Provocations in coaching?


Can a coach be provocative in a coaching session? Is this “allowed” according to ICF or EMCC standards? In my coaching sessions with executives and also in my coaching supervision and mentoring practice I sometimes find myself acting in a humorous, provocative way. For example, if a mentee is struggling with being able to partner […]

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 might lead the conversation

leading the way

The ICF core competencies and markers for ACC, PCC and MCC performance evaluations require of the coach to “partner with the client”. What is meant here is that the coach not only regards the client as the expert on their life and topic but also involves them into the decisions on how the coaching process […]

“Leading” questions

Donkey being pulled

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How to make “standard” coaching questions “dance in the moment”


Most coaching approaches know “scaling questions” in different variations. Solution Focused Coaching uses them in order to help the client describe small differences on their way to their preferred future. These can be about signs of the preferred future already happening in the past or about signs of the preferred future that would tell the […]

Donkey Coaching

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What is that? Are we coaching the gentle grey, long-eared companions (that I find absolutely adorable)? Nope. “Donkey Coaching” is a term coined by Federica — a lovely SolutionsAcademy coach from Italy. I don’t know about Italian donkeys, but I do know about German lore on donkeys: If you try to force them, they won’t […]