Yes, I have decided to come clean after 20 years of being a coach. At the start of my journey as a counsellor and psychotherapist in advanced training I was very pure and never ventured into this territory. As a newbie coach completing my advanced diploma in coaching I was rigid around this too.
So what’s my secret confession? Well, I sometimes give my clients advice, even though the idea of coaching is that the clients come up with all the answers. To me, coaching is part of a continuum in my mind that starts with psychotherapy, graduates to counselling, then coaching and then consultancy. As I reflect on my journey I recognise that I am moving to the right of that continuum i.e. closer to the boundary between coaching and consulting as opposed to counselling and coaching.
I work with artists, artist managers, label executives and others, all under enormous pressure to deliver, who have very limited time and the constant threat of failure hanging above them. Over the years I have naturally noticed a number of patterns and themes to client situations and problems. I may therefore choose, based on my perception of the client need, to shortcut the process occasionally and provide a mix of information and advice. This can either support the individual immediately or give them a short-term lift to get to a new awareness or solution that resolves the issue at hand or takes them further on their journey towards their stated objectives.
With other clients I might choose to offer the odd comment or give direction/a steer where I believe it will support their coaching journey or when they are in a jam, stuck for time, have exhausted all possibilities and don’t know what to do next. Is this a crime? I don’t think so. Does it build trust and rapport?, Yes. Does it give the client what they want from coaching?, Yes.
So there we are, I have confessed, that’s me. I do explain to my clients how coaching works and how I will work with them. If I do give advice, I always frame it as outside of coaching and my personal view. In this busy industry everyone is strapped for time and they need a response from coaching that supports them to move forward and that’s what I deliver.