This month in the CAM Community of Coaches, our focus is on how coaches need to be a bit directive, but without overdoing it and becoming bossy or leading the client.
What do we mean by “directive?” Coaches provide direction in the coaching relationship by suggesting where to focus, what to explore, where to start, and how to proceed. At CAM, we often make the distinction that coaches are process experts but not content experts – most of our directiveness (is that a word?) comes in helping establish a helpful process for the client. But sometimes that process expertise also splashes over into a bit of content expertise. For example, I once had a client who was totally unorganized, scattered, and just all over the place. It was so bad that he was driving his team nuts. But he only wanted coaching around how to help his team adjust to him and his style. I got directive by asserting that we could invest dozens of coaching sessions trying to get his team to adjust, but it was his own dysfunction that was the real culprit.
If that sounds like I went “too far,” then you’re fully understanding what I hope the coaches in our community wrestle with this month. When we get directive, it can feel like we’re stepping over the line – and sometimes we are. The key is to trust your intuition, always be in service to the client, and be willing to clean up any mess you make.
If we can go too far, then why be directive? Because sometimes (not all the time or even most of the time) our clients need a dose of directiveness from the coach.