This is the seventh in a series of nine blog posts on the topic of coaching.

The interaction between the coach and the coachee comes down to three mechanisms:

  1. Listening
  2. Questioning
  3. “I”-Positions

This week we will focus on “I”-Positions.

  • Listening enables the coach to develop a deeper appreciation of what’s really going on.
  • Asking curious questions enables the coach to stimulate deeper thinking on the part of the coachee.
  • “I”-Positions communicate where you stand to the coachee.

In last weeks blog post we highlighted the importance of not asking leading questions but rather to state your position clearly. As an example suppose you are in a coaching conversation and the solutions provided by the coachee are not, in your opinion, likely to be successful.

The rookie coach asks:  “Have you considered doing …..”

The high-level coach states: “I don’t think the solutions you have communicated are feasible.”

This is much more powerful than providing answers through leading questions. It gives the coachee feedback and invites deeper thinking. In order to deliver clear “I”-positions, the coach must know where he or she stands. This internal clarity must be developed before it can be delivered. What are your beliefs, values, principles? What are you prepared to do or not do?

It is not simply enough to begin a statement with the word “I” to have it pass. Effective “I”-positions focus on self.

The rookie coach states: “I don’t appreciate your aggressiveness.”

The high-level coach states: “I’m noticing myself getting defensive.”

Just Say It

“I”-positions require the coach to demonstrate emotional courage to overcome the fear of stating one’s position. At one end of the spectrum, the coach manages his/her anxiety through aggressive blame rather than self-reflective “this is what I will do” stances. This negative focus on the other at best garners discordant compliance and at worst damages the relationship. At the other end of the spectrum the coach is overly sensitive to the feelings of the coachee, at best the coach avoids the subject, at worst the coach Triangles in another person rather than stating their own position. Triangles will be the topic of next weeks blog post.

In your next coaching interaction “Just Say It”.





Photo by Yarenlen