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Coaching Surprises

J: Welcome to Slingshot 25 Shotcast, a series of bite-sized podcasts that will feel like an espresso shot to your brain. I’m Jackie.

C: I’m Courtney.

J: Something that we’ve been thinking about is coaching. Well, we think about coaching a lot, probably every day, because I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t coach someone.

J: Yep. Sometimes…

C: Me. 

J: Well, I didn’t want to mention that, but that’s probably the case. 

C: I’m very coachable. Keep moving. Yep. 

J: Let’s keep moving. So what we really want to talk about. Vis a vis coaching is, we thought it would be interesting to share with you some of the surprising things about coaching. So Courtney and I each came up with a couple of things that we think are most surprising about coaching and we’re going to share those with you.

J: So Courtney, I’m going to let you go first. What is, what is your number one shocker about coaching?

C: So I think when I coach people, one of the things they experience that is always a surprise for them is how completely normal their experience is. Like part of being a coach you have a safe space to have your experience acknowledged and validated.  We are all human beings and sometimes we get so wound up and so scared and so in our head about why we’re unique and we’re the only ones and how could I be here? When they get to work with someone who just sees them wholly and doesn’t judge, and they have a space to just be heard, all that tightness and all that wellness of like, wow, I’m normal.

It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to have overthought this. It’s even if I lost my temper and you have a safe space to say I wasn’t my best self and someone says that’s normal, like I think it’s surprising to them how freeing. And that is, and you can set that down and move on. And it’s a wonderful kind of surprise, I think, in the coaching experience.

J: I love that. And just for a point of clarification, when you said we see them wholly, that’s with a W. We don’t actually… 

C: I mean, we see the holy if they want to be coached. That’s a different topic. 

J: All right. Thank you, Courtney. So I have one that’s actually pretty related to that. One of the surprises that I think coaching clients sometimes experience is that they’re very, it is really normal.

Whatever they’re dealing with is normal and you’re not going to get any judgment from us. And not just because we’re trained as coaches, not to judge, but because we are starting to through this work, we see and understand that life is hard. Things are complex. It’s hard to figure out. We respond to things in ways that we’re not always proud of.

We all do it and so we’re not after blame or shame. It serves no place in coaching whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go one deeper and let you know that when a coach is really serving you, they’re not even really attaching to your story. And I don’t want that to be dismissive, like we’re not hearing your story, like we don’t care about your story.

It’s not that. It’s that we’re listening for something deeper than that. We’re listening for your relationship to your story because we see you as a person who is struggling. With whatever’s happening in their world and for whatever reason you’ve gotten stuck. We’ve all been stuck. And so we’re listening less for WHAT did you do? And then what did they do? And did you do the right thing? We’re not listening for any of that. We’re listening instead to the story you’re telling yourself. 

C: And that is a big surprise to people because they’re so attached to their story. 

J: Yeah. And I think they expect us to ask more questions about what happened next and then what happened.

And we don’t. And it’s not because we’re not interested or care about the story. It’s that we know that it isn’t going to serve you. It’s not going to serve you. It’s better that we take you really quickly into the place of what’s really going on with you in terms of a relationship to the problem.

C: Yeah. And that probably leads really nicely actually into the second one that I want to share, which is, I do a lot of change transition coaching. So I coach people who are either leading large-scale changes or maybe going through career transitions or succession planning. And one of the greatest attachments that comes up in any change is fear.

When you really unpack it, are you willing to take the step? Are you willing to communicate the thing? Are you willing to make the decision? Fear is the center. And so I think this is the surprising thing for people when you get the coaching, you get the help, you have the support, you muster the courage.

I love the quote, it’s a Jack Canfield quote of everything you want on the other side of fear. I love that. And when people actually get to the place of like, “Oh my gosh, I was going to write the book and I wrote a chapter and nothing happened.” Or “I put my website up” like, yeah, it’s just another day, dude.

You had worked it up around fear, but when you start doing things, taking action in the direction of your dreams. It’s not that big a deal. And when you work with someone to give you that freedom, I think it’s surprising and wonderful. I love doing that coaching because it’s all within you. Sometimes we need a partner to help us see like.

J: Yeah. I just got to get over that or step through that. I love that. And once again, it’s related to the final thing that I have for us today. Are you cheating off of me? 

C: I did. I did look at your list. 

J: Okay. I’m judging you. Yep. Um, which is related to this idea that a really good coach is not actually an advisor.

Let me explain. You just said, Courtney, that a coach helps you to get on the other side of fear to, to take action, to, to find your way forward. And that’s really the role of a coach. And that by the way, is not the definition of advice. Coaches believe that the person sitting across from them, the person that they’re coaching, is the one that has all the answers.

It doesn’t mean a coach will never offer advice, but a coach will understand the context within which they’re offering advice. They will never pretend to have the answers for you. And they will. A good one will likely couch it with, my advice may not be as good as I think, but here’s some, some things that are coming up for me that might be helpful to you.

They’re not there to solve your problem. You know, they don’t have the answers. They’re there to help you find the answers. So they’re not going to give you a task list or a prescription. They’re not going to ask you to do anything that specific. They may ask you to think about some things. They may ask you to spend some time reflecting and seeing what additional insight comes up and, and help you on that path.

But they are not actually people that are going to tell you, okay, stand aside. Let me tell you what your problem is and what the answer to that problem is. That’s not how it actually works.

C: And that’s a surprise. If there are people who are trying to get a coach because they are looking for a teacher to give them the answers, it can be surprising in a not-so-good way because really good coaches don’t do that. We believe in you and our job is to help you unlock the connections to your own creativity, your own problems to solve, your own solutions.  

J: So someone who is looking for answers, just to not leave you hanging, there’s people out there who can help you with those. They’re typically called mentors. Get yourself in a class, get connected to someone who’s done exactly what you’ve done before and they can give you some advice and some answers. 

All right. So that was it. Four things. Yeah. Four things that a lot of people don’t really understand about coaching. And I think knowing it will be really helpful if you’re on a journey to working with a coach.

So that’s all for this episode of our Shotcast, but we always have much more to say. If you want more, drop us a line at Until next time. 

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