There is a massive misconception amongst some members of the public about Life Coaching.
In fact it goes deeper than that.
Rather worryingly, it’s a also a view adopted by some Life Coaches, and one that can get them into a lot of trouble if they don’t ditch it.
It’s the belief by either the client or the coach that the coach should have all the answers. That the coach should be able to suggest what is right for a client.
Who Do You Know Best In The World?
Think about the person that you know best in your life and I will show you somebody that you know less than 50% about.
Yet parents, spouses, friends and even some Life Coaches think they are perfectly well suited to advise people how to spend their lives.
So with more than half the information missing and after never having spent one moment in that persons head they feel qualified and quite often are eager, to tell them what to do.
The reality is we are all guessing when we think we know what’s right for another person.
How can it be any otherwise when we have a different belief system, set of core values and life experiences?
I had a client ask me only very recently if she thought she should take a job she had been offered?
I responded, “I don’t know” and went on to say it wasn’t something I could advise on.
I explained my job was to help her think differently about her situation by asking insightful questions, not to tell her what I would do in her situation.
Because let’s face it, that is what I would have been doing. Simply saying what I would do in such a circumstance.
That is the antithesis of good coaching.
When I work one-on-one with other Life Coaches I will indeed offer advice about all sorts of different topics, because for the most part I have been hired in as much of a consultancy role as a Life Coach.
However, I will not advise somebody to become a Life Coach in the first place.
Three Words Every Life Coach Has To Get Used To
If I get asked the question of whether I think a client should segue into a career in coaching, I’ll use the same three words as I did with the lady recently, “I don’t know”.
You have to be comfortable and relaxed in the knowledge that you don’t know what is right for your client, because you don’t.
Best-selling author James Altucher explains that when you are interviewed on news and/or current affairs programs for the TV, the cardinal sin is to respond to a question with, “I don’t know”.
It can kill the flow of the program. After all, who on earth hires somebody to come on as an expert who doesn’t know the answer to the questions?
But we don’t perform on TV, we haven’t a duty to be entertaining and we don’t earn respect by pretending we are experts in anything other than coaching.
Do you ever have trouble biting your tongue when you feel you know what is right for a client. I know there have been occasions when I struggled, especially in my earlier years. Let me know in the comments.