Feb 18 2011

One String to the Bow: Five Lessons for the Two-Dimensional Coach

Category: Guest PostThis is a post by a Guest Author @ 6:30 am

In this week’s guest post David Lurie shares five lessons for coaches:

One String to the Bow: Five Lessons for the Two-Dimensional Coach

By David Lurie

I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of coaches over the last couple of years, and it has been striking about the differences between them. While many coaches are truly excellent, some seem to suffer under the belief that by coaching others they can paper over their own cracks. It seems clear that coaches should be working under the same philosophy as professional therapists. If a therapist has to continue to receive therapy while providing it, why shouldn’t a coach receive coaching?

Lesson 1: Coaching others doesn’t mean you don’t need coaching yourself, although it is true that teaching leads to great amounts of learning.

A second problem that some coaches seem to face is that they don’t know what kind of coach they are. While a good coach may be able to focus on a wide number of areas, a good businessperson has a niche. I would imagine that we’re all capable to some degree of coaching on a number of different subjects, but that doesn’t mean we should. At Setsights Ltd, I officially provide Career Coaching and Interpersonal Skills training. That’s two simple services that more often than not are exactly the same: most clients need interpersonal skills training to aid their careers, and although I do my fair share of training on CV-writing and occasion relationship coaching, my bread and butter work is targeted.

Lesson 2: As a coach, ensure you not only have a niche, but that you’re selling that niche.

Training is another interesting area. I realise that I’m setting myself up for a lot of abuse here, but I thoroughly disagree with the high number of NLP Practitioners out there. While I have found some NLP principles are very worthwhile, I’m of the same thought as Derren Brown that only Bandler’s original work is valid, unlike more recent developments. There is no shortage of psychology research that proves NLP wrong.

I personally find it better to offer certain lessons from NLP, from CBT, from TA, from business (I have a background as a management consultant) and Lacanian Analysis, not to mention a whole host of other areas where I have picked out the best information

Lesson 3: The best coaches understand the valuable parts of what they offer and stop offering the rest. They seek to learn from a variety of approaches and not a single one.

Blog. Write. Contribute. I would hope to see the average coach taking part in #hashtag chats on Twitter (if they use Twitter), submitting research to magazines like The Psychologist and writing for publications like the national newspapers (I personally try to contribute to The Guardian as it has my favourite careers section). You should be blogging about your thoughts, getting guests to write on your blog, and writing on other people’s blogs. This doesn’t just raise your profile, it lets you learn – and for that matter, you need to be open to learning

Lesson 4: Contribute new thoughts, and through this process be open to learning.

The final lesson is that you should always leave lessons to be easily learnt, without having to tread new ground. In that spirit, find below the five lessons in one place:

Lesson 1: Coaching others doesn’t mean you don’t need coaching yourself, although it is true that teaching leads to great amounts of learning.

Lesson 2: As a coach, ensure you not only have a niche, but that you’re selling that niche.

Lesson 3: The best coaches understand the valuable parts of what they offer and stop offering the rest. They seek to learn from a variety of approaches and not a single one.

Lesson 4: Contribute new thoughts, and through this process be open to learning.

Lesson 5: Ensure clients can learn easily without repeatedly re-treading the same ground.

About the Author/Further Resources

David Lurie is the Managing Director of Setsights Ltd, through which he provides four services: he provides career coaching one-to-one to people looking for their first job or to change job; he runs training courses on career skills in top universities including Kings College London and the Queen’s University of Belfast; he teaches people to build stronger interpersonal skills, including helping them with their confidence and relationships (yes, even dating); he gives talks on mental health and careers in secondary schools. He juggles all of this thanks to a combination of caffeine, insomnia and a small army of interns (not to mention his three associate staff) who do all the difficult stuff while he gets to have fun with clients.

When he isn’t coaching, he enjoys reading, writing and arithmetic, and his hobbies include performing stand-up comedy and writing biographies about himself in the third person, which he struggles to take as seriously as he probably should.

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4 Responses to “One String to the Bow: Five Lessons for the Two-Dimensional Coach”

  1. Tweets that mention One String to the Bow: Five Lessons for the Two-Dimensional Coach -- Topsy.com says:

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  2. Dave Doran says:

    David,

    An interesting article and although I would agree with your comments around NLP I am not sure about the Niche in Coaching. I think that people need to know what it is you are selling them but Coaching has suffered in the last few years by the creation of too many niches. For example the recently published “The Complete Handbook of Coaching” list 13 theoretical approaches to Coaching and a further 11 genres of Coaching.

    How confusing is this to anyone interested in being coached? A personal opinion is that coaches set up niches in business coaching and then coach to the niche, forgetting that the needs of the client are the most important thing. How many coaches do you know that would willingly pass a client onto another coach if they found that the clients needs did not fit into their particular niche.

    I know this is a generalisation and in particular directed towards business coaches, but having spent many years in sports coaching and having been in the business coaching world for the last three these comments are based on my experience to date.

  3. The S4P Blog » Blog Archive » I’ll Be Blogged! Sport’s Parents, Sabotage, Death and Public Speaking. says:

    […] finally a very thought provoking guest post on the Coaching Confidence website. David Lurie’s “One String to the Bow: Five Lessons for the Two-Dimensional Coach” offered lessons for coaches to improve Coaching practice. This included views that there are too […]

  4. Coaching Confidence A year of guest posts: Jan - April 2011 says:

    […] “One String to the Bow: 5 lessons for the Two-Dimensional coach” David Lurie used his observations of working with a lot of coaches over the past couple of […]

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