Whenever I raise a question or express uncertainty in my own life, some friends (not all) will say “Well you should know, you’re the coach” – helpful, not.
There seems to be an underlying assumption that my role is to listen and offer insight to their narrative; whereas, in my imagination friendship is a two way street, where the focus of the conversation naturally undulates from one to the other.
This idea that coaches have all the answers is an interesting concept. In practice coaching mastery is, in part measured by our ability to handle ‘not knowing’ and to be comfortable with that. This is counter intuitive I grant you, particularly in my role as an Executive Coach. Company directors already think they should know it all and typically expect answers.
What’s more, being an expert in something doesn’t always mean we can benefit personally from the product of our trade. Like everyone else I have blind spots and it takes a fellow professional to point those out to me – and to guide me towards my own solutions. I wouldn’t do well with someone telling me how to feel or what I should do about an issue I didn’t know I had.
When a doctor, who helps the sick for a living, falls ill themselves, we would all recognise they are not best placed to diagnose the condition or prescribe their own medication; it’s no different in my line of work. Thinking we have all the answers actually has a negative impact on the client’s progress; because the coach is no longer on their toes.
A masterful coach co-creates with the client and we work together to reach a satisfying conclusion. The evidence of success is clear for us both to see.
So, if you have a friend who coaches for a living, know they have your back; it’s what we do. Remember though that just like you, we’re ‘perfection in progress’ and we love it when you occasionally lend us an empathetic ear.