Sooner or later all coaches make mistakes but most of these are easily resolved.
You forgot an appointment with your client and now you have to re-schedule.
You let your client communicate with you after hours and now you have to set boundaries.
You thought you’d be a health coach but you realize mindset coaching is your true passion so now you need to pivot.
These are relatively minor issues. Nothing earth shattering.
But there are some errors that can create deep cracks in the foundation of your coaching practice and seriously damage your reputation.
Unfortunately, many of these coaching mistakes appear unimportant.
They’re subtle. Under-the-radar.
You think they’re no big deal but they are.
Fortunately, these coaching mistakes are easily recognizable and preventable once you know what to look for.
Mistake #1: You befriend your clients
Your client is your client.
Not your friend.
And there’s a massive difference.
Friends share personal stories, hopes, fears and secrets. Friends are familiar and casual.
These elements will create major problems in a client-coach relationship.
If your client has insight into your personal life — your challenges, your problems, your struggles — they could start to see you as someone who’s plagued by doubt, fear and uncertainty.
No one wants advice from someone they think is unsure or fearful.
If you befriend your coaching clients you run the risk of diluting your authority.
So draw the line from the start and stick to it because it’s the only way to give your clients the value and results they’re looking for.
Mistake #2: You coach in black and white
There’s the right thing and the wrong thing and there are no two ways about it, right?
It may be inviting to label everything as right and wrong, or black and white based on your personal beliefs and values but this is a massive mistake.
The world is full of color and we all march to the beat of a different drummer.
If you’re unwilling to be flexible with your world view, and if you connect your personal values to your client’s story…
You’ll start to judge, label or otherwise criticize their actions, choices and decisions.
You might think it’s okay to judge as long as you keep your opinions to yourself.
But we all have an internal radar that picks up on other people’s judgment of us.
Your clients are no different.
Your silent criticism will create a subtle but significant level of distrust.
And distrust is poison in a coaching relationship.
So avoid this at all costs.
Make sure you arrive at every coaching session with an open mind and heart. Create a safe judgment-free space for your clients.
You’re there to support. Not to judge.
Mistake #3: You want to be liked
Everyone wants to be liked.
It’s built into our survival mechanism as a human.
When early man — or woman — was shunned from the tribe, it was pretty much a death sentence.
You had no hope of surviving out in the wildness of the ancient world by yourself.
This is so deeply ingrained in our psyche that we still believe we must belong to associations, factions or some kind of group in order to “survive”.
This is where our need to be liked comes from.
But if want to be a great coach, you need to override this natural tendency to be liked and accepted.
As a coach, you may need to guide your clients to painful revelations or uncomfortable truths so they can be set free to achieve their highest potential.
Coaching is about leading, guiding, supporting and motivating.
Coaching is about being honest and doing everything in your power to help your clients.
It is not about being liked or even accepted.
So when it comes to being a great coach, strive to make the right choice for your clients, not the popular one.
Strive for respect. Not likeablity.
These coaching mistakes appear trivial but they often cause irreparable damage.
They create distrust, dishonesty and inauthenticity between a coach and a client.
One of the most powerful ways to keep yourself in check is to always hold onto this truth…
Your aim is to serve your client. Not yourself.
Keep this in your mind and heart and you won’t have any trouble avoiding these serious coaching mistakes.