In coaching relationships, it is always best to let leaders arrive at their own solutions. This encourages and helps leaders sharpen their own problem-solving abilities. And when you do give advice, emphasize that the advice comes from your own perspective or experience. Preface your statements with, “If I were in your situation, I would consider….,” “From my experience…,” or “The way I see this situation….” It is still the leader’s decision on whether to apply the advice. The coach’s job is to stimulate the leader’s ability to identify solutions, solve problems, make decisions, and act.
There will be times when the indirect approach will be used, letting the leader discover their issue and work out the best solution that best fits the situation. The coach’s responsibility is to actively listen, refrain from passing judgment, and accept what the leader says without imposing your own values and opinions.
Make it safe for leaders to express themselves. Ensure the leader feels comfortable and shows sincere interest in the leader’s interests.
Reflect on what has been said, making sure you understand what the leader is trying to tell you. There is no such thing as a “wrong reflection,” just unclear understanding. Get clarity.
Silence is not only helpful, but it can also be a friend to the conversation. Don’t feel pressure to break the silence or try to anticipate the leader’s feelings or thoughts. Let the leader start and restart conversations at their own pace. This will eliminate biases in the conversations and allow for the leader’s voice to come through.