What if a coach gives the answer?

What if a coach gives the answer?

During the coaching certification class on ethics, one of the examples we use is of a coach that was hired by an organization to work with one of their employees. The employee had been with a company for a long time.  The company valued the employee and wanted to keep them.  There was a performance issue. The company had attempted many different things to address this, and it wasn’t working.  Coaching was their last-ditch effort.  If this person addressed the performance gap, then they can be kept in their position.  If not, the person was to be terminated. It really boiled down to that. What if a coach gives the answer?

In this case, the coach was new, and they were super excited about working on this engagement.  The employee shared with them what the situation was, and the coach had an idea. The coach told the client, their idea, “oh, you can do this…”  The coach gave the client what to do and how to do it.  The client’s response was very positive. They said, “Oh, that’s a great idea. I love it. That’s perfect. It’s simple. I can do it. I know it will fix the problem.”

When the coach called me afterwards, they said, “you know, I know you’re going to tell me I shouldn’t have told them. The idea is just that it was such a great idea, and they really loved it.”

Explore the possible outcomes:

  • One possibility is the client just doesn’t do it. They say they’re going to do it, and they don’t. We’ve all experienced that with friends or others we give advice to where they think it’s a great idea and they say they’re going to do it and then they didn’t get there.
  • A different possibility is they start to do it and they run into a problem or challenge and then give up.
  • The third possibility is that they do it and it works.

The question then becomes, how did the coach cause harm?

In the next blog, the answer to this question for each of the possibilities will be explored.


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