Coaching Red Flags

As coaches, we talk a lot about the “red flags” we hear from our clients – the things they might say, do, or even not say that indicate a potential obstacle to their progress. These red flags trigger our intuition and seizing these moments in a coaching session can be the start of a powerful shift for the client.

But what about those things we say or do that indicate an obstacle to our ability to be a masterful coach?

What gets in our way?

Here are three of the red flags I’ve noticed in my coaching classes:

There’s a powerful difference between cheering your clients on and believing in their abilities and supporting them to push their limits. “I know you can do it!” becomes, “I sense your high level of confidence and have already seen you take huge steps in a short time.”

Too much empathy
When a client is experiencing strong emotions, like deep sadness or hurt, it’s easy to slip into that energy with them. That turns empathy into commiserating, and your role as a coach becomes muddled. It’s more powerful to honor their emotions with genuine sensitivity and still maintain your appropriate role as a coach.

Coaching to make YOU feel better
Another red flag is coaching a client out of their pain and discomfort so the coach can feel better. If you begin sensing that you need them to feel better so you can feel better, STOP! Coaching is not about how you feel; it’s about how you support your clients to do what they need to do, even if it’s to be frustrated for a while.
What other red flags do you notice in your own coaching? Awareness is the first step to change, and just beyond that change is even more masterful coaching!

Author Laurie Cameron is a is a Coach, Speaker and Trainer for Coach Training Alliance. She is the author of the Sage and Scholar’s Guide to Coaching Singles.