Managing your own brilliance is exceedingly difficult when you happen to be splendidly resourceful, magnificently creative, and dazzlingly gifted. But you already know this? Right!
What you may not know is how crucial that is to being a good coach. The goal of coaching is to help the person being coached live out of their own resourcefulness, their own creativity and their own dazzling giftedness. It is their brilliance we strive to elicit, requiring the coach to resist the overwhelming proclivity to make suggestions, offer solutions, and share from their vast experience.
But having said that, I concede there are a few occasions when the coach may offer a suggestion. Part of me is already regretting writing that because the slope of regression to being an expert is steep and slippery.
Here is the thing, we make two essential commitments to the people we coach. The first is to coach them in such a way that the ideas, goals and commitments are theirs. The second assurance we make is to be as straightforward and helpful as we can. When those two commitments are in conflict we may choose to break our chaste allegiance to strict coaching form, by going ahead to offer an idea or a suggestion.
This concession is a much better option than disingenuously manipulating the person toward our desired end or asking leading questions.
Here is my guidance on how, when and why to offer a suggestion in coaching.
It is reckless to swerve mindlessly in out coaching, so use your blinker when leaving the coaching lane. Ask, “Can I remove my coaching hat for a moment to make a suggestion?”
Be hasty. Get in and back out in one sentence.
Do it sparingly, in other words, almost never. Follow your intuition and when in doubt, resist the temptation.
Make this offer only when the person indicates they are feeling stuck; and in an effort to expand the range of possibilities being considered offer an idea somewhere between daring and outrageous.
Finally, if you make a suggestion in coaching, hold it lightly and observe the impact it has on the other person. You might think you have offered the best idea in the world but to them it may not be equally regarded.
Remember, the supreme principle you adhere to as a coach is that the resourcefulness, creativity and giftedness all come from the person being coached and it is your job to elicit, encourage and celebrate that brilliance. Their own ideas have the greatest chance of becoming their commitments.
So please do whatever you must to manage your own brilliance…always…OK, almost always.
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