As coaches, we know that how a client thinks has a significant impact on how the client behaves. The client’s assumptions, beliefs, and convictions act as both a limiting filter and an expanding doorway in terms of what’s possible for the client. For example, a client who
deeply believes that life is essentially a competition will tend to approach relationships in a win/lose way, thus limiting what is possible in those interactions. No matter how powerful your questions, such a client has only a limited set of options available. Meanwhile, a client who believes life is sometimes competition but can also be collaboration has a much fuller range of relational possibilities available. Indeed, your mindset determines how you behave.
The connection between thought and behavior that is true for our clients also impacts us as coaches. Coaches who develop the skills of a coach without developing the mindset of a coach will be limited in his or her effectiveness. The limiting/expanding impact of our thinking is why I wrote The Coaching Mindset. The purpose of this eBook is to help coaches better develop the foundational assumptions, beliefs, and convictions that support great coaching.
The Coaching Mindset is a short eBook that aims to be practical and accessible. In it, I share eight ways to think like a coach. Since the eBook is rather brief, I won’t summarize all eight of the ways to think like a coach, but let me highlight just one: “go to the movies.”
I love action movies of the James Bond type. When I see 007 in a bind, I know for certain he will escape. After all, there will be another Bond movie in two years, so the lead character can’t die. Sure, there may be a high-powered laser slowly making its way to his temple or a nuclear bomb ticking down to zero, but Bond will somehow find a way out of the predicament. I am engaged in the film, eager to find out how the hero will overcome, but I am never in doubt that he will overcome. I feel the same way about my coaching clients.
By thinking of my client as the hero of the story – the one who has the creativity and resourcefulness to overcome whatever the issue is, I am better able to coach instead of problem-solve. Just like James Bond does not need me to leap into the film and loosen his knots or cut the green wire on the ticking bomb, my clients don’t need me to rescue them. If I think of them as a hero, I call forth their best. On the other hand, if I think of them as someone who is essentially incapable, I will tend to coach as a problem-solver or even slip into advice-giving.
Developing the skills of a coach is fantastic. After all, we all need to keep ourselves sharp when it comes to questions, listening, designing actions, and so forth. But having a great skill set without the accompanying mindset will prevent you from being the best coach you can be. If you want to grow as a coach and increase the value you bring to your clients, let me encourage you to pick up a copy of The Coaching Mindset.
About the Author:
Chad serves on faculty and as Director of Coaching at Western Seminary. He is also President of Coach Approach Ministries, a ministry that provides coaching and coach training to Christian leaders around the world. Chad is a graduate of Duke University and Princeton Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister who has served as a pastor, church planter and as a team leader for a major denomination. Chad’s experience also includes time as an internal coach at the business intelligence leader, SAS. He is the co-author of Coaching for Christian Leaders: A Practical Guide and Faith Coaching: A Conversational Approach to Helping Others Move Forward in Faith as well as numerous articles in Leadership Journal. Chad is known for his warmth, humor, and easy-going approach to coaching as well as his tenacious commitment to coaching well. Chad lives in Hickory, NC with his wife Holly and their three children.