Something I’ve noticed a lot recently is that coaches have a tendency to want to go deep, hit a home run, and have the best coaching session of their life, every time, with every client, no matter what.
But this doesn’t work.
In fact, it does a lot more harm than good.
When you try to have the most amazing coaching session of all the time, you put a ton of pressure on yourself, and you put all of your attention on you as a coach.
You ask yourself,
- Am I doing a good job?
- Am I asking the right questions?
- Why am I not taking this person deeper?
- What could I be doing better?
By asking all of these questions, you are actively detracting from the most important part of your job as a coach, which is to put your attention on the client. It is normal to feel like you want to be doing a great job every time, but the mistake you’re making is in your approach, in how you actually do that.
Pressure makes us perform worse.
As humans, we perform worse when put under too much pressure. It’s even worse in a coaching session, because the environment is closed, intimate, and vulnerable, to the point where any feelings you put into the room will be reflected and felt by the client.
If you feel pressure, your client will feel the pressure, too. They’ll feel like they’re not doing enough, they’re not going deep enough, the session isn’t powerful enough, and they’ve failed as a client.
Focus your attention on your client
So the secret to avoiding this increased pressure on yourself and your client is, put 100% of your attention on your client. Be with them in the conversation. Find out what they want, what’s in the way, and work with them. Talk with them.
The questions you should be asking throughout a coaching session are, how can we move what’s in the way to get what you want? How can we explore, engage with, and reveal what you want together? Not how do we get there right now, in this session?
When we put too much pressure on ourselves instead of just letting the coaching session be what it is, then the attention goes on us. We feel like a bad coach, and they feel like a bad client. It’s a lose-lose scenario.
Less is more
If you truly believe in the power of coaching, you should not need to put in more effort, or to add more pressure, in order to make the session feel like it’s flowing.
Sometimes, the best sessions come from intentional stillness and vulnerable connection with your client. Your intention, your presence, your care, and your willingness to be with the client is what will get you there.
So stop trying to hit home runs.
Just show up powerfully for your client, show up in possibility, and everything will be better in the long run.