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6 Mistakes I Encountered As A New Life Coach

written byAnais Johnon 22/01/2015

Agreed, the job of a life coach is not easy. Life coaches aren't magic genies who pop out of a lamp to grant every client’s life-long wish. Predictability can never be perfect – as long as it is done by a human. However, I made some common mistakes that you might find useful to learn from as you start out as a new coach.  

By not using proper techniques, strategies, and tools you may confuse your client to the point that they may not see the value of the coaching session. It is important for all life coaches to be cautious of every word and action. Your personal life should not affect the life of another. After all, your clients are there to work on improving their own life, and you want to make sure you are as helpful as possible.  

Here are some common mistakes that I made as a new life coach and what I learned from them:  

1) Doing Most of the Talking This not only defeats the purpose of the meeting, it makes it harder for you to handle the client issue at hand. Some life coaches develop an unhealthy habit of interrupting or talking when it’s not their turn. A life coach is supposed to do exactly the opposite of talking. We are there to LISTEN.   Based on what we have observed, after a considerable amount of time, we can take our turn in speaking. By giving your client a chance to speak, it is during that flow of conversation that they may project the cause of the issue without even being aware of it. It is these subtle clues that will give you the answers to your client’s own questions, and allow you to speak accordingly.  

2) Losing Concentration Having a short attention span is a big no-no for life coaches. Losing track of what your client is saying, even if it’s just a few sentences, can affect the value of your coaching services. You can’t lose concentration for even a second. Doing so will only affect your own performance with your client.  

3) Jumping to Conclusions Too Fast Being open-minded and patient are qualities that can assist your work more than anything else. Before you present your own concrete conclusion, it is important to comprehend the client’s situation completely. You are not your client and you don’t know their life, so holding on to your assumptions before you present any conclusions is key to providing great value.  

4) Giving Advice That Someone Else Should Financial, legal, or psychological advice is not yours to give and setting these expectations ahead of time is really important. You are there to provide coaching based on their professional or personal life with the purpose of helping your client achieve their goals. Of course, there is nothing wrong with recommending professionals you may know in your network that can better help your client with specific needs.  

5) Not Setting The Right Expectations If you are doing any of the following, you are doing more than what is required of you as a coach:

  • Not asking the right questions (i.e. asking what is irrelevant)
  • Investing emotions with the client
  • Being overly-friendly or rude
  • Talking about personal subjects
  • Being overly optimistic and making promises
  • Being unrealistic

Be wary of such mistakes as they won’t help you coach better. They will act as a negative stimulus in your coaching sessions, and direct you away from providing value to your client.  

6) Failing to Rectify Your Faults: It is important to be aware that you aren't always going to be right. Your opinions may just be opinions and you can’t always say things with certainty. This may lead to providing information or advice that is incorrect, or affects your client in a negative way. Be sure to take the time to understand why those mistakes occurred in the first place and rectify them for the future. Don’t just ignore your mistakes and hope you will do better next time. Set an example for your clients by working to remain goal-focused and positive yourself!    

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