Coaching and Language Nuances

Coaching involves learning many of the nuances of language to ensure understanding and support a positive, forward focus.  In quality coach training programs, specific communication techniques and examples of language are provided.

How things are said in a coaching session matters.  When considering a situation for a coaching client, the wording makes a difference.  For example: What is the impact of saying you, I, or we?  When said at the beginning of a sentence, “you” is often interpreted as an attack and the person spoken to feels defensive without realizing the reason.  “I” specifies ownership and who it is about.  “We” often really means “you” so it is patronizing.

Consider these examples:

“You should apply for more jobs.”  Chances are the person will defend that they are applying for many jobs, and explain barriers to applying for others.  An alternative, “What is your game plan for job applications?” opens the door for proactive planning.

“I am frustrated when I feel unheard because then it seems everything gets stuck.”  Using this language supports an opportunity for further discussion.

“We should take out the garbage.”  Typically this is a request for a specific though unidentified person to take out the garbage because it is a one-person job.  Instead, “Please take out the garbage now” is respectful and clear.

Awareness of how wording changes understanding is a skill business, career, life, and executive coaches develop and ultimately coaching clients learn through modeling.

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