4 things to think about if your ‘rude’ coachee isn’t really being rude

Imagine your first conversation with a new coachee… The ‘problem’ is said to be low Emotional Intelligence. According to your coachee, he or she’s been described as having a distinct lack of empathy for others and a tendency to be overly blunt in interactions with work colleagues. cartoon of 3 consultants talkingThe coachee now doubts him or herself, is wary of interpersonal interaction for fear of being perceived as overbearing and rude, and wants help with this chronic ‘rudeness’ in order to improve his or her chances of moving into management.

Looks like an open and shut case? Let’s not be too hasty. Before we as coaches unthinkingly accept the story at face value, decide this ‘rudeness’ is ‘wrong’, and allow ourselves to fall into thinking of ways to assist the coachee with anger management or improve sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others, do we need to stand back and take a deep breath? Might there be a missing ingredient in the scenario described above?

What if ‘being rude’ in this case was not actually ‘being rude’ at all? What if, rather than being chronically rude, our coachee has been grappling with the difficulties of adjusting to the communication norms of a different culture?

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3 things to do when you don’t feel like coaching…

Let’s face it, sometimes coaches don’t feel like coaching. Have you ever greeted the prospect of giving a coaching session without any enthusiasm at all, wishing it would just go away?

Upset pink stylised figureI’m not talking about burnout. Hopefully we’re all self-aware and self-compassionate enough to notice changes in our inner state which might indicate such problems ahead, taking action to protect ourselves from pushing ourselves too far. No, here I’m talking about those occasions when we might feel distracted – by the thousands of other things we have to do today, by not being in the mood, not quite in the right place mentally or emotionally, or having the feeling that the session might just be more taxing than we can take at that moment.

Coaches aren’t superhuman. We’ve all felt tired, disgruntled, preoccupied with our own concerns. Here I’m going to take a look at how we might think about and approach this state of affairs, and what we can do if and when we find ourselves facing it.

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Should we take notes in coaching sessions?

This time I’m sharing a guest post I wrote recently addressing questions asked by instructional coaches about whether to take notes in coaching sessions. Instructional coaches work with teachers in schools, coaching 1:1 or in groups as well as in the classroom. Whether to take notes or not therefore needs careful thought, with decisions varying according to circumstance.

Most coaches aren’t active in this particular context, but the issues raised need to be considered by any coach in any coaching situation. Therefore I hope what follows is useful for you too!

The guest post first appeared on 27 March 2018 under the title ‘Should Coaches Take Notes During Visits?’ on The LaunchPad – the official blog of TeachBoost (a US organisation providing a customisable instructional leadership platform).* You can see the original publication here.


TeachBoost Coach's Toolbox image

Image courtesy Schoolbinder, Inc

Coaching is an intriguing occupation. There’s usually not a straightforward answer to any question, however simple it may seem. For example, taking notes in coaching sessions—some people say you should; some people say you shouldn’t; while others say maybe you should, maybe you shouldn’t, depending on the context.

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4 bite-sized insights into Career Coaching

Have you ever wondered what career coaching is all about? Many coaches without a careers advisory background shy away from tackling career issues head on in coaching sessions. I was pleased to participate in an excellent CPD workshop on this topic recently, and I’d like to share with you some insights I took away from it, just in case you’re wondering what career coaching is all about too…

career compass‘Approaches and Tools for Career Coaching’ was facilitated by Paul Walsh – a coach, facilitator and trainer who’s currently a Learning & Development Specialist at Manchester Metropolitan University here in the UK (you can see his LinkedIn profile here). Packed with fascinating insights and practical tools to help us move forward, it encouraged everyone present to have that bit more confidence in tackling career-related matters.

I can’t reflect all the goodies from the session in one blog post. So here are  4  bite-sized insights that made the biggest impression on me. I hope they’ll leave you feeling encouraged too.

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The importance of non-directiveness in coaching – and 2 good reasons to build awareness

Remember that in a previous post I outlined the 5 basic coaching skills we really need to become effective coaches? We’ve already taken a look at the first four: contracting, use of some kind of structuring mechanism (with the GROW Model as an example), listening, and questioning. At long last we’ve arrived at the fifth basic coaching skill: non-directiveness.Cartoon man with blue arrow

In this post I’ll be taking a look at non-directiveness, as well as its place on what Myles Downey has called the ‘Spectrum of Coaching Skills’, before giving  2  good reasons for making sure we put effort into building awareness of when our interactions are non-directive and when they’re not.

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