Guest Article from Mark Brandenberg, who specializes in coaching men.
Some men have trouble asking for help, and calling a coach is asking for help. Coaching men is useful because it is private. However, men don’t call coaches until they have a crisis. Men often call a coach when they are on the verge of a divorce. They are no good at picking up a wife’s signals that she’s tired of the marriage. They are often in shock about what is happening.
As a parenting expert coaching men, some clients will come with a crisis. A situation is imploding. How does a divorcing Dad converse with his son? A mother phones to say that her son wants to quit high school and join the Marines, and she does not like that idea.
Sometimes the crisis is low-key but still essential to the client. For example, a child needs to be potty-trained within a few weeks, or he will not be accepted into nursery school. Both clients want help! Both scenarios will impact your process of coaching men and the relationship with your client.
If the client is not in crisis, you will be able to establish your coaching sessions in a smoother way. If the client is in crisis, the focus of your first sessions will be helping the client through the rough spot and then establishing a vital goals in the coaching relationship.
Let the client talk it out.
Encourage your client to share deeper feelings. You have to listen. You listen actively and soulfully. Take notes. Hear your client’s concerns. Be aware of what the client says and what he or she is leaving out.
Listen to words, feel out the emotional content, and focus.
Stay in a listener’s role. You may be tempted to jump in with suggestions and practical information, but it is better to hold back and listen.
When coaching men, you may observe vulnerability and be tempted to take over the problem. At this point, remind yourself that you are coming from the coaching perspective, not a therapeutic one.
You are a coach, and as such, you believe that:
1. This client is a whole, healthy, and resourceful person.
2. This client has the inner resources to handle this problem.
Allow the person to talk through whatever is troubling him or her.
Ask questions so that you truly understand what is going on. The first session may be entirely about letting the client tell his story and vent emotions. You may do very little talking.
If a problem is fundamental and life-changing, you may have to refer your client for psychotherapy. When necessary, schedule more than one session per week in the first weeks of coaching. The thrust of your work will be to calm the person and determine how you, as a coach, can work with the person’s strengths to get her past the crisis mode. After a few sessions, the client will feel more in control.