I want to share FIVE ways that you can become a more confident coach or practitioner.
You may want to write these down, so you can set some goals around these things and weave them into your schedule.
#1 – The first thing to do DO IT – to actually coach – with practice clients – until you start feeling confident enough to do paid sessions.
Find anyone with a pulse who you like and who is willing to change. Do two or three sessions with them just to get the feel of coaching and using the skills.
Don’t worry about ongoing sessions or continuity in the beginning – just use the sessions to become familiar and comfortable with your methodology and running a coaching session.
That leads me to the second point.
#2 – When you work with clients, make sure that you choose people that you have good chemistry with and who are ready to change.
If you don’t have a good personality fit with your client or if they’re ambivalent or a bit resistant to change, or just trying to do a favour, then your session with them will likely feel difficult or uncomfortable and you will probably question your own ability.
By all means experiment with different kinds of clients and personalities so you can see who fits best, but be mindful that not everyone will be the right client for you – and that this is NOT a reflection of your skills as a coach.
It’s a fact of life – we tend to attract certain types of people and not others. That’s one reason why only certain people will want to work with you, and why it’s worth targeting a niche.
I learned about client chemistry the hard way.
I was running my coaching business and had somebody else selling clients into my program.
After a while, I realised that I felt drained and tired when I was walking into those sessions. I started to doubt my ability as a coach. And I was ready to quit. Fed up. Disheartened.
THEN I reflected on the facts and realised that I had exceptional rapport with certain clients AND that they were getting the best outcomes. It was then that I realised I needed to target a niche and find my ideal client so that my work was always energizing.
It is valuable to work with different types of people in the beginning to figure out who your people are – but be aware that the differences in your personalities or learning styles and how that may affect your confidence in your skills.
What do you think that means for a new graduate coach or practitioner? If their client seems difficult, they will likely start blaming themselves for their poor skills. I’ve seen it a hundred times, and it’s the absolute wrong thing to do.
If you DO find yourself feeling uncomfortable about a client, please simply step back and acknowledge them as a person with their own challenges that they are responsible for, and know that your job is to hold space and work with them in a way that they need.
Your job is not to fix them but to be there for them and support them and to help them find their own solutions. Better still, start becoming more selective about who you work with and choose people that you have great chemistry.
That’s a really organic process for finding your niche and ideal client, loving your work and to rapidly build confidence and capacity as a coach or practitioner.
#3 – The third way to build confidence in your coaching skills is to start reflecting on your own performance.
When you graduate, you no longer have a teacher supporting you and guiding you in the use of your skills. You’re on your own. Developing your own feedback loop is therefore an essential part of your professional development.
Do a post session reflection and fill in your coaching log.
This is an essential professional development practice that can raise self awareness, identify your strengths, and find areas that need sharpening up.
#4 – the fourth way to build confidence is to get feedback from your clients. There are a few types of feedback that you can get in a session.
- You can get non-verbal cues from your client.
Watch their body language through the session with you. Do they become more open? Do they seem more relaxed? Does their energy or excitement build?.
These are all non-verbal cues that indicate your client is growing and getting something important out of the session with you.
- You can ask your clients for feedback at the end of each session.
Build it into your session close to ask what they learnt about themselves and if they have any feedback on the coaching. What you’ll find is that clients are usually so thankful and grateful for your listening or the realisation they had.
Many new graduate coaches I speak to think that listening to someone doesn’t have any value and isn’t worth anything but when you hear your clients expressing their heartfelt gratitude for your holding space you’ll start to really see how valuable it is for the client and that’s what this is all about-them.
- Ask clients to complete a written survey at the end of their whole coaching program asking them what they liked, didn’t like, what changed, and how they changed, and what their next goals are.
This will give you a LOT of information about the entire process as well as your skills, and about their own openness to change, commitment and self-responsibility.
#5 – The fifth way to build confidence in your coaching ability is to help your client measure and monitor changes they experience on a week by week basis.
Monitoring and measuring could include the assessment of weekly goals using percent success for each goal, it could also include physical measurements that they may take such as number of steps or 1 to 10 scales for stress or energy.
Anything that they are physically recording and seeing changes in is giving you evidence that your process your methodology and your skills and their readiness to change a facilitating shifts that have value to the client. And all of these give you ongoing evidence that will help you to build confidence in your coaching skills.
The caveat for this one is that some clients struggle to change due to their own beliefs or past trauma that have nothing to do with your skill. It may simply mean that their challenges are outside your scope and referral is required.
The way to build confidence in your coaching ability is to actually do it.
We discussed two ways to build confidence.
1. Start with confidence in your modality.
It will help your brain and your mindset to focus on the positives that your qualification or modality can create.
Look to experienced practitioners in your industry and observe your role models to validate that what you’re doing is effective and credible.
2. Build confidence in your coaching ability by coaching, and collecting feedback.