I’ve said this before. Coaches like to have answers and give advice. It makes us feel useful in our jobs, gives us control and a sense of empowerment.
In my life, I have often been a “cut you off” kind of person when you are talking. As you can imagine, this style affects people in many ways. Now, it isn’t a bad skill to have, except when overused and I do tend to overuse it. So, as I’m coaching, I’m paying more attention to my patterns so I can switch things up and develop new skills the same as I have my boxers practice being aware of their patterns and developing new skills.
I was working with a boxing client and he was telling me a story about a stressful situation coming up that he was having some anxiety about. I found at least 3 occasions where I wanted to jump in and give my advice. Each time I felt the urge, I made my self take one step backwards and one step sideways. This physical tactic worked to keep me present in my listening and kept me from jumping in with words.
I realized that he wasn’t asking me for coaching advice. He just wanted to say out loud something he was anticipating and be heard for a minute.
I also realized that wanting to fix things is a conundrum coaches deal with. When do you jump in and fix versus sitting back and letting things run their course. Sometimes coaching advice comes more in the form of listening and letting a person really come to their own realizations. Sometimes a simple question from a coach can also be advice.
I asked my boxing client, what skills was he using to prepare for dealing with this anxiety causing event. He confidently rattled off a few techniques and then his workout really opened up and we didn’t speak another word about the situation.
I was able to exercise a very needed new skill and he was able to clear his mind to make the most of his workout. I see that as a win- win situation.