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"Coach Talk" Blog!

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Monday, May 07 2012

Sound the alarm, please          

Ive been pondering if indeed there really is an “uncoachable” client- aside possibly from a person with mental illness.

For transparency purposes, I will admit right off the bat, I have a huge aversion to labels. Not that my mind doesn’t engage in them as well but I try to be conscious of when it’s happening and stop the pattern in it’s tracks.

The alarm bell sounds reminding me that ah yes this may be my ego at work and I don't have to buy into it or let it run the show.

Now I don’t presume to know another’s process, so please know that I’m not implying anything about anyone else.

However, it is my opinion that “uncoachable” is a label and labels are beliefs.

And if we’re not careful they can color our perception and really limit our experiences and possibilities. And of course on the most destructive level they can create distance, fear and isolation not to mention self righteousness. And none of that leads to good, after all, aren’t most wars caused by beliefs? OK so can you tell I’m very wary of labels and beliefs? And is my alarm bell now ringing advising me to examine in what ways my "beliefs" around labels and beliefs are effecting my experience? Yep! But I will spare you that process and move on…

Playing the devils advocate

If we consider the millions of different personalities and the myriad ways of learning and perceiving, how do we truly “know” that someone is uncoachable?

Perhaps instead:

  • We are simply the wrong coach for that client
  • We haven’t yet assisted the client in discovering what it is they really want or their way of working
  • We are subconsciously imposing our beliefs about how coaching should look & feel or how a client should operate
  • We don’t like the client, their ideals or their process

A really good one

One of the most compelling reasons I’ve heard for a client being uncoachable is: won’t take responsibility for their life, constantly plays the victim and uses that as an excuse for not moving forward.

Personally if I dealt with that long enough and couldn’t find a way “in” to assist them, I admit it would be very frustrating and I’d probably choose not to continue the relationship.

Does that mean however that the client is uncoachable? I don’t know but my gut response is I don’t think so.

It may not be the right timing or again a different coach with a different approach and style might cut through all of that in the first session.

And by simply labeling is it possible the coach is the one who is not taking responsibility?


What if the more important and beneficial question could actually be:

How is that determination/diagnosis of a client being “uncoachable”- of service to anyone, in any way?

  • Does it prevent us from feeling disappointed or inadequate and is that a good thing?
  • Does it justify our not liking and wanting to work with the client and do we need justification?
  • In what ways does it serve the client?
  • How does it aid us in growing and going deeper?

Tag…you’re it!

OK so those are my thoughts but there are so many of you out there who have been coaching a lot longer than I have and could share a perspective that I’m not aware of.  I would truly appreciate hearing your wisdom!


Posted by: Gail Moore AT 11:12 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
I think it is about motivation. Anyone who is motivated is coachable. Those motivated for something different can make it happen.
Posted by Caron MacLane on 05/13/2012 - 11:23 PM

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