The 4 Worst Coaching Techniques – What Not to Say

There are many great coaching techniques that help you find outcomes for your clients. As good coaches, you use these great techniques and you work to incorporate more of them into your practice. But, do you ever use any bad coaching techniques? Do you ever say the wrong thing?

Coaching Tips

Good Coach Bad Coach

Everyone coach has done something wrong in a session. Even good coaches make bad decisions from time to time. Even good coaches say the wrong thing or implement the wrong strategy on occasion.

Good coaches know what they did and work to correct the problem. Bad coaches may be oblivious to what they did wrong and not even realize they need to work on any of their techniques.

Don’t be a bad coach – know about potential mistakes and learn how to avoid them.

The 4 Worst Coaching Techniques

The four worst coaching techniques all involve the way you phrase something. Words have power, and they must be used correctly and in the right context. The wrong words with the wrong client may sour that particular coach/client relationship – the client won’t find the outcomse they are seeking, and you will have one less client. So – here are the four worst phrases to use in a coaching session:

  • “You should do this.” If you are saying this to a client, you are telling them what to do. Coaches don’t tell, they ask. Inquiry forms the foundation of coaching. You should be asking open-ended questions that explore goals, values, outcomes, and options. It’s one of the mantras of the coaching industry – don’t tell, ask! Don’t start any sentence with the phrase, “you should do this.” If you do, you may be going down the wrong path with your clients.
  • “Why didn’t you…” If you begin a session or a conversation with this, you are immediately setting up the client to offer an excuse. This encourages excuses instead of improvement. Keeping the focus on the present and the future instead of on the past will allow for improvement and the achievement of goals.
  • “Do you understand?” You obviously want clients to understand what has been discussed and achieved during a session, but you should avoid this question. People are often reluctant to admit that they don’t understand. They may lack the confidence to tell you that they don’t understand or to ask you to explain again. They may just say “yes” when they actually mean “no.” Instead, have them talk about what you have discussed; encourage them to reiterate the sessions in their own words. In this manner, you can determine what they do and don’t understand.
  • “I offer great coaching.” This one is a bit different than the other techniques as it refers to things you say when selling yourself or promoting your coaching services. But, it is crucial to your success as a coach to understand this one coaching technique – people don’t buy coaching, they buy solutions. Do you have solutions and outcomes they can buy? Your coaching techniques can seem like the greatest in the world, but if you don’t offer outcomes, you won’t be attracting or keeping any clients. Sell your outcomes not your coaching!

Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. And also, you can click on the Twitter button below to retweet this article… Thank you!

Fred Philips
Business Coach
Writing Team, Coaches Training Blog Community

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