Mr Grumpy rants about coaching

grumpNowadays, it seems like everyone’s a coach. Personal coach, life coach, work coach, peer coach, skills coach, career coach, executive coach, team coach, NLP coach. Heard about a new one today… ‘couching’ – apparently it’s a cross between coaching and counselling!

Sometimes all I need is good old chinwag, a space to lament, a sympathetic ear. The last thing I want are “coaching” questions thrown my way. I know people are just trying to be helpful but there’s nothing worse than having someone ‘shrink’ or coach you when all you want is a bit of empathy. I’m sorry but if it is unsolicited, no matter how well-meaning or how non-directive, the use of coaching techniques in a conversation makes me feel manipulated.

I read somewhere that every intervention is a political intervention. In this sense the use/abuse of power is not limited to overt coercion but it can also be a gentle nudge. The lesson here is that if you feel the urge to coach someone, it might be good to first check if the person you’re talking to is okay with that.

The Bing Crosby song ‘Don’t fence me in” comes to mind. Just use ‘coach’ for ‘fence’:

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies
On my cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide country that I love
Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies
On my cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in, no
Pop, oh don’t you fence me in

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