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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

Why I’m A Bad Coach


I’ve been a certified coach for over 10 years.


I fully recognise the power and benefits of good coaching and yet I’m uncomfortable with it.


Furthermore, on those occasions when I’ve been stuck on a problem and someone has suggested I get some coaching myself, I withdraw from the idea - “No, that’s not for me”.


Why?


Because of the underlying principle that coaches should not give advice or suggestions.


The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential."


In this process, coaches are supposed to help clients discover their own solutions, rather than providing them with advice or suggestions.


Instead, coaches are supposed ask questions.


This is because of the belief that individuals have the answers to their own problems within themselves, and a coach's role is to facilitate their discovery and development.


While I recognise that this approach can be effective in some situations, for me it also has some major disadvantages, particularly for someone who is simply stuck.



Wasted experience


As another human being, every good coach has a wealth of experience and ideas that could be of use to the client.


If the coach could share their own personal experiences it could help the things from another point of view..


For example, when a client is trying to decide between two career choices, if the coach could explain what had happened to other people they know who had been in similar situations, it would provide useful information without the coach recommending one choice over the other.



Wasted opportunities


Sometimes, a coach's suggestion or advice can open up new possibilities that the individual may not have considered on their own.


By not providing these insights, the coach may be depriving the individual of valuable opportunities for growth and development.


For instance, if a client is struggling to improve their public speaking skills, but the coach doesn't suggest any specific techniques or strategies, the client may miss out on effective tools that could help them improve.



Wasted time


Time is money, especially when it comes to coaching.


By just asking questions, the client can take much longer to arrive at a solution .


This delay can be frustrating and demotivating, leading to a lack of confidence and momentum.


If a client is struggling to develop a new marketing strategy, but the coach only asks open-ended questions (even though they have the email of someone who could be of great help), the client will take much longer to arrive at a solution and may feel frustrated and discouraged in the process.


This is why I find Learning Clubs to be a profoundly fulfilling alternative to coaching.


In direct contrast to coaching, Learning Clubs one of its cornerstones is the sharing of experiences and ideas.


As Learning Clubs are made up of 4 members plus a facilitator (who is also allowed to share experiences) a member gets 4 different points of view to help unblock them and spur them on.


While I'm the first to recognise that advice should only be given to those who want it, my Learning Club sessions I make sure that each member gets an opportunity to share any experience that could be useful.


Everyone gets involved with each others learning objective from learning how to grow their business to learning how to improve their wellbeing.


Everyone carries value and I make sure their value is maximised.


No experience is wasted.


No opportunity is missed.


It all happens quickly and effectively.


As a result I’d say that in every single Learning Club session I’ve run, members leave with new ideas, contacts and recommend resources which is why they feel the experience rewarding, why their progress is faster and why they enthusiastically keep coming back for more, session after session.


I believe that sharing experience and ideas plays a key role in learning how to solve problems in a fast and effective way.


That’s why although I’m a bad coach, I'm a great Learning Club facilitator.

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