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New Coach? 5 things a new coach needs to know

Are you a new coach or aspiring to be one?

Several years ago, I took the plunge, re-training and throwing myself into a new career. I haven’t looked back since but there are some things I wish trainers had been more clearly expressive about – for everyone’s benefit. Here are just 5 of those things.

1. During your coach training, you will probably discover more about yourself. Being a coach doesn’t automatically make you an expert in everyone’s life of course, but rather in the skills to help people to identify better with themselves and navigate towards what they want whilst being mindful of the present. Learning these skills is a lifelong journey – you do not master this overnight. Luckily I love what I do and learning is equally a passion of mine. Be prepared to keep evolving to be the best coach you can be. The journey doesn’t end for you with a qualification.

2. One delegate during the course of my training just could not overcome the need to avoid giving opinions. As a coach, you must be impartial and non-judgmental. As a new coach, this is a transition but it’s imperative for professional coaches to refrain from sharing their view. A coach may guide and encourage but opinion risks influencing the client from a place which is not his or her own inner wisdom. You must be in charge of the session even though the coaching is about the client. Your views and opinions are not part of the coaching agreement.

This is me now after several years coaching professionals. Having worked in the corporate arena for over a decade I'm delighted to have made the switch.

3. Everyone thinks they know how to listen. You listen to the TV, radio, a partner, work colleagues, TED talks etc all the time, right? What about Active Listening? How often is your mind really listening rather than simply hearing and waiting for your turn to speak? Or perhaps wavering off a task you forgot to complete enters your mind? Learning to listen well is a skill you need to develop. It takes practice. It includes learning not to allow your mind to fast forward to what you think the speaker is going to say or to refrain from making things up in your head about the next question as she or he speaks.

4. This brings me to being present. As coaches, it is important for the client to know they have your full, undivided attention. Ensure you are free of distractions and possible interruptions when you are in a coaching session. This includes any stressors. We are all human and there may things going on in your life but they are not relevant to the time a client has invested in with you as their coach. This may take planning but also a mindful approach to the 15 minutes or so before a session. To be present you must be in the head space for the session. I’m more experienced now but I used to timetable this pre-session time in to my day so I knew I was ready to go.

5. There may be challenging subjects that a client brings up and you must be able to impartially and non-judgmentally work with the client on these (unless illegal or likely to cause harm of course.) With coaching, you may find (as I have) that a client approaches you with a subject matter but, as you go deeper and trust builds, more is revealed. It may be something that you have a strong view about or something that takes you by surprise about the client – it is irrelevant to your role as a coach. You must be able to deal with challenging or tough subjects or remarks. They may the key to wider coaching conversations that hep the client to move forward. You may ask them if you can talk to them about the issue “With their permission.” It’s certainly something I got very used to doing myself and am very comfortable with because of how I’ve learnt to go about it.

Good luck to all you new coaches.

If you'd like guidance, why not contact me with a question? I was there once and have found the journey to have its unsaid challenges whilst also being amazing. You can also see what clients say under the testimonials page.

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