Six Common Coaching Mistakes

No matter how much time and effort new coaches put into their training, the fact of the matter is that nothing beats face-to-face experience with real world clients. Although you will inevitably find that becoming a coaching master takes time, you can save yourself from the most common coaching pitfalls by avoiding the following coaching mistakes.

Placating Your Clients

Individuals who have limited experience in mentoring or coaching often make the mistake of avoiding confrontations at all cost, even at the expense of helping clients realize and reach their inner aspirations. In order to help clients recognize their present reality and the real or imagined obstacles that have them from reaching a particular goal, coaches sometimes have to rock the boat by asking probing questions regarding difficult topics.

Information Overload

Even the most sought after business and life coaches sometimes make the classic mistake dumping more information on a client then they could possible want or use. Although it can be helpful to provide clients with a manageable quantity of information and feed back, don’t allow your desire to educate others overstep your commitment to the core fundamentals of coaching.

Jargon Overload

As you have probably noticed, there is no shortage of cliches and jargon out there when it comes to the world of professional coaching. Due to the fact that there are so many coaching professionals out there who are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, there is a constant stream of new terminology circulating the industry that is essentially casting the basics of coaching in a new perspective. However, your clients have not come to you to hear about the latest book on coaching that you have read, so be sure to stick to basics and language that they can understand.

Failing to Maintain a Professional Distance

When you are getting to know your first set of clients as a professional coach, it is all to easy to start sharing personal information or becoming overly familiar with the people that you are trying to coach. Remember, maintaining a professional distance is a crucial element of preserving your role as a coach, and identifying on a personal level with your clients can make it difficult to listen to what they are really trying to say.

Counseling Instead of Coaching

This point deserves particular attention because it is such any mistake for new coaches to make, and it often runs completely counter to the whole purpose of coaching. Many clients who have not worked directly with a life or business coach before are under the impression that a certain amount of counseling or therapy is part of the process. Although addressing difficult topics is part of coaching, it is up to the coach to make his or her role clear and steer sessions towards focusing on a client’s goals, present circumstances and discovering solutions to obstacles that are standing in the way of moving forward.

Choosing Goals for Your Client

As we touched upon above, many coaches make the mistake of identifying with a client’s goals or obstacles when they are first starting off. As a result, some new coaches finding themselves recommending goals for clients that they would have chosen for themselves if they were standing in their client’s shoes. Instead, use your solid coaching fundamentals of probing questions and effective listening to guide your clients toward discovering their goals for themselves.

This article is a brief abstract from a core learning module included in a Coaching Jump Start program provided to our association and Power Practice Network members. As a member, you will gain access to our four key courses and Success Tools Pro, which provides a constant update of tools and resources for building your practice.

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