I was asked recently (not by one of my trainees as they are told the answer on the course) how does non-directional coaching and directional coaching work when I have a niche market based on my expertise in running a successful small retail business?
My belief is that to be an outstanding coach you need the skills in both non-directional coaching and directional coaching. The challenge is that it is almost as easy as falling off a log to tell other people what to do. Stop now. (There you are I have just done it!) Really, stop for a minute and ask yourself
‘who recently have I told how to do something, or what they should do?’
Was it your ageing mother, your teenage children, your best friend who found herself in a dilemma? The list is endless. So you see, it is easy to tell people what to do and we are experts in doing it, and we do it all the time. Notice I did not say we are experts in what we tell them to do; only we are experts in telling people what to do.
It would follow then, that to be a niche coach who is hired by clients because of your expertise in a specific area – you would only perform directional coaching because that is what you are hired for. For the most part, this may be true and you will definitely get results. The challenge is that neither you nor your client will explore alternative, creative ways of tackling a situation, as you will only follow the proven path. Which saves money, time and stress and is after all what you are hired for.
Non-directional coaching is much harder to do. It requires maximum patience, flexibility, great questioning skills and outstanding listening skills. It also requires hours of practice. The reason I teach non-directional coaching skills on my courses is because I know everyone is capable of giving advice and most people do. However, it is much harder to coach a client to find the answers which best suit themselves and it also takes much longer to achieve results.
Going back to the question,
‘how does non-directional coaching and directional coaching work when I have a niche market based on my expertise in running a successful retail business?’
Outstanding coaches will blend both non-directional coaching and directional coaching; selecting the best approach depending on the situation and the client response.
The key is being an expert with both non-directional coaching and directional coaching and then knowing which one is best to use in the situation that faces your client!