The Coach Approach

The Coach Approach

Language is always evolving – words and phrases changing meaning, nouns becoming verbs. “The Coach Approach” has potential for this, in my biased opinion.

There are attitudes, tools and principles that go with coaching that are just great for life in general. Truly, coaching can’t claim them as their own but the way they get put together is what creates a coach approach. Whether you’ve had extensive training in coaching or none whatsoever, many of the principles are just great for the real world of relationships.


  1. Be a cheerleader. One thing I’ve learned in my eleven years of coaching executives is that everyone needs cheering on, encouragement, acknowledgement and prodding to pause and reflect on their “wins”.  One of my all-time favorite commercials is a fantastic example of cheering and is actually called “Cheering Works”. It’s super short and worth the 45 seconds it will take you (just click the link). Cheering Works
  2. Assumptions turn to questions. A coach approach encourages us to remember that we are not all-knowing and that it is better to dig deeper and ask questions when we are tempted to draw conclusions. A perfect, real-world time to use this is in the middle of an argument. Really. So often our most painful fights with our life partners are over misunderstandings and assumptions. Asking a few more open-ended and open-minded questions can prevent some very painful interactions!
  3. Reflect back what you see. Coaches hold up mirrors This can be about commenting on strengths or accomplishments. It can be about pointing out the resources a person has to reach their goals. It might be about mentioning the contradiction in someone’s spoken word and body language messaging. Sometimes it is as simple as acknowledging how it seems that the other person is feeling in the form of a question. “It seems like you are feeling anxious about this, are you?
  4. Stop advising (so much). Ok, this is a hard one! Giving advice feels so helpful when we are doing it. Sometimes the advice can be very helpful. Other things happen though:
  • we set ourselves up as the expert instead of encouraging that in the other person;
  • we assume that our idea is better than the one the other person could come up with;
  • we stop the flow of creative idea generation.
  1. Ask about next steps. When someone is wanting to move forward in a situation the best way out of ‘stuck’  is just the next little step. There are times when we get overwhelmed by the big picture and the breakthrough can come by just choosing the next small way forward.

So, my request (which, in coaching, you can “accept, reject or negotiate”) is that today, you find a situation or relationship that you can “coach approach”. Have fun – play with it – see what magic you can create!

(Ps: This article was originally published by Marilyn R. Orr,  and is being re-published with her permission)

Marilyn Orr
Marilyn Orr

More Articles

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply




Latest Posts