So how do you avoid being distracted by your own thoughts when you are coaching? This is a conversation and question I often get asked.
My answer normally is that there are many different techniques and approaches that you can use. And finding the ones that work for you is, in my opinion, beneficial.
Shut up/ don’t listen
One of the coaching skills that is highly valued is listening but in a coaching session it’s probably useful to listen to your client not any negative thoughts inside your head
There are many different techniques that you can use to quiet/not connect with any thoughts that you are finding distracting.
On day 4 of my confidence e-course I share five different ones. Here is just one technique that you may like. It just turns down the volume of that voice that was yakking away.
Imagine that you have a control panel, now this is your control panel so you can have as many buttons, dials, slider switches etc as you want. You will notice that one of these actually controls the volume of that voice and in a moment you can just reach out and gradually turn down the volume of that voice. Do that now and notice that voice get quieter and quieter and quieter.
Personally, because I believe that the coaching session is a time for the client not me I found saying to myself a simple “shh, later – their time not yours” works for me. Whilst that may appear to invite a deluge of negative thoughts after the session – in reality those thoughts are not relevant afterwards.
I’ve also found that the more I used this, the less I’d actually needed to use it. It’s become habit to fully focus on my client and not any negative thoughts.
Make life easier for yourself by not having your thoughts go at thousands of miles per hour. Do whatever you know to do to slow those thoughts down prior to your coaching session.
I know some coaches who do a short meditation, others who listen to a particular piece of music, whilst others use other techniques to get into a more useful state.
Personally, I don’t think there is a “right or wrong” way, just ones that will work for you as a coach!
Don’t get caught in a loop
If you notice during a coaching session that you have momentarily been distracted by a thought what do you then do? Curse that you have “done it again”, followed by various other thoughts and stories about how this is just more proof about how bad you are as a coach etc?
Getting caught in a loop of negative thinking or telling yourself a much longer negative story about what that must mean is a very common reaction. Yet, it doesn’t have to be the only way.
What you can also do is to congratulate yourself for noticing and bring your attention back out of your head and to the client in front of you.
You’ll find that you attention returns to your client a lot faster when you don’t start interacting with other negative thoughts that may pass through your head.
As a coach, over time, you will develop your own style. One that you are comfortable with and that works for your clients. As far as I’m concerned, there is no reason why you shouldn’t also find the way that works for you to focus upon your clients and not negative thoughts whilst coaching.
If you have a particular favourite technique etc you use feel free to comment below.