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Coaching is not about giving advice. It is about helping the client to find “their solution”.

As a coach you often meet clients who are totally frustrated claiming: “I have tried everything but nothing worked to solve my problem“. Of course you have seen a lot of similar cases and you are tempted to make suggestions. You might simply care about this person and hate to see him/her in disarray or pain. Giving advice is nevertheless a bad idea – why? 

You usually do not know the person well enough, you have not lived their life, you did not have the experiences they had. Also chances are very high that in a highly emotional state people can not appreciate what ever you propose. Often they are obsessed about their “problem“ being so special, so hard that it can’t have an easy solution that any outsider could come up with. Some take significance from the fact that they have this huge “unsolvable problem“. Most of them will argue with you about any suggestion. Specifically perfectionists that are looking for the ultimate solution will immediately shoot any suggestion down because it is not perfect. 

The first task then is to interrupt their pattern of helplessness and bring them to a resourceful state. Usually it is not the lack of resources that troubles them but rather the lack of resourcefulness. When the pattern is interrupted, we can make them remember a time when they felt powerful, resourceful, unstoppable and recreate that state. From that state then new resources come within reach and creativity gets unleashed. We can then coach the clients to create a solution that is a great fit for them which they can fully embrace because they created it. It is not uncommon that this solution now looks quite different and much more impactful than what the coach had in mind at the beginning.

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