There are many aspects of coaching that involve an element of risk. Taking a risk requires courage. Consider how the following coaching techniques require courage and how using or avoiding these techniques will impact your effectiveness as a coach.
Providing candid feedback – providing feedback that is well received, considered and acted on is a skill. But how else is a coachee going to realize that they have a blind spot or are missing something important?
Challenging – as a coach, a big part of our job is to challenge our coachees in a constructive way to stretch their expectations and reconsider their perspectives, assumptions, and beliefs. Without this, they may never make the mindset shifts required to make a change that they themselves want to make.
Offering up a hunch – as you are listening to a coachee, you may have a hunch. If you don’t offer the hunch for their consideration because you worry that they may dismiss it, you run the risk of them missing out on a wonderful opportunity to short-circuit their search for a solution.
Interrupting – imagine a coachee has scheduled 30 minutes to discuss an important issue with you, but they end up focusing on all of the details of the issue and telling a story for most of the 30 minutes. Interrupting risks alienating the coachee, but having them walk out at the end realizing that you let them talk the whole time runs the risk that they don’t see any value in your coaching.
Asking powerful questions – although powerful questions are one of the most effective tools in the coaching toolbox, sometimes they fall flat. How would avoiding powerful questions impact the effectiveness of your coaching?
Offering coaching – coaching is not universally understood and recognized as valuable. By offering your services as a coach, you risk hearing “no thanks.” But if you decide not to offer your services to a potential coachee you risk a missing out on an opportunity for both yourself and your potential coachees.
Being in the zone – if we are thinking about “am I violating a coaching principle” as we coach, we will constantly be taken out of the fluidity of being “in the zone.” There is a big difference in effectiveness between being in the zone and being out of the zone. Rather than second guessing yourself as you coach, just be yourself. If you do violate a coaching principle, it is unlikely that the coachee will know or care and you can always use it as a learning experience to do better the next time.
Whatever your current tolerance is for taking a risk while coaching, consider challenging yourself to push your boundaries a little more. After all, you are encouraging and expecting your coachees to push their boundaries and take the risk of making changes and learning and applying new skills. It is only fair that you model the courage that you are expecting of your coachees.