Coaching with Detachment

by Anna Page, France

As a new coach, I've learned so much about the importance of coaching with detachment.

Even though it didn't feel so at the time, I was lucky with my 3 "guinea-pig clients" whom I practiced on early in my training.

One wanted me to swing a magic wand to make her happy and confident. The practices we agreed on to build up confidence weren't acted upon and appointments were missed.

When asked what stopped her from taking the agreed actions, there was always an excuse, and a weak one at that. Missed appointments was "forgotten".

I could feel myself getting dragged into something I didn't feel comfortable with, and still found it hard to stop as I wanted the best for my client. It got very close to a situation you should not be in as a Life coach - being the Rescuer.

Fortunately (after waking up in the middle of the night thinking "this has to stop, I have to let go. It's for my client to make the changes, not me"), I managed to stop it. By declaring to my client that if this wasn't the right time to commit to the process and the work necessary to achieve the goals, please come back when the time is right, leaving the door ajar and hopefully no feathers ruffled or feelings hurt.

It's hard when the biggest issue was about self confidence!

Reading about the Karpman Drama Triangle (You can read lots about it on Wikipedia) made me more aware of how easy it is to slip into a role you didn't ask for, and the importance of stating that you're not playing.

My second guinea-pig was all fired up at the end of conversations, and then nothing happened.........After a few sessions of this, we decided that when she was ready to get into action, she'll come back.

She did send me a very nice e-mail a few months later, saying how much she had liked our conversations as it always made her feel better. Still not ready for the action though. It felt good to get a comment like that, specially as I felt it had been a "failure" on my part, as I couldn't inspire more and maybe wasn't cut out to be a Life coach. Now, with hindsight, I realize that I can't take responsibility for any clients' in-action.

My third guinea-pig was a success! We found a goal, motivation and a path to follow to get there, almost immediately. After starting this process, my client got the hang of the new way of thinking very quickly, and applied it to the rest of her life.

As she said, it allowed her to look at her life from a new angle, and it had a big impact on her life! Mine as well, as I found out what difference the client's mindset has on the process, and to detach myself from the outcome protects my heart and doesn't harm my client either.

It also showed that it's a good idea to ask for something in return for your coaching, even when you are in training. It's in peoples' nature to value something more that you've paid for, whether in money or in effort.

I was lucky with my three, as it taught me early on that without the client being prepared to do the work themselves, and to commit to the process, you're setting yourself up for failure.

If you stay emotionally detached to the outcome, you're actually being a better coach, as there is no agenda whatsoever for yourself, and your focus can be where it should - with your client!

Thanks Anna and for more on Becoming a Life Coach

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