The Coach Approach: 5 Coaching Tools To Assist You In Your Own Life

The Coach Approach: 5 Coaching Tools To Assist You In Your Own Life

Language is always evolving - words and phrases changing meaning, nouns becoming verbs. "The Coach Approach" has potential for this, in my biased opinion. Just this week I learned to be careful when using the phrase "Netflix and chill". (So grateful to have young adult children who educate us all the time!)


"Coach approach" that and try again. 

There are attitudes, tools and principles that go with coaching that are just great for life in general. Truly, coaching can't claim them as their own but the way they get put together is what creates a coach approach. Whether you've had extensive training in coaching or none whatsoever, many of the principles are just great for the real world of relationships.

1. Be a cheerleader

One thing I've learned in my eleven years of coaching executives is that everyone needs cheering on, encouragement, acknowledgement and prodding to pause and reflect on their "wins".  One of my all-time favorite commercials is a fantastic example of cheering and is actually called "Cheering Works". It's super short and worth the 45 seconds it will take you (just click the link). Cheering Works

2. Assumptions turn to questions

A coach approach encourages us to remember that we are not all-knowing and that it is better to dig deeper and ask questions when we are tempted to draw conclusions. A perfect, real-world time to use this is in the middle of an argument. Really. So often our most painful fights with our life partners are over misunderstandings and assumptions. Asking a few more open-ended and open-minded questions can prevent some very painful interactions!

3. Reflect back what you see

Coaches hold up mirrors. This can be about commenting on strengths or accomplishments. It can be about pointing out the resources a person has to reach their goals. It might be about mentioning the contradiction in someone's spoken word and body language messaging. Sometimes it is as simple as acknowledging how it seems that the other person is feeling in the form of a question. "It seems like you are feeling anxious about this, are you?"

4. Stop advising (so much)

Ok, this is a hard one! Giving advice feels so helpful when we are doing it. Sometimes the advice can very helpful. Other things happen though:  

  • we set ourselves up as the expert instead of encouraging that in the other person;
  • we assume that our idea is better than the one the other person could come up with;
  • we stop the flow of creative idea generation.

5. Ask about next steps

When someone is wanting to move forward in a situation the best way out of 'stuck' is just the next little step. There are times when we get overwhelmed by the big picture and the breakthrough can come by just choosing the next small way forward.

So, my request (which, in coaching, you can "accept, reject or negotiate") is that today, you find a situation or relationship that you can "coach approach". Have fun - play with it - see what magic you can create!

Until next time,


Marilyn Orr, MA, CEC, PCC is an Executive and Leadership Coach with Capacity Building Coaching, holding her Professional Certified Coach designation with the International Coach Federation.

Marilyn provides professional coaching for executive and business leaders, mentor coaching for coaches, and leadership development support in the form of coaching skills training and soft-skills development.

Marilyn is author of everyday resiliency workbook “How Absorbent Are Your Shocks?”, available on Amazon. Subscribe to “Marilyn’s Musings” twice monthly blogposts for more leadership and professional development content.

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