“I’ll solve your problem, no matter what”

I heard that philosophy from a member of a coaching community in Romania. Now I have a different perspective, which might relate to the issues I have mentioned about respect.

Considering I respect other people’s visions, I am aware this notion has a different meaning according to each one’s experience. I will tell why I think “I’ll solve your problem, no matter what” has no place in coaching. And it was said with such enthusiasm I could have thought that person was ready to jump out of an airplane with a parachute (eventually checking if it works). I remember a Noble Manhattan Group Practice, where a circle of specialists has concluded that the client has to do the work of finding a solution (something that to me sounds perfectly logical).

I happen to consider it’s unethical that, as long as you know a solution that you’re screaming out inside to give to your client, it’s fair to leave him without it. Now, let’s think about it from a helping perspective. This is a common issue that coaches have.  There are many levels on which a client can and may be helped. One of them is on a surface level. Coaching is a journey that the client takes on his own. What he finds he owns. For example, sure, it’s nice to have someone who tells you “oh, thank you, you’ve changed my life, I don’t know what I would have done without your help“. Now pause to think a little. I would like to quote a professional coach:

Coaching is not in the helping business.

Licenţa: CC-By SA 2.0 Foto de Ben Record
Licenţa: CC-By SA 2.0 Photo by Ben Record

Yes, in case you have not noticed the evidence…


… and what that means… is that when a client says you what a contribution you’ve made, the right answer is to politely thank (if you want) and say that in fact, it’s the client’s merit. Because it IS.

If you solve a client’s problem, you take from that client the opportunity to learn for himself or for herself what (s)he can use to resolve that class of problems. People who need to be helped will search for helpers, saviors.

If you want to save, don’t do coaching, go save the trees! It’s OK not to ask them if they want to be changed in order to keep living. They do not have consciousness,  therefore cannot be held responsible for the decision taken.

We have a word in Romania, “nu ajuta baba să treacă strada fără să vrea”, which means “don’t help an old woman to cross the street if she doesn’t want to”.

A common mistake is made when a client says: “I can change! I must change!” and the coach thinks that the client WANTS to change. A good question might be in such a situation “Do you want to change?”. That’s where coaching starts. The client must convince the coach (s)he is willing to change.

Coaching is NOT consultancy.

Coaching is NOT psychology.

Coaching is NOT therapy.

Coaching is coaching.

Understand it before you practice it.  Any illusions of morality that you might have are self-deluding structures that will Impede you from really and deeply helping a client. At least, this is what I think. Please comment on my position.


Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, 2010-present

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