A coaching student brought a question to class one day: How do I deal with a client who needs therapy?

When asked, she shared this situation: Her client had come to a coaching with some emotional intensity. The client began sharing by saying, “I’m so upset I’m wondering if I should just commit suicide.”

What made this so fascinating is that when the coach shared this in class, you could feel the energy drop.

Every coach in the class went immediately into reaction, which means:

1)   They left present moment.

2)   They disconnected from their hearts.

3)   Their curiosity was no longer engaged.

During debrief, as we got the rest of the story, it turns out the client was frustrated because she did not know how to handle boundaries with her children AND she was in some drama. As her emotional intensity defused, she admitted she never had any intention of hurting herself or anyone else.

An appropriate alternative action was identified as an approach to use before allowing herself to get so cranked up. But only by remaining present and engaged could the coach effectively explore the truth of the matter.

The real learning in the class was not just how to defuse emotional intensity or even whether this client truly needed therapy, but how quickly 15 coaches jumped to conclusion (a.k.a. made assumptions).

They all became more concerned with Doing The Right Thing than with being present with the client. They all went into fear that this was in the realm of the Truly Taboo, and from that place of  fear, they did not stay present to check out what was really going on for the client.

Remember the power of the check-in from the last article? This is a great place to use that.

So please, please file this away in your Toolbox of Coaching Tidbits: If you go into fear, you are more likely to assume.

And if you do become aware of getting caught in a fear-trap in your coaching, no matter how subtle, here are a couple of ways to support yourself:

  1. Explore how to remain in the space of love in your coaching. What pulls you out of love? How do you know when you are coaching with love, or how do you get back to love when you’ve slipped away for a bit?
  2. Be sure to work with your mentor coach on how to spot those signs you may be coaching from a need to control or protect (you or the client), and appropriate coaching approaches to use instead.

In celebration of your empowered, conscious coaching!