As I began working with this young man, I realized pretty quickly that he already knew what he was supposed to do. He understood the calculations and was probably a better math student than I was! The key was focus. He needed someone who would just sit with him, respond to his work, and provide encouragement. I did not need to be an expert; I just needed to be there.
I find myself in the same situation very often as a leadership coach. As I talk with a client, I discover that not only does the person have the best knowledge of the situation we are discussing, but he or she has some ideas about how to address it in a positive way. So why does the person need a coach?
One of the things that a coach does is to help a person have a conversation with herself or himself. The coach asks the questions that the client needs to be asking for decision, planning, and goal-setting. The coaching conversation brings clarity by helping the person to openly articulate solutions and approaches that, up to that point, were simply ideas and inclinations.
A friend recently asked me about my approach to coaching and how I knew when I was successful. I know that I am helping the client when he or she says, “That is a good question.” I have not shared new information but have encouraged the person to dig deeper and unearth his or her own knowledge, experience, or gifts.
Most of us already know more that we are doing. A coach can provide the catalyst to act on what you already know.