One person, many hats

A few weeks ago, I was posed this question by someone who is developing their coaching practice:

When, if ever, is it appropriate for a coach to give advice?

My immediate response, as with most things was… it depends. Here are a few examples I shared that day.

I’m working with someone at the moment who can help me both as a coach and business adviser/mentor. He will switch hats depending on my need. The crucial part of this is that we’ve previously agreed (or contracted, in coaching terminology) to this arrangement. He makes it clear when he’s in which role, and seeks my confirmation that is what I want in that moment.

When I’m coaching and I feel I’ve got some advice to share, I keep in mind the question: Does this serve me, or my client? It’s a difficult one to answer, but it gives me time to pause and think what to do next. I don’t feel it is in service to them if I hold back something that I observe or information I have that they don’t. However, I will always ask whether they’re ready to accept me putting a different hat on to share that, even if it’s only for a minute.

What hat I’m wearing is something I also think about when a friend or family member comes to me with something that’s bothering them. Sometimes, I need to remind myself to keep my coaching hat off my head. In these situations, it’s a case of asking whether they want someone to listen and empathise or to help them problem solve. Two other hats that I keep in my kit bag.

I’m curious, what different hats do you wear?

Featured image by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

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about emma

I am a coach and facilitator helping people to pause, reflect and make conscious choices about what comes next. In my writing I explore themes of personal development, reflective practice and what it means to live well.