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.
Photo: Boston Library