In coaching education, the topic of blending methodologies comes up quite a bit. For example, blending coaching and mentoring or combining coaching and consulting.
In my early years as a coach, I felt I needed to fall back on other modalities to be a better coach and "get the client the results they came to me for." That was around 2005.
Fast-forward to now. After going through MCC-level mentoring and being a PCC mentor coach who has listened to hundreds of sessions, I've learned a few tidbits of wisdom regarding blending.
For those of you who blend or are thinking about it, I hope these elements empower your practice.
"The client asked to be mentored and wants my guidance."
When coaches tell me that the client wants to be mentored and says, "Can't you just tell me what to do?!" I get it. That was me when I first started exploring my potential and sat in the client seat.
There are a couple of truths to consider when this happens. First, whenever we grow and stretch in new ways, it feels good to have someone tell us what to do. Why? We don't have to take responsibility if it doesn't work out. It is so much easier not to dig deep for our answers.
If your client requests answers from you, consider the following: "Does this person need to be shown a way, or are they just hesitant to step into their truth?" The journey into our truth is often accompanied by fear and hesitation.
In my coaching studies, I discovered that there are two journeys we can take when reaching our potential. In the first journey, we can be shown the way, taught concepts, counseled, or guided.
Yet, there is a time when to step into our fuller potential, we have to go within for the answers, and external provisions can limit this process. The second journey is coaching. No other profession I know of can journey with someone as they embark on that second journey.
Consider: Is my client still needing first journey support (counseling or mentoring)? Is my client ready to embark on the coaching journey to self-discover their deeper truths and potential?
"The session was so good!"
The second aspect I see show up when I listen to coaching sessions as a mentor is the "But the session was so good!" syndrome.
When I hear this, I wonder, "Was the session great for you or the client?"
When we guide, direct, or advise, guess who gets a dopamine release in the brain? The person who is sharing their inspiration or direction, not the client.
On the flip side, when the client self-discovers something within them, they receive the dopamine release, and this anchors in their inspiration and their self-belief.
So when I hear, "Oh my gosh, that session was so good!" and then as I'm listening to the session, I see the coach took over and was on a roll with feeding their wisdom to the client, this indicates the session was likely better for the coach. Even if the client agrees it was helpful, we've accidentally kept them on the first journey, which isn't the goal of an authentic coaching partnership.
If you are excited about providing answers and direction, here are two things to consider.
First, no matter how much of an inspiring background, wisdom we've accumulated over the years, or expertise we have garnered, we will never be the expert of another human being's truth. Period.
Second, when we allow the client to self-discover their wisdom, they have greater ownership, self-belief, confidence, self-esteem, self-trust, and so on. When we provide and guide, the client's self-discovery subsides. When we step in, we override the client's opportunity to gain access to their fullest self.
There is a silver lining in all of this for those of us who rightfully cherish our hard-earned wisdom and life experiences. I believe that deeply transformational coaching is a combination of both coach and client wisdom.
The question is: How can we use our wisdom to formulate questions that illuminate the client's self-discovery process?
Being an authentic coach humbles us to hold a potentiated space of self-discovery for the coach and the client. Who can I become when I don't advise?