I don’t know if you have commercials for medication in your country — in Germany, they always end with a disclaimer or warning: “For information on risks and side-effects please read the pack insert and ask your doctor or pharmacist”, spoken at lightening speed. Are there risks and side effects of learning to coach, of becoming a coach? Can’t be, really? We are learning to lead constructive conversations, help people grow and fulfill their potential, partner with people? Naw — that can’t possibly have any side effects!
Hold my beer.
Coaching without consent
One of the most dangerous and obnoxious side effects I have seen is coaches using their coaching skills in EVERY situation of their lives: “Honey, on a scale of 1 to 10, how was…” (sorry to put this image in your mind). Coaching someone requires a mandate. In my view it is not only annoying but bordering the unethical if we are using our coaching skills on someone who has not consented to being coached. Imagine, for example, that you are really upset about something and you are telling your best friend, who is also a coach. Instead of natural commiseration or simply listening to you, your friend says: “I hear you … what could be good about this situation?”. It seems patronizing and would make me really mad. (Sorry about the rant). So, instead: ask people who they need: the friend or the coach!
Forgetting that you have needs, too
Ok, I will put down my halo for a second: I have needs. I want things, I want to be treated well, respected, loved etc. — like every human being (my assumption). If I put on the coach hat all the time and am only about developing and helping others, I disappear. Sadly, I have seen coaches dissolve like that. Instead of a human being with opinions, needs, a stance, your counterpart seems to be a marshmellow-person. Everything you throw at them bounces off. I can’t imagine that this is good for the coach, either.
Yes, becoming coaches does tend to make us better people: more compassionate, more constructive and with better conversational skills — but let’s remember that not everything can be solved by coaching!
What have you experienced as side-effects of becoming a coach? Do come and join us to discuss these and other questions in our free meetups: