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Coaching Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. Even the best Coach. After all, he is only human. But what distinguishes the best coaches is that they can quickly realize their mistakes and, if necessary, apologize for them. They are also able to introduce immediate corrections so as not to repeat and perpetuate the mistakes made.


This is the purpose of the supervision and self-reflection of the coach practiced regularly in coaching.


In the table below, I will not refer to less significant or obvious errors. But to those that are often hidden or anchored to deep foundations.


And when I think about it, the metaphor for building a house comes to my mind. If mistakes were made or wrong choices were made at the design stage of the house; if the design was good, but the foundations were poorly made; If the foundations have been solidly made, but then the remaining parts of the house structure have been selected with poor quality materials - beautiful wall painting or hanging impressive curtains will not help. Because it does not remove the cause, but only masks the effects that we do not want to see.

And I have the impression that at least some of the points will surprise you or seem like a paradox. But a coaching relationship is an amazing journey. It is a dynamic relationship between two multidimensional people. Interestingly, apart from the dialogue that takes place between the Coachee and Coach, other dialogues are also part of this journey: for example, Coachee's internal conversation with himself and the Coach's internal conversation with himself.

Here is my list of the Top 7 Coaching Mistakes

The list is very subjective, but also very well thought out.

1. Coaching Mistake - Trying too hard to be a great Coach

First surprise, right? This error can especially affect Coaches at the beginning of their journey. An experienced Coach knows that coaching is not about a Coach - it's about Coachee. And the goal is not for the Coach to do his best and feel satisfied with himself, but for the Coachee to get the most benefit from the meeting/contract. These are very subjective benefits, and for Coachee, they may be quite different from the Coach's idea of it. Sometimes Coachee just wants to talk, ventilate, and deflate. And sometimes the toughest sessions, the ones that seem to be going past December, bring the biggest breakthroughs.

2. Coaching Mistake - Coach taking not his responsibility

Another surprise? Here is what I mean. Coaching is a relationship between two people. It's shared responsibility for WHAT? and HOW? ”But Coachee is ultimately responsible for what, when, and how he does. By trying too hard, by working too hard, a Coach can burn himself and, paradoxically, burn the contract or take Coachee's responsibility away from him.


Part of this thread is making Coachee dependent on himself. Admiration or gratitude on the part of the Coachee, the relentless willingness to continue working together beautifully caresses the Coach's human "ego". But the purpose of the coaching contract is to equip the Coachee with new insights and tools that will enable him to act INDEPENDENTLY.


And here's where I can't help but parallels the over-emphasis on a leadership role at work. So much is said about leadership today, so many expectations are placed on leaders, and so much is pumped up on the importance of this role. But it is often the leaders themselves who identify so much with their role at work (one of the many roles we have in life, after all) that if we took this role away from them ..., then there would be nothing left.

3. Coaching Mistake - the Coach does not touch the topic that should be addressed

It happens that due to his doubts or fear of offending the Coachee, the Coach refrains from asking a certain question or addressing a topic that he feels is "underneath". Paradoxically, this may prevent the Coachee from getting one of the greatest benefits of the coaching process. Oftentimes, the Coach is the only one the Coachee can hear a very important message from.


A good way for a Coach to check this is by asking himself the following question: "Do I end this session confident that everything important that should be said has been said?"

4. Coaching Mistake - talking during the coaching session, especially breaking the silence

It is difficult to give a measurable indicator of how much of a session should be filled with the Coach's words. Some say no more than 25%. Most importantly, the primary role of a Coach is to listen, ask strong questions, and follow Coachee.

The worst thing we can do is break the silence after asking the question. Silence has great power. In my opinion, it is one of the most powerful coaching tools. The silence is not empty. It is full of important answers. My practice shows me that no response from Coachee (or difficulty in giving it) is a signal that we are beginning to touch something really important.

5. Coaching Mistake - not intervening by the Coach when needed

This point seems to be in contradiction with the previous point. But only seemingly. There are Coachees who tend to flow in a flowery story and jump very easily from topic to topic. By answering one question asked by the Coach, they can treat themselves (and the Coach) with a tree structure that can be compared to Tony Buzan's mind map. I often call it the octopus.

Keeping in mind that the purpose of the coaching session is to bring as specific benefits as possible to Coachee, in such a situation the Coach's job is to stop this process of generating subsequent legs and start cleaning one arm.

Often, cleaning one "branch" makes the entire structure of the branches associated with it disappear.

6. Coaching Mistake - inappropriate opening of the coaching session by the Coach

Recall that Coach follows Coachee. And it is the Coachee who decides WHAT is the topic of conversation. And Coach is responsible for HOW.

An incorrect start of the session by the Coach may destroy the ENTIRE session (and affect subsequent sessions). This is especially true when Coach, even inadvertently, starts to direct the conversation to the track that Coach (in his best intentions) thinks best.


And here I want to share my reflection on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was striking to me when I noticed in my practice how much people started to feel "human" conversation. How much a normal conversation has become a "necessity product". Conversation without pressure, without rush, in an atmosphere in which we do not feel judged, and at the same time, we have a 100% feeling that someone is listening to us and paying attention to us.


So, one of the best ways for a Coach to start a coaching session could be to ask the following question: How can I be the most useful for you today? What, being here and now, do you need the most?

7. Coaching Mistake - closing the coaching session without arrangements

In addition to broadening Coachee's awareness and changing the perspective of ourselves and the environment, another best favor we can give Coachee is to help consolidate and consolidate beneficial changes. For this, a sincere will on the part of the Coachee and a commitment to practice new behavior, observation, or reflection are essential. Or a commitment to do some "homework". Leaving a session without summing up and establishing specific, however small, commitments on Coachee's side weakens the chances of a lasting change.

Top 7 Coaching Mistakes
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