Several coaching students and mentees have asked me over the years: How do you coach when the client shows up with no issues?

This question is based on the belief that the only value in coaching lies in the mitigation of pain and the resolution of problems.

And yet, the goals of coaching go way beyond eliminating pain and problems. While they may be the starting point, the most effective coaching transcends pain and problems. Yes, you may address those up front, but primarily to “clear the decks” for the growth that is possible when pain and problems are no longer in the way.

If you are wondering, or even anxious, about where to go with a client when there aren’t any (apparent) issues, and aren’t confident you are providing value, use these handy tips, taken from the Coaching with Love program:

1)      Address any confidence issues in your mentor coaching relationship. Give yourself the gift of experiencing the full value mentor coaches can provide, by bringing “all of you” to your work with your mentor. You’ll get technical expertise with coaching approaches, as well as the personal development that will truly boost your confidence.

2)      Develop your communication skills as a coach to best support your client’s growth. Learn the artfulness of language, again, to really ramp up confidence in your coaching skills and help your client grow farther and faster. An artful metaphor may just be the catalyst that opens the next deeper level of exploration for your client.

3)      Acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge. And springboard from that into inquiry: Sounds like all of your hard work has really paid off; you’re in a really great place. From where you are now, what calls your attention? OR Now that you have a solid foundation in place, what do you want to build on top of that foundation?

4)      Have a collection of questions “in your hip pocket” that you can call on if you get stumped:

  • After you acknowledge (you’re in a really great place now….), then ask a question: What allowed you to get to this place?
  • Are you ready to build on what you’ve already created?
  • What’s next for you?
  • What do you know about yourself now, that you did not before getting to this place in your life/work?
  • How do you use this awareness to continue moving forward?

5)      Pay attention to your curiosity: Where do you source it, where do you focus it and when does your curiosity get shut down?

6)      Shift your own perspective: Remember much of the value you bring as a coach has little to do with eliminating pain and everything to do with expanding awareness and choice. Trust that your clients can love and appreciate you even more when they’re growing proactively. This in turn means….

7)      Really “get” the value you offer. Work with your mentor coach or a transformational coach, if need be, to truly own the benefits your work provides those you serve. The more you own this for yourself, the more your clients will reflect this back to you with loyalty and referrals. The best, most masterful coaching approaches will be “hollow technique” until you get this piece in place for yourself.

When you get these pieces internalized, you’ll no longer be concerned about how to be of value when your client has no issues. You will instead champion your client reaching this place and be an invitation to his/her continuing growth. Coaching “beyond” the pain is a lot of fun – for coach as well as the client!