Are You a Natural Problem-Solver? How to Think Like a Coach Instead
Coaches, managers, teachers, therapists, business owners, parents … we all have something in common. We’re expected to solve problems. Or maybe that’s what you expect of yourself…? Perhaps, you’re someone that becomes aware of a problem and naturally wants to fix it.
Why is this drive to fix problems a dangerous habit for leaders?
If you have a problem-solving mentality you are always on the look out for problems that you can fix. You feel that’s where you contribute value, but that also means that your focus is on failure.
Do you see the impact a problem-solving attitude can have on the people around you that you’re supposedly trying to help? If you’re focused on what’s not working, how will they recognize the things they do that are working? How does a focus on failure impact the disposition and morale of your team or your family?
What if you began to focus on success instead?
How do you change your focus? You embrace your role as a coach. Now of course this will apply to people who have a career as a life coach, but it also applies to managers, teachers, parents, business owners, etc. If you have a leadership role of any kind, you’ll benefit from starting to think like a coach.
How do you think like a coach?
Instead of being on the hunt for a problem you can solve, as a coach you’ll be looking for opportunities to coach people around a win or reinforce the positive behavior you’ve observed.
Here are five ways to start thinking like a coach:
Focus on the person not the task. Whether it’s getting your kid to clean their room or your employee to show up to work on time, concentrate on their development as a person.
Discuss what’s working for them. In what areas do they excel? How have they progressed? Draw their attention to what they’re doing right, more often than what they’re doing wrong, to reinforce positive behaviors.
Don’t become an advisor. Coaching is centered around the other person’s beliefs, values and opinions, while advising is based on your beliefs, values and opinions. Your role as a coach is to help the other person find their own solutions, not to have them simply follow your “brilliant” recommendations.
Take an “ask vs. tell” approach. Don’t tell the person what to do, instead ask powerful questions. This inspires them to create their own solution which means they’re going to be far more motivated to see it through!
Establish goals to build accountability. Remember these are their goals, not yours! But help them to communicate what they want to achieve and then hold them accountable to follow through.
Can you start thinking like a coach? Ultimately good coaches need to be expert communicators, which is why many, if not most, coaches draw on the principles of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to master communication skills. (If you’re curious to learn more about NLP, grab a copy of our new ebook.)
Since our Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP training is coming up in a few short weeks many of our clients have been asking who this program is for? It’s for someone who wants to learn how to coach anyone – your kids, your employees, your clients, even yourself! You will also learn the basics of NLP, gaining profoundly useful insights into how we use our brain, allowing you to radically improve the effectiveness of your communication.
So if you’re ready to throw off the burden of being a perpetual problem-solver and want to be an influential coach instead, we hope you join us!