Coaching for clients in crisis situations


In 2004, I was vacationing with my family on the Maldives when the devastating Sumatra earthquake and the ensuing tsunami hit the idyllic flat little island that we were on. We all survived with some cuts and bruises, but the experience was very frightening. We responded in the way that my Solution Focused training had […]

When a coaching session is off track

off track

As you are coaching a client, a feeling slowly creeps up: You don’t know where the session is heading. Confused as you are, you first continue listening. Maybe, in the next moments it will become apparent where the client is heading. But alas, no real insight into what is currently happening is emerging. If you […]

When a coach is a paid friend


The actor Woody Allen is said to have talked to his psychoanalyst four times a week almost all his life. Maybe it kept him functional, I don’t know and I don’t want to judge. However, I think that becoming a “paid friend” is something that coaches should take care to avoid. Sometimes coaches are the […]

3 traps in coaching chemistry calls

mouse trap

In one of our coaching meetup and exchange sessions, one of our friends mentioned an awkward situation in a “chemistry” call: the potential client seemed to have not been made aware of the fact that she has a few things to work on. There simply wasn’t anything that the potential client wanted — so our […]

Don’t do this when coaching in toxic environments!


If you have read some of my blogs, you know that I am not really keen on labelling anything or anyone and especially not labelling anything “toxic”. Just by classifying an environment as “toxic”, we are reducing our ability to be effective in it. So, I think the first step to coaching in a “toxic” […]

Spotlight, starlight, daylight – 3 layers of attention


Some things about social media are brilliant, for example the fact that Tim, a friend from Singapore, recommended a book on Facebook: “Stolen Focus: Why you can’t pay attention.” by Johann Hani. Other consequences of social media are less than brilliant. Their designers clearly have different goals for our lives than we do: money is […]

I am a coach, I tell you what to do!


As much as we state it in the beginning of a coaching contract, some clients continue to want us to tell them what to do. As if we knew. I recently had an experience with a senior client who was very disappointed that he only developed ideas by himself, even though I had spent time […]

Should coaching include a trigger warning?

trigger warning

Many videos, movies, books and articles these days come with a “trigger warning”. It is an announcement that serves to alert people who are sensitive to certain topics to be careful when engaging with the content. For me, personally, this has helped — I get nightmares when I am watching movies that contain too much […]

A coach is not “neutral”


I often hear: “As a coach, you have to stay neutral” or even worse: “It is important to stay detached”. As if this was even possible. “Detached” sounds more like a house — the image that comes to my mind is that of two completely independent entities, where the coach is “observing” the other and […]

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 […]