Don’t double the self-talk when coaching

Sometimes I think wives are also replacement mothers for their husbands. I know because my wife is. She cares so much, that when I’m away on a business trip, she’ll always keep reminding me:

“Don’t forget two shirts, underwear for 3 days, remember to take your washbag, you forgot once didn’t you. Alarm clocks remember those, some nuts in the car in case you get hungry”.

The only problem with this is that I’ve been traveling on business since 1989 and consider myself a road warrior so I have my own routines and schedules to ensure I remember things. I say to myself things like:

“OK Paul you’re away 3 nights, so that’s 3 shirts plus ties, belt, two suits, wash-bag. Put something to eat in the car in case…”

And hey presto, I’ve got two voices in my head. One from me and one from my “coach” and I get all confused and mixed up with two voices talking to me from inside my head.

And as a coach, this is a dangerous place to be for your coachees and a plum reason why as coaches, we mustn’t ever tell our coachees what to do. If we do we’ll double their talk.

The best self-talk has to come from the coachee’s head in their own voice. So, when coaching just make sure you ask questions that encourage them to figure things out, to work out the answers. Don’t put “tells” into their head; just ask questions to help them create the inner dialogue. That way they’ll only have one voice, not yours ringing in their heads.

And that’s what I have, my wife’s voice ringing in my head as I leave, which is wonderful really because I know she cares. Well I think she cares, she does rather like it when I’m away, the house seems to run much smoother when I’m not there, maybe she just likes giving me advice when I go away to encourage me to be away a whole lot more. Hmmm I wonder…