When I am not in the state to coach…

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In the ICF core competencies we read: Develops and maintains the ability to regulate one’s emotions Mentally and emotionally prepares for sessions Seeks help from outside sources when necessary but what if I am just not in the mood, if I am in a bad state, pre-occupied, not really able to do a good job […]

Using “tools” in Solution Focused coaching

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I don’t like the word “tools”, as the metaphor implies someone using something (a tool) on something to achieve a determined outcome. For example, you want to hang up a picture on the wall and have no nail (the problem). You need a nail in the wall (the goal), so you grab a nail and […]

How to summarize concisely and usefully

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In the ICF core competency 6 under “Active Listening”, we read: “Reflects or summarizes what the client communicated to ensure clarity and understanding” and the PCC markers elaborate: “Coach succinctly reflects or summarizes what the client communicated to ensure the client’s clarity and understanding.” What I love about the elaboration in the PCC markers is […]

“Leading” questions

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As coaches, we are careful not to ask “leading” questions (at least that is what we are asked to do according to the ICF competencies). And yet — what IS a leading question? Part of the difficulty around “leading” questions is that the word implies that one person leads and the other follows. If you […]

When you know what the client needs to address…


take two aspirins and wait until the fit is over. Seriously — when I talk to coaches who have been coaching for a long time, I often hear the idea that the coach knows what the client should “really” think about. Talk is about “the real” topic, or “what the client wants to avoid” or […]

Fix, fluff, follow: the tools of a charlatan!

Fraud Alert

This week, I had a few encounters with the charlatan problem in coaching: everyone can call themselves a coach and since business coaching and life coaching seems like attractive careers, there are many unqualified coaches and coach trainers in the market. My fellow SolutionsAcademy trainer Chris Bekker coined the phrase: “fix, fluff, follow” for how […]

10 good exploration questions that are not “Why” questions

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So today I have set myself a challenge — come up with 10 good questions that invite a client to explore a topic or a preferred future that are not backward looking “why” or “root cause” questions. Let’s see what I can come up with! Hmmmm? (quizzical look inviting the client to say more, when […]

Does a coach actually work?

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There are old adages in the coachosphere: “NEVER work more than your client! The client does all the work! Here works the client!” Hmm… “So what are they paying for?” you might ask. I think that the client is paying for the work the coach does OUTSIDE the coaching conversation. It really is like the […]

For no-one is an island…

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In social constructionist approaches to coaching, like the Solution Focused or Narrative Practice, we assume that we cannot look at our clients outside their context. We cannot pretend they are “islands”, monads, atoms, individuals without connections to their context. Their context consists of the interactions they have with other people, the stories they tell and […]

Don’t colonize your client’s thoughts!


Ok, maybe this is too harsh, and just maybe I am going on a little rant, so if you maybe are more in the mood for lovely meadows and fields of green, maybe you want to stop reading. But if you want to go on… …just recently, I read the old view of Solution Focus […]