As a coach, your job entails employing effective questioning as a tool to help the client deal with challenges, achieve dramatic results and grow. Your clients trust you to work with them on their issues while helping them get the answers to their pressing needs.

Your basic attributes should include partnership, focus, attention and reflection to and with the client. The client is your equal even if you are the one with the know-how to solve the client’s problem. You will offer advice when there is no other option in sight and only with the client’s approval.

In the absence of a worst case scenario, your job is to let the questions lead the client to gain insights into the answers to their problems. Your questions will open new paths and perspectives for the clients to see answers from their own answers. You will only hold their hands and support them through their journey as they seek answers.

If you are doing the right thing in coaching sessions with your clients, then you will know that it is about the clients and not you. Hence, you should talk and react only about 25% of the whole time. The client owns the field to play with. But what if you are the one swamping the clients with your unbecoming habits? You’d be doing a great job of stalling your client’s growth and frustrating yourself in the process.

The painful part is that you’d not be able to point out what the problem is. It is time you learn to be a better coach for you and your clients, by learning to unlearn some habits.

Find the bad habits to unlearn below…

1. Impulsive Fixer

If a client comes to you, that is because you obviously have more knowledge and experience on a particular issue than they do. Now, instead of coaching which is guiding them to discover their own answers, you jump in with your answers.

This is a very easy alternative, because it saves everybody’s time. But the truth is the minute you supplied those answers, you deviated from coaching to teaching, directing and telling.

The danger in this is that, you told them your own answers, one that you can implement.

The client didn’t gain this insight by themselves, so they may not have the capacity to implement these answers you’ve given.

The best answers for your client are those ones gotten from the client’s phase of life at the moment, given their style, experience, talent and uniqueness. This is what coaching allows you explore for the client.

Brainstorming on the answer for the client takes you away from your job as a coach. You basically carry all the loads of the client while trying to focus on your own job. You will not focus on picking the signs, intensity and peculiarity of the client’s case. If you have the answers you are sure a client needs, do not just jump in with your answers.

Rather, seek permission, and cite that you have lots of experience on the issue. This opens the client up to be receptive about your idea. Tell the client that you have a solution you feel might work for the situation. Put out your idea to the client and allow the client decide whether to run with it or not.

If your client decides not to go with your suggestion, ask open ended questions bordering on what the client wants to do. Allow them to solve their own problems, as this is what partnership is about.

Drop the habit of impulsively fixing situations!

2. Distractions And Interruptions

Your client deserves the best of you whenever you get up to coach. As such, eliminate any form of distraction, be it from your environment or from you during coaching. Never interrupt your client for any reason when you are in a coaching session.

If you are a coach who grasps situations and process information quickly, this may be a hard habit to kill. But if you don’t consciously kill it, you would lose vital information that the client may have wanted to give at that time.

Learn the art of comfortable silence and be sure your client has exhausted everything they want to say before butting in. Sometimes, you can do without talking at all, because it gives them a space to think deeper and reflect on all what they have said.

If you cannot coach a client without distractions or interrupting them, you should never coach!

3. Introducing Trends Rather Than Reality

One of your most sensitive jobs as a coach is to protect your clients from the wolves spreading trends and every new discovery around the place. If it is not proven or vetoed by you, never introduce it to your clients.

Unfortunately, one too many new generation coaches are suckers for trends. Anything that sounds bogus, smart, and smooth off the tongue is gospel to them. They want to feel smart overstretching personal development, the pseudoscientific applications of neuroscience in coaching and all what not.

Truth is that, rather than coaching, you are marketing. You are no different from the salesman who pesters neighborhoods with all the benefits of his wares, until they buy. You are damaging your client without realizing.

Your client’s situation is a unique one and should be treated based on that. The situation of your client should dictate your approach and not some trendy rule or solution you read somewhere. Do not put your client in a box of rules, ask effective questions that hit home and adjudge the situation based on the clients reality.

Work with distilled steps, tweaked to suit your client’s situation if you ever want to get outstanding and satisfying solutions for your clients.

4. Training On The Clients Time

Whenever you find yourself doing something valuable to you instead of the client… then you are training on their time which is a very selfish thing to do. You may not realize it, but let me give you key examples.

If you are handling a client in whose field you are not an expert and you find yourself doing the following;

  • asking for key terminologies in their field, rather than focusing on the problem
  • seeking for the in-depth intricacies of their job and how they carry it out
  • the perks or dangers associated with their jobs
  • a step by step account of what happened recently on their job, instead of something relevant to the situation, etc

Then I am sorry to say that you are not interested in their problems, but in the knowledge of their field. This is valuable to you, because you are learning something, but is of no value to the client who paid to get results from you.

These questions are regarded as situational questions and can be slightly helpful in a way, but when it becomes consistent and extensive, it is absolute crap. The client will leave your program everyday feeling worse than they felt when they arrived. This is because they still carry the burden they came with, with no hope for respite in sight.

As a good coach, leverage on the powerful tool of assessing situations from the information given, without diving into unnecessary areas. This helps coaching become easier, relaxing, comforting and more effective.

5. Helping The Client Do Their Dirty Work

It is easier, faster and more economical to just jump in and help your clients do their dirty work, but be careful. This may be a method for your clients to shy away from confronting their problems heads on.

Some clients will outrightly ask you to do it for them rather than accept your support as they do it themselves. As much as it is easy for you to do the job, it is also the easiest and fastest way to stall your clients’ growth.

Coaching in an overall sense is about guiding the client step by step on how they can do the job. This will help them become more effective and confident enough to do the job when you are not there.

Coach your clients with distilled and applicable steps on how to work their way out of a situation. These are strategies they will apply even when you are not with them to help them through a situation.

This is because, no matter how much you try, you cannot be there always, and if you were, they have to outgrow your shelter. Doing all the dirty work for your client simply means they don’t need a coach, but a paid help.

Click here to watch this training video to learn to support your client without doing their dirty work for them.

6. Overwhelming The Client With So Much Information

That a client comes to you for coaching does not mean that they have nothing doing at all. Everyone is gainfully busy. Be reasonable with overwhelming your clients with information because they may have a lot to handle with their families and businesses.

Rather, simplify everything they have to know, and thrash it while you are in your meeting. At the end of the coaching meeting, ask the clients what insights they gained from the meeting, as it will help you understand if you are making any impact or not. Then, ask to know what steps they will be taking to apply the insights they got.

This will increase their productivity and performance, which will naturally fit into their daily routines.

7. Failure To Create A System That Tracks Progress And Measures Results

Like we have said time and over, the hallmark of any coaching business is to help clients get dramatic results. As such, there should be a way to measure clients’ progress and track results. If you ignore progress tracking, then you won’t know if you are on the right path. And if you do not measure results, then you’d not know of how much progress you made.

As a coach worth your weight in gold, you should be able to keep sight and identify the smallest changes in improved behaviors, client performance, positive business shift, better relationships, etc.

It doesn’t only help you as a coach to know how effective your coaching is   ̶   it also gives your client a measure of courage and satisfaction to know that they are doing something to better themselves. Progress is a very potent motivation!

Drop the harmful habits and make your coaching more effective…

You need to eradicate these harmful habits ASAP, because it works against your clients and will work against you in the long run. Bad coaching habits are numerous, and maybe we could visit this topic again later. But for now, I have listed the top 7 of them in this article.

They include impulsively fixing situations, training on the client’s time, and interrupting your client. You will also find habits like doing the clients dirty work for them, introducing fallible trends, overwhelming the client with information and failure to measure results.

These are things you may not take notice of, but they happen every day.  Henceforth, be very sensitive to catch yourself when doing them. Eliminating these habits will help you serve your clients from a place of utmost commitment.