Wally homework.
Robyn: Now, I think that’s detention for you because that’s three episodes we’ve had now
Andrea: Well, I am counting on you and our listeners to help out with this homework. I thought it was everyone’s homework, not mine.
Robyn: Okay. So basically, as you predicted, cultural differences have come into play here, Andrea. And Where’s Wally in Australia, is in fact, Where’s Walter, is it?
Robyn: Waldo! Where’s Waldo in the States and in Canada, in North America.
Andrea: I love it. That’s what we suspected.
Robyn: We did suspect that but I just don’t understand how that type of thing happens. It’s got me now. I’m gonna have to look it up. Because even practically speaking, printing the books, why would you want to print one with the word Wally and one with the word Waldo?
Andrea: I’m sure there’s a story around that. Maybe we could find that. But you know, the thing that I really care about, because we want to go into this Spot the Coaching, I mean, how is it that it’s been this many years? It’s been decades, really. And he’s still lost. I don’t even care if he’s Waldo or Wally. That guy is still lost. That’s really sad. I mean, he doesn’t even know his name. He’s lost. What is it? Somebody get that guy a coach. CoachStreet, please. A petition. Someone find him a coach.
Robyn: Find. Or just find him. Just find him, listeners. OK. Very funny. Alright. So let’s go to Spot the Coaching.
Andrea: Spot the Coaching. Well you know I said I did a workshop yesterday in Vancouver. And it was really lovely because I got to stay at a hotel for the first time. You know, I haven’t been… other than the spa there. And it was the Shangri-La in Vancouver. It was really a delightful venue. As you can sense from the name, it’s slightly Asian, lots of sweet decor and service, really. Five-star service. And it’s so interesting because when you think of coaching, I don’t know. Robyn, do you think of service when you think of coaching?
Robyn: When I think of coaching, I think of service? Uh, not necessarily.
Andrea: Yeah. It was “Aha” for me because the approach to service that they had at that hotel, all of a sudden, had me really feeling like this is very similar to coaching in some ways. And the example I’ll give is that when I was checking in, I got asked by a very lovely young man who said “You know, Ms. Lee, have you stayed with us at the Shangri-La before?” I said “No, actually, I haven’t.” And he proceeded to tell me a few things about parking and the lounge and et cetera. And then he said “One additional thing. If you haven’t stayed with us before, would you be comfortable if I shared with you a bit more about the technology that’s available inside your room?” So he’s asking me permission to really coach me on how to interact with my room. And I loved it. As a coach, I so appreciated it. ‘Cause of course I did this day in and day out, whether it’s in groups or individuals. But what would you think if we broached this topic? Ask for permission first, right? And I said “Well, I’ll be delighted if you could tell me about the technology in my room,” thinking “What kind of room is this?”
Robyn: It’s a room where you need individual coaching on when you arrive at the hotel.
Andrea: I’ve got coaching with my room fee. So it turns out that there’s a one-touch button for the drapes. And there’s a one-touch button for the sheers. There’s a television built-in to the mirror in the bathroom which operates like…
Robyn: Oh my God.
Andrea: And you know. Dimmer lights. And the Internet works like this. And there’s an iPod thing. And the whole thing. You know, it was really delightful because at every step of the way, he paused. He asked me if there was any questions. Was this too much information? And if I had any further questions, “Please do not hesitate. Contact the Concierge desk for any issue with your technology, whatsoever.”
Robyn: They must have had coach approach training, surely.
Andrea: It really felt like it was really delightful. Felt so held in such a great container, you know. He expected that I would want to know about the technology so he didn’t expect too little from me. He didn’t take too much responsibility for my technology. He hit all the 11 mistakes. Perfect.
Robyn: He didn’t make any coaching mistakes. That’s great.
Andrea: Really beautiful. Beautiful example of coaching out in the wild.
Robyn: It’s a great example. I love it. I love these examples. You know the best hotel that I’ve set foot in is the Meridian in Hong Kong. They have, you know, on the phone where it’s like, you know, press 1 for room service, press 2 for dry cleaning, 3 for like, whatever. There’s like nine buttons to press. The phone has like just one button and it just says “Tell us what you need.”
Robyn: I mean, that’s great. You see, you just… I don’t have to work out what my problem is. I can just hit the button and they’ll take it from there. Now, that’s a coach approach.
Andrea: That’s a great approach as well. See? We spotted coaching twice and both in the hotel industry. Where are you spotting coaching, dear listener? We wanna know.
Robyn: Yeah. Tell us.
Andrea: It’s been a great third episode, thank you, Robyn
Robyn: Thanks Andrea. We’ll see you next episode.