What Happens When A Coach Gives Advice (And Why You Shouldn't)
In this episode of The Everything Life Coaching podcast, John and Noelle explore how coaching can empower clients to take control of their own lives.
The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring Lumia Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!
The Power of Co-Equal Coaching
Have you ever wondered what a life coach does? It's not about giving advice, it's about empowering clients to take control of their lives.
At Lumia Coaching, we believe that every client is whole, capable, and good, and it's our job to help them tap into their own powers of observation, sensing, and intuition to make decisions that are right for them.
One of the biggest pitfalls in coaching is when coaches give direct advice. A big part of life coach training is un-learning this natural tendency that most of us have!
The reason advice-giving is a problem is because it sets up a power dynamic that robs the client of discovering their own wisdom. That’s why the International Coaching Federation’s Core Competencies for life coaches dictate that the relationship between coach and client is a partnership, and that as coaches we must always remain mindful of power differentials.
Instead of giving direct advice, coaches can ask permission to share observations, intuition, facts, additional knowledge, or personal experiences.
This sets up a meeting of the minds where many ideas and observations are brought to the table for the purpose of helping the client learn that they are entitled to be fully in the driver's seat of their own lives.
As life coaches, our job is to help our clients get in touch with their own capacity for decision making. This includes observation, sensing, and intuition.
Our senses give us an incredible amount of information about our environment. When we scan our environment, our emotional body has a chance to take a break and calm down. This helps us to process information more effectively and make better decisions.
A great deal of coaching takes place over the phone or by videoconference, and it’s impossible for a coach to have access to the environment that a client has access to. The coach must rely on the client’s reporting. Advice gives negates all access to this information because it offers no space to look.
When a coach gives direct advice on a given situation, it mutes all of the different ways that a client could practice using their own powers of strategic observation.
When it comes to a client’s relationships with other people, this is especially true. Advice giving on any front is dangerous territory for a coach because we all come to the table with our own baked-in ideas of "how things should be."
What that means is that even well-intended counsel will inherently be filled with bias. It's important for coaching clients to evaluate the quality of their relationships and look for ways to improve, engage, or repair them.
Rather than giving advice or leading a client to a particular conclusion, a coach can be helpful in helping their clients determine the difference between feelings and facts.
Feelings are temporary states of emotion that float in and out of our consciousness like clouds, while facts tend to be a part of the functioning of our brain's logic center. A feeling won't always give you the best information about a path forward, so it's important to identify, acknowledge, and then put big feelings aside in order to look at the facts and determine the best course of action.
Finally, intuition is the ability to get in touch with a knowing that goes beyond typical feeling or fact. Both coach and client are capable of intuition, and it's important for each to cultivate and check in with each other on what is being mutually sensed.
At Lumia Coaching, we believe that the work of coaching is about empowering clients to take control of their lives. By partnering with our clients in a co-equal relationship, we can help them tap into their own powers of observation, sensing, and intuition to make decisions that are right for them.
Want to Become a Coach?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our coaches ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power as a coach, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff.