Dana's My Coach

Find your game… play… repeat.

What do you Need: Coaching or Counseling…or Both?

DMC’s blog exists to help make consumers better understand coaching as a product so they can make smart and rewarding decisions about if/how/what/when to buy coaching as a service. It is also designed to help coaches better understand what they are doing and how they fit into the market. Since coaching is a relatively new profession, there is still much to be learned about the field…both by practitioners and consumers.

One very common response when someone considers coaching is, “I have already done (or am doing) therapy, so I don’t need coaching.” It is not clear to most people what is the difference. I want to clear this up, and give you one simple question to determine if you are ready for coaching.

Recently I was hired to present some coaching tools to a group of therapists at a clinic in South Austin called Plumeria. Our purpose was to learn how to apply the art of coaching to help make more of the clinicians aware of the business goals of the center, as well as to learn how to maximize their own talents in marketing their services individually and as a group.

First I presented how coaching works (see last month’s blog), then I presented two coaching tools, observation and feedback. After demonstrating these two, I let the participants play a game we call ‘Coach Me If You Can’. One of the therapists sat in front of the room and, armed with the two new tools the coaches applied appreciative inquiry and open-ended questions to get the coachee to talk about herself.

One of the therapists asked a really great open-ended question, “What would you do on  a perfect day?” It’s a great question because it opens up the door for your client (the coachee) to detach momentarily from their anxious thoughts and ‘problems’ and create from scratch how they think they would like their life to be.

“Stay in bed and read all day” was her response…and she passed the litmus test with this response in that she lit up about it. After a few follow-up questions about reading I got the idea she might be a writer so I asked her if there was a book in her. She lit up like a Christmas tree at that! She didn’t even need to answer it was so clear.

One of the other practitioners then wanted to follow-up and try to ‘lead the witness’ to committing to an action step. This is the right idea, but how she did it actually lead to our coachee shutting down again. “What about writing about two sisters?” this woman asked, apparently knowing that this is something the coachee was struggling with. Her face got very serious and she said, “No I don’t want to do that!”

I pointed out the change and brought the attention back to when she did have lights and one of the other counsellors said, “Now I would want to go into that topic and find out why.” Which is exactly what a therapist is supposed to do! “That is a perfect distinction between coaching and counselling. A counsellor wants to go into the pain or the problems and explore and help heal the injury. A coach wants to uncover the area in which the player wants to excel and encourage him/her in that direction.”

The next step would be to ask her how she can find out if that is

really her passion. However she answers that question, a coach wants

to show that only by going in action (or getting onto the field of play) can she prove if it actually gives her the pleasure and excitement she seeks, or if it  is merely a good idea.

With writing it’s pretty easy to come up with a first project; for example start writing her memoirs. Everyday you write for

one hour for one week, without caring what you write, and not proofreading or editing. She needs to test if she gets into the flow of

it and if it gives her energy. After one week of testing you can see if it

flows or if it is still a battle.

For you readers: What is a crazy idea you have in mind and what could

be a project to test it? Make the starting steps as small as possible,

because starting it is the toughest part of it. 99 out of 100 projects

fail because they don’t get started.

The worst case is: You wasted some time to find out what you don’t

want to do and had some unexpected experiences…and you can cross that idea off the list.

But you could also find out what your true passion, your true game is…the game that makes you dream, expands your spirit and begins the money flow.

Do you want to stay on the stands critiquing the players…or do you want to get on the court and begin to play!? Try something!

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