Tenets of coaching:Â Responsibility
Many of myÂ coaching clients will start from a place of taking inadequate and/or inappropriate responsibility. They may take not enough responsibility, or too much. Here are examples of things they may say to indicate this issue:
- Itâs not my fault I eat too much, my boss insists I take clients to lunch
- I feel guilty that my husband got caught speeding
- I’ve tried everything to stop smoking
- I’m just disorganised; itâs how I’ve always been
- I’m sorry you didn’t like what I cooked (this sort of phrase could be ok or not depending on the tone of voice etc)
- I only hit you because you made me so angry
- I didn’t mean to make you feel sad
- Itâs my parents fault that I havenât got a degree as they wouldn’t let me go to University
My taskÂ task is to move the client to a place where they take responsibility for what is theirs and let go of responsibility for what is not.
This, however, is not an absolute. As a reader of this articleÂ you are likely to be happy to hear the statement that your arrival at this point in your life is the result of all the choices that you have made, all the actions you have taken and all the situations you have avoided. But most peopleÂ will not initially be ready to hear this. As hypnotherapists know, however, it can be easier to talk to peopleÂ about tricky issues such as this while they are in hypnosis. He/She hasÂ an opportunity to break down these barriers much more quickly than does a coach who does not use hypnosis.
Some people have stronger beliefs about responsibility than others. Do you agree with the following? (These are given as examples and do not necessarily reflect my views)
- Each individual is responsible for all their actions, whatever the circumstances
- A person chooses their path in life before conception
- The body is completely under the control of a personâs mind therefore an illness is the personâs responsibility
- Depression is a choice
- All mistakes are unconsciously deliberate, therefore âI didn’t mean toâ is no excuse
Remember that peopleÂ may or may not believe these things, and nothing is guaranteed to upset a personÂ more easily than what they would perceive as inappropriate and âunfairâ blame. Eg, avoid telling a depressed personÂ that they can choose to feel better!
The idea of responsibility is crucial in coaching, as the client needs specifically to take responsibility for what is achieved in the process. OneÂ needs to keep the client accountable, give them the responsibility for sticking to tasks, and then give them credit for achievements. If a coach takesÂ responsibility for a client’s Â progress, that is inappropriate (sorry!)
However, the coach has significant responsibility to control the process. The client is in control of the content, you are in control of the process. He/SheÂ a responsibility to behave ethically and to provide a thoroughly professional service to his/herÂ clients.
IÂ advise all coaches to seek professional support and to use checklists to review their own commitment, presence and to look for blind spots. It is important to remember this first tenant of coaching.