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 should not listen actively


Of course, a coach should always listen to the client! Our focus is with the client and they are the center of the conversation and deserve our full attention. One of the things that our clients is paying us for, however, is that we can help the client focus their attention in potentially useful places. […]

Do you know THIS online coaching tool?

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I didn’t either until our colleague Raf and I developed it in one of our conversations while our participants were in the breakout rooms (just in case you wondered what we were doing during that time). Raf was telling me about how he uses drawings and images in his coaching process and we were commiserating […]

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue


Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue — that’s what American (and maybe also English? — enlighten me, English people, please) brides are supposed to wear on their wedding day. And as I pride myself the queen of cheesy segues: Isn’t a wedding the start of new relationships, new interactions, new webs of meaning? […]

When clients ignore their strengths


A friend from our free meetups and exchanges (link to register below) was telling us a story that all coaches can relate to. She was coaching a young woman who for the life of her did not want to admit that she has done anything well. The client had an impressive CV, multiple languages, multiple […]

Authentic selves don’t exist

Who am I

“Whaaaaaat????”, I can imagine you disagree, look puzzled, maybe even angry as you read the above statement. There is so much talk about “authentic selves” in the coachosphere: Leaders are supposed to be authentic, the coach is supposed to be authentic, instagrammers are supposed to be authentic…. etc. etc. Note the “are supposed to be” […]

Why the “feedback sandwich” tastes bad

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Dale Carnegie, the father of all self-help books and motivational speakers used the term “criticism sandwich” to help people structure feedback on an unwanted behavior, aka “constructive feedback”, “negative feedback” or just “criticism”. In “How to win friends and influence people” he writes: “Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with […]

“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 […]