Coaching the Uncoachable

Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a spouse, an administrator or an Inclusion Coach, you may find yourself smack-dab in the middle of an opportunity to coach somebody. You see an opening for her to grow, but she clearly is NOT COACHABLE. What do you do?

First, pause to reflect….

1. Is the “opportunity” based on YOUR solution? (self-importance)

  • “I have a great way for you to handle that problem!”
  • “Why don’t you do it this [my] way?”
  • ” Here you go. Try it this way.” 

2. What is her view of the problem? (perspective)

  • “How are things going?”
  • “Are you having a challenge I could help you with?”
  • “What do you think is the source of this problem?”

3. Do you know how he feels? (empathy)

  • “How do you feel about how things are going?”
  • “How hopeful are you that this problem can be solved?”
  • “How would I feel if I were in that situation?”
  • “Have I ever felt that way before? When?”

4. Does she trust you — and do you trust her? (relationship)

  • “Is she open or guarded in telling me about the problem?”
  • “Does she think I have anything to offer here?”
  • Do I think she has what it takes to resolve this problem?”

5. Does he want to solve this problem? (motivation)

  • “How much does this problem bother you?”
  • “Is this something you want to improve/fix?”
  • “What happens if you don’t do anything about this?”
  • “Is there a bigger problem that is a higher priority?”

6. Does she want coaching? (coachable)

  • “Would you like my help with this problem?”
  • “Are you willing to think through the situation to find some action steps?”
  • “If we discover some steps, would you put them into action?”

After you have reflected (any maybe asked a few of those questions), you may discover some reasons why this person isn’t coachable. There’s no point in offering suggestions and inviting him or her to think deeply about a problem if some of those elements are missing. 

Remember …

The purpose of coaching is to take someone from where he is to where HE wants to go. Your target is to foster HIS deep thinking about HIS problem so that HE generates a solution to the problem. He is much more likely to put his own solutions into action than your brilliant suggestions. 

Incidentally, this same process applies to coaching youth!!!

I’d like to hear your perspectives on this post. Have you ever tried to coach someone who was uncoachable? How did it go? 

I support schools to #TransformInclusion