To illustrate the answer, start with this story: A client is at risk for losing their job because of nonperformance in a specific area. The coach provides a solution. The client is really excited about the solution and says they believe it will work.
Consider the possible outcomes:
- The client does not do it.
- The client does it and it does not work.
- The client does it and it works.
What is the problem with each of these possibilities?
- If the client does not do it, they will make excuses and will not own the outcome. The coaching relationship will be impaired. It also means that the coach took away the opportunity for the client to discover over their own answer.
- If it does not work the client is likely to blame the coach. Plus, in the implementation process, because it was not their idea the client is less likely to be fully invested in moving past challenges. This means their effort is more likely to be half-hearted.
- If the client does it and it works, the credit goes to the coach for the idea instead of the client learning to solve challenges and in turn build their confidence. Essentially the coach got in the way of the client’s independence, potentially creating dependence on the coach or others to provide answers.
The bottom line is that giving the answer is not coaching and in fact interferes with the purpose of coaching. The role of the coach is to empower the client to discover their own answer.