Updated: Aug 9
When I was just a newbie, I made many mistakes.
Today I want to save you some time (and pain) by sharing the 6 common mistakes I made and the lessons I learned from them.
Mistake #1 Trying very hard to sell coaching
No one wants wants to buy coaching. People want to buy results! The day I understood that my conversion rate shifted from 20% to 80%.
Share the results you got with your clients, success stories, testimonials... Share you passion! Share WHY you are doing what you are doing (and not WHAT you are doing).
Mistake #2 Absorbing my clients’ emotions
I quickly became emotionally drained by carrying my clients' problems as if they were my own burden (without even realizing it).
Get mentored and supervised with the 7-eyed model to offload the emotional burden, stay grounded and maintain professional and ethical boundaries.
Mistake #3 Just asking vanilla questions, not challenging my client nor sharing my intuition
As a people pleaser, I was too scared to hurt my client's feelings, challenging them or sharing my intuition.
It is okay not to please as long as you put your client's interest above all: Think about the spinach in the teeth moment! Share what you observe, what your client is not seeing, make sure nothing important is left unsaid. Coaching requires courage.
Mistake #4 Letting chatty clients share long-winded tales
Sometimes clients want to give you many details and descriptions, but they don't learn anything in the process. I let one client do that during several sessions and came across as too passive. I lost this client.
Intrude! Interrupt! That's okay to interrupt nicely as long as your intention is to create value for your client. Ask: "What is the essential question on your mind as you are telling the story?"
Mistake #5 Pressuring myself too much to get quick results
My clients are often leaders who work in fast-paced environments. They want results now or yesterday. Trying to get quick results often lead to mediocre outcomes.
Stop forcing the results and manage your clients' expectations: Shift the focus on the coaching process, results will follow.
Mistake #6 Bringing in judgments
I kept on judging myself in the process ("we are going nowhere with this conversation") and sometimes my client ("she is not ready to change", "he is totally inflexible").
The antidote to blame is curiosity. Be curious about your own narrative and acknowledge your judgement. Build a genuine relationship along the way.
Can you relate with some of these?
I strongly encourage you to reflect on your practice to identify the things that don’t really help (without beating yourself) and recalibrate to bring your coaching to the next level.
ICF Coaching Certification Program
Coaching for Startup Leaders & Founders