I’m the coach, that didn’t coach.

From a personal point of view, I rarely received, or provided, much coaching during my 15-year military career. I’m sure the people at the time were doing their best to help me. And I tried my best with the tools and resources available to me. 

But, overall, it lacked the life-changing transformational results usually associated with coaching.

Only recently have the benefits of coaching become more commonplace. And it remains a widely misunderstood concept. 

However, if I was being coached, it was not made clear. I didn’t give my consent to be a part of that dialogue, it was pressed upon me, it lacked formal contracting and follow up, and was inconsistent. 

For me, this resulted in the feeling that I was being instructed, criticised and judged.

And that I was a burden. 

And that’s why I didn’t listen and made my own judgements about the “advice” given. 

I didn’t stop to correct them either. Or ask how it might help me and hold them to account for their advice. 

It was only after I left the military that I fully began to understand the coaching conversation, from both sides, and the ground rules vital for those conversations to have any effect. 

No one wants other peoples Advice Monster going rampant in a conversation and acting like they’re chowing down at the all-you-can-eat-advice-buffet. 

And there’s a requirement to be enrolled and invested in your own progress too. 

Advice givers, before you impart your knowledge on others, how might opening with a curious question help you tailor your responses? And keep asking for more, because we Hoomuns rarely give over the juicy details right off the bat. Your advice is not bad, just poorly timed and probably aimed at the wrong problem.

Progress-makers, how might you take the lead and steer the conversation towards exploring ideas? 

Only you know the narrative playing out in your head. And folks on the outside need a recap and to understand your unique lived experience. 

As a suggestion: how might you be more specific about what’s really bothering you and what you believe are your obstacles? 

Communication is an art form.

We’ve spent millennia doing it, and there’s still more to be done. 

If you have been forwarded this by a friend, they thought of you and you can subscribe here.

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