Trust in the coaching relationship
I have recently been undertaking several conversations with people I know about possible coaching engagements, mostly for themselves. What has been interesting to note is that many ask me to instead point them to other potential coaches to use.
“I know you’re a coach, but I’d like someone else, because you know me already/we’re too close already”. My interpretation of that is: I don’t want you to know everything about me, because it may change our relationship. There’s discomfort about being vulnerable to someone you know well.
I know other coaches who have often faced this dilemma. It’s really a trust issue, when you analyse it in detail, as well as insecurities on the part of your potential coachee as to your ethics and conduct.
So, let’s be clear. A coach is a professional, equipped to be objective and fully present in a session. Confidentiality is paramount. Bias and judgement are a non-issue as it is not a coach’s role to give advice, steer you in a direction or have an agenda for the sessions.
A coachee’s session is unique and the agenda is set by him/her, as is the pace, the tone, the theme. It’s the coachees time to feel free, in thought, action and emotion. And to figure out how to work through what brought him/her to a session in the first place.
A family member or friend as a coach should be viewed as safer in many ways. The coach will have to enforce boundaries and set expectations that are extremely clear, so that there is no misinterpretation about intentions or outcomes that may arise. Far from getting special (relaxed) treatment, you may find it may be even more professional, as the coach steers away from using nuances and understanding of the coachee in question, as background information to calibrate a session.
It’s one of the best tests of the strength of character, integrity and ethics of a professional coach. As for the coach, he/she needs to heighten self-awareness and reflections, to ensure the intentions for a session is not marred by prior knowledge.
Go on family and friends. Reach out to your coaches in your circle. Use them for your upliftment. It’s you who stands to gain, after all.