School of Coaching Mastery

Coaching Blog

Should Life and Business Coaches Give Advice?

Posted by Julia Stewart

 Coaching_advice.jpg

Most people assume that life, business, and executive coaches give advice, because that's what most professionals do: give expert advice. For instance, if you hire an attorney, s/he gives you legal advice. If you hire a broker, s/he gives you financial advice. And if you go to a hair stylist, you expect some advice on your hair. But coaches really aren't advisors.

By the way, this answers the question posed to me years ago by one coach wannabe, "How do you charge for free advice?" Most new coaches ask some version of this question when they first set up their coaching businesses. The answer is, "You don't." Free advice is everywhere, but that's not what coaches do.

Huh? What do coaches do then, if they don't give advice?

Well, here's one of the most succinct definitions of coaching, from David Rock, who pioneered brain-based coaching. He says, "Coaches help people think better."

"Why would anyone pay hundreds of dollars per hour to have somebody help them thinking better?" you might ask.

That's certainly an understandable question. Because Rock's definition is so simple, it doesn't even hint at the power of coaching. In fact, most coaching definitions don't. Here are two coaching definitions I borrowed from the blog post, "What is Life Coaching?"

School of Coaching Mastery (SCM) definition of coaching: Coaching is a customized conversation that empowers the client to get what s/he wants by thinking and acting more resourcefully.

International Coach Federation (ICF) definition of coaching: Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

These definitions get closer to what really happens in an effective coaching session, but if you've never been coached, it's still hard to imagine the value, so it's no wonder untrained coaches tend to give advice and then wonder why they don't have more paying coaching clients.

If your "coaching" is really about giving advice, you're not coaching; you're consulting. Sometimes the client needs consulting, so if you're qualified to consult within your specialty, go ahead and consult. But don't call it coaching, because your clients won't know what they're buying.

And don't ever call yourself a coach just to get around the fact that you don't have the credentials to do something else. Coaching is unregulated virtually everywhere, but If you're not qualified to be a counselor, psychotherapist, financial advisor, legal advisor, or health professional, etc.; it's unethical to advise people under the heading of "coach", because coaches don't advise and because calling your service one thing, when it's really something else, is false advertising. And finally, because these specialties are usually regulated.

What coaches really do is shift their clients' mind-states. This is pretty profound, requires skill, and it results in dramatically better outcomes. We don't heal our clients, but we do bring out their personal greatness, which has in common elements from Presence, Flow, Love 2.0, and more.

In short, coaching clients think better. Way better.

When clients think better, they see solutions to problems and pathways to reaching goals. They sometimes realize they don't even have problems (or maybe what they have are really good problems) and they even become grateful for what they already have. Sometimes, they find strengths they'd forgotten, or values they truly treasure that pull them forward. Sometimes they realize they already have the people and resources they need, or that they know where to find them.

And occasionally, they discover a gap that needs filling.

There may be a gap in knowledge, vision, plan, or relationships. In these rare cases, the coach may prompt clients with a few possibilities they didn't know about. The coach might say, "I've seen others try X, Y, or Z in this type of situation and it was effective for them. What do you think?" But a great coach will never say, "You should do X." The first is offering options; the second is giving advice.

Even offering options is ineffective unless it's really needed, which is pretty rare.

Do you know how to help people think better? Do you how to shift people's mind-states so they think and act more resourcefully? Do you know how to elicit people's personal greatness? And when and how to offer options?

If not, or if you're unsure, the upcoming Coaching Groundwork Advance course may be perfect for you. Find out more and download the face sheet, or even register, below.

Join Coaching Groundwork Advanced and Save

Topics: business coach, life coach, executive coach, Coaching Groundwork, consulting, Flow, coaching definition, personal greatness, coaching presence, love 2.0

Master Coach Tip: Leverage the Audience Effect

Posted by Julia Stewart

Coaching Tip   Audience Effect by Boston Public Library

 

Would you like to be a better coach, immediately? Then here's a tip on how to make full use of what researchers call, "the audience effect".

 

One of our main jobs, as coaches, is to help our clients think better and be more resourceful. One of the biggest mistakes we can make, then, is to try to think FOR the client. That is never a coach's job.

 

When you think for your clients, a.k.a. solve their problems or tell them what to do, you're acting like the star of the show.

 

You're never the star, your client is. Your job is to be a member of the audience.

 

Let me explain: most of the time, when a client hires a professional, such as a trial lawyer, or brain surgeon, they want the most brilliant professional they can afford, because the professional provides the outcome. But the purpose of hiring a coach is to BE brilliant, because the client provides the outcome. Big difference.

 

Here's where the audience effect comes in. Researchers have found that people learn faster when they have to explain to someone else what's going on, or what their thinking, or process, is. This is called, "the audience effect". If you want someone to be more resourceful, give them an audience.

 

Of course, some audiences are distracting, or worse. And for some coaches, being an audience of one is a lot harder than putting on a show (or sham) for the client.

 

You've probably heard the saying, "If you want to learn something, teach it." Well, your clients learn faster and, in effect, get smarter, when they have to explain, or even teach you.

 

In fact, at the Master Certified Coach level, the ICF expects the coach to be open to being taught by the client. Not at the beginner level, but at the master level. 

 

If you want to be a great coach, you need to get comfortable with being a member of the audience, like that crowd, above. At most, you're the audience member who stands up at the mike and asks a question. The client, or star, is the one who gets to be brilliant. You just listen and occasionally provide the coaching equivalent of applause, a.k.a.validation.

 

Of course, some coaches combine consulting with coaching and if that's what your client hired you for, then sometimes you share your experience or opinion with them. But be sure you know the difference, because, in the end, leveraging the audience effect will provide greater results for your client. 

 

And if you have the personal development to get your ego out of the way, this is an effortless (not to mention, masterful) approach to provide amazing outcomes for your coaching clients.

 

 

Become a Master Coach Here
Photo: Boston Library

Topics: Become a Master Coach, ICF, Become a Certified Coach, Become a Masterful Coach, master coach, Master Certified Coach, Coaching Tip, Masterful Coaching, Master Coach Training, consulting

Coaching vs. Consulting: What's the Difference?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Business Coach If you're a business consultant, then you may be wondering if you should get some coaching skills.

Or you may wonder if you're already coaching, now. Many people wonder what the difference between business consulting and business coaching really is.

The truth is, the difference depends on the coach, or the consultant. Both professions are about as varied as the individuals who call themselves coaches and consultants. Here are some differences, from my point of view.

1. Coaches ask more than they tell. Savvy consultants also ask a lot of questions, but they usually are in the "information gathering" mode. A good coach is just naturally curious. This is one of the reasons coaching is so effective. Even though your client hired you for your expertise, they will probably feel uncomfortable sharing their (or their business') problems and weaknesses with you. Chances are, they'll cover up what's really going on. But the same client will open up with a coach who is naturally curious.

2. A Consultant's expertise is usually the main thing they share with clients. Coaches have expertise too, but it's usually the last thing they share. That's not to say that expertise isn't important. Sometimes it's the thing the client most needs. By following their curiosity and the curiosity of their clients, coaches find out what's really going on and what the client really wants. Then they can share expertise in a customized and targeted manner, providing exactly what the client needs, when they need it.

3. Consultants often do a lot of measuring and testing. They then have metrics to share and specific recommendations about what to do. A coach may administer assessments, but they are less about the raw data and more about the meaning behind the data. Sometimes what a client really needs is the hard data. That's when they need a consultant. Other times a client needs to get clear about where they really want to go and what they really value. If that's the case, the data may be extraneous and they are better off with a coach.

4. Consulting is mostly a left-brained activity. It's about taking linear steps toward a specific goal. Coaching is predominately right-brained. It's about growth and evolution. That said, most consultants and coaches, use both sides of their brains, when needed!

5. Consultants usually offer training to their clients. So do coaches.

6. The truth is, most consultants do a little coaching and most coaches do some consulting. Both professions require practice to master. Good training can speed that up.

We offer a training program for non-coaches who want to add coaching to their current professions. It's called Coach Launch.

Topics: business coach, Coaching, coach training, coaching clients, business consultant, coaching skills, consulting

    Subscribe for FREE: Learn About Coaching

    Follow Us

    The Coaching Blog

    If you're a professional Business or Life Coach or you're interested in becoming one, the SCM Coaching Blog covers topics you may want to know about: How to Become a Business or Life Coach, Grow a Successful Coaching Business, Get Coach Training and/or Business and Life Coach Certification, Become a Coaching Master and Evolve Your Life and Business. 

    Subscribe above and/or explore by tag, month or article popularity, below.

    Browse by Tag

    Top Career-Jobs Sites Living-Well blog