Why coaching is not about fixing people

Black and white picture of tools on a bench
When I was an internal coach the leaders in my  organisation would ask me if coaching could ‘fix’ people who were:
  • too direct and blunt
  • too laid back
  • rubbing people up the wrong way
  • lacking in confidence
  • driving their team into the ground
  • too reliant on them
I’d take a deep breath and explain, that coaching is not about fixing people at all.
It’s about giving people the time and space to make sense of their environment, and their role in it.
It’s about getting people to acknowledge all their strengths and how some might not be serving them in the same way anymore.
It’s about encouraging people to pause and celebrate all their successes no matter how small.
It’s about having a safe, non-judgemental place to talk about everything that is going on without being interrupted.
It’s about having a conversation with someone who is not trying to fix them.
People with these traits do not need to be ‘fixed’ they need time, space, challenge, support, trust and honesty to see how the way they think, feel and act causes them to be perceived in this way.
A good coach helps people who are:
  • too direct and blunt find more than one way to get their point across
  • too laid back to demonstrate they are in fact on top of things
  • rubbing people up the wrong way figure out how they are doing this and what they could do instead
  • lacking in confidence to believe in themselves more
  • driving their team into the ground to notice the negative impact they have on others and how to change it
  • too reliant on their boss how to trust their own instincts more

If you take one thing away from this letter, let it be this.

Coaching is not about fixing people; it is about helping you become even more resourceful than you already are.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about how coaching can help you or people in your organisation.

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