As coaches, it is our job to show our clients that there is hope. When they’re feeling like they’re ‘broken,’ we show them that their pain is temporary, that there are better ways to manage difficult situations, and that they can accomplish their hopes and dreams. In this way, coaches are Hope Warriors.
Being a Hope Warrior is no easy task, as there are many pitfalls we can succumb to. If we aren’t careful, we can get sucked into our clients’s negativity. The pull to negativity is a strong one, and in a session filled with negativity, how can a coach maintain their positivity?
Coaches are not super humans. We experience sickness, death, disappointments, betrayals, hurt, pain, and anger, just like everybody else. When we, as coaches, enter a coaching session still reeling, raw, and bleeding from something that’s happened in our lives, we may not be able to maintain the Hope Warrior position our client needs.
Claiming a Hope Warrior title doesn’t mean you never experience emotions you don’t want to have. It does mean that when the unfortunate happens, you understand that how you respond to them is your choice. You know how to change the emotions you don’t want to experience so you won’t stay stuck for long.
When entering a coaching session, you want to be sure you bring your best self into that helping relationship. Check yourself for negativity:
- Are you feeling stuck yourself?
- Are you carrying unresolved sadness, anger, jealousy, or frustration?
- Are you preoccupied by things having nothing to do with your client?
If any of these things are true for you, you need to get yourself in full warrior mode by focusing 100% of your energy and attention on the person in front of you. You are the listener, helper, and Hope Warrior.
When your client is suffering, it’s your job to empathize with their pain, help them realize they will eventually feel better, and, when they are ready, help them find the lesson, gift, or opportunity in their loss. When your client is feeling like a victim in someone else’s drama, your job is to help them see they will only be a victim when they willingly give their power to someone else. When your client is having difficulty believing in themselves and their ability to accomplish their goals, it is your job to believe in them until they learn to believe in themselves.
As a coach, we have three main jobs to perform:
- We need to create a need-satisfying relationship with our clients. Clients need to know we care about them and their aspirations. Clients should know they are in charge of the session and what their coaches or others want for them is irrelevant. They need to determine their own path that, as coaches, we will support. Clients need to know they are safe with their coach: safe to share what truly is important, safe to explore the unknown, and safe to be their authentic self.
- Sometimes, coaches need to provide information to clients. Those who believe a coach should never give information are preventing themselves from truly being a Hope Warrior. There will be times when a client wants something that the coach thinks isn’t a great idea. The reason they know this is because they are in possession of information the client doesn’t have. If you, as the coach, know something your client doesn’t, you need to share that information so your client can make an informed decision. You don’t share it as though you are the expert; you share it as something you have experienced or seen, not as the absolute truth. You may say to your client, “I know you are thinking of eating only once a day to lose weight, but have you heard that scientists and nutritionists say this practice slows your metabolism, resulting in weight gain? It may work differently with you, but I wanted to be sure you knew what the experts are saying.” Hope Warriors sometimes need to share information.
- Finally, the main job of a Hope Warrior is to ask Socratic questions to lead their clients to discover their own answers. My rule of thumb is if the client knows the answer or can ferret it out, then ask the question. If your client doesn’t know the answer, then it doesn’t matter how many times you ask the question, they aren’t going to be able to come up with an answer. Revert to #2 and provide the information. However, a question is typically much more effective in helping your client self-evaluate than a lecture is.
And above all, believe in your client until they believe in themselves. Let your clients know they aren’t broken. They can start wherever they are, gather their strength, and move forward toward the life they imagine they want.
Become a Hope Warrior and take our Choice Coaching Program at the Academy of Choice. We offer 30 and 60 hour programs, as well as, in-person and distance learning options.