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Home » Blog » Balancing Challenge and Support in Coaching Practice

Are you thin skinned or a thick skin coach?

Thin skinned coaches rely a lot on the relationship who always depend on supporting them. Thick skinned coaches are robust and not affected by anything that the clients speak about. 

Think about it. Novice coaches always emphasize a lot on the relationship. The belief here is that if the relationship is taken care of, then the rest of it will fall in its place. If the relationship doesn’t have its space and is hurt, then the coaching also does not take place fully.

Carl Rogers worked in the mid 1900s who was a pivotal thinker who presented a humanistic and people-centered approach for the human development movement. He presented, ‘Self writing reflex’, given the right relationship, people can naturally heal themselves. So for the therapist, the role was to create that kind of a relationship. This and many other theories brought out the inner human potential to resolve the challenges by themselves and heal the space. 

Humanistic approaches

Carl has brought out some necessary and recommended conditions that need to be in place for any human to self-heal oneself. 

  • Contract between client and therapist
  • Client incongruence
  • Therapist congruence
  • Unconditional positive regard
  • Empathy
  • Client perceives empathy

To bring these to life, the therapist and the client need to sign up for a contract of collaboration. It is not to create positions and strata, it is to facilitate a collaborative process. 

Clients come with an itch which is the problem or the incongruence. The itch needs a scratch. This is where the therapist needs to be congruence and not any type of incongruence. The therapist needs to view the client with unconditional positivity with a belief that inside them they have something positive to wait for. 

Empathy requires a strong sense of emotional intelligence of the client. The client needs to experience that the therapist is able to empathize with their situation.

Humanistic approaches are central to the coaching practice. 

How to build a coaching relationship?

That brings us to figure out how we build coaching relationships based on these principles. 

#1 Build Credibility: Coach a diverse segment of clients. Help them understand what we have done before.

#2 Matching. Try to build commonalities between the client and yourself as a coach. People like to meet more people just like me or at least believe that you are just like them. This helps you create a positive outcome. 

#3 Contracting. Set a framework or the set of boundaries that will help a client set the right expectations out of the conversation. This also means what stays within the coaching room and what goes out on paper. 

#4 Trust. Demonstrate trust. Help clients understand how much you could be trusted and show examples of it. 

#5 Empathy. Use simple reflections. There is scientific evidence that demonstrating empathy broadens the coaching space between the coach and the client. 

Everything until here is fundamental to any coaching practice. It provides the necessary support.

But, coaching is beyond just support. 

Coaching is more than providing support

Coaching is about finding the balance between support and challenge to help create a momentum for change. It is to be able to create a space where the client is not being judged or the conversation is not being misused. 

You don’t have to be the client’s friend when you are moving them into a space of challenge. You are friendly. 

How to create a challenge with comfort staying in its place? 

  • Listen beyond words
  • Look for mismatch
  • Maintain silence
  • Inference chaining 
  • Create Cognitive dissonance which includes motivational interviewing and decisional balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of coaching?

 Since coaching has a huge effect on employee success. Employees who are coached to develop their performance gain new skills and a greater understanding of their position in the company.

How to build coaching relationships?

The following concepts can be used to create coaching relationships.

  1. Work for a wide range of clients. Assist them in comprehending what we’ve done previously.
  2. Make an effort to find areas of agreement between the client and yourself as a mentor.
  3. Create a structure, or a collection of boundaries, that will assist a client in forming the appropriate expectations as a result of the discussion.
  4. Demonstrate your trustworthiness. Present examples of how much you can be trusted to help clients understand how much you can be trusted.
  5. Empathy broadens the coaching room between the coach and the client, according to empirical evidence.

How can you get over coaching barriers?

Ways you can overcome coaching barriers are:

  1. As a coach, you can often discover that fitting everyone in is difficult, but do offer support to your client
  2. Create a trustworthy partnership.
  3. Keep in mind why you choose this particular career.
  4. Adapt the approaches to the person and the situation.
  5. Keep in mind that you won’t see results right away.

What is a coaching relationship?

Coaching relationship is a one-on-one arrangement between a client and a coach focused on achieving goals in business, career, and lifestyle.

Why is Humanistic approaches central to coaching?

Humanistic approaches are at the heart of coaching. As a result, a humanist coaching strategy aims to unlock that ability, allowing people to achieve their full potential.