5 Phrases To Avoid As a Coach

Today, I’m sharing the first post in a series I’m working on to share with you - pulling from some well-learned training over the last over-8 years of coaching. Focusing in on the actual “coaching conversations” and how to create a more effective coaching relationship with those we serve.

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Who here would like to build a better rapport and a transformational relationship with your clients?

I’m raising my hand over here with you!

Let’s get into it...

Today’s post is on the 5 phrases to avoid in coaching conversations...

…it matters greatly how we speak to those we serve.

It changes how your client receives from you, whether or not they put up a protective wall, and thus, affects the outcome of the conversation! Since transformation and real change is the ultimate goal of coaching, this is a major area to pay attention to in your coaching conversations.


Try not to say:
“I think you should…”

The purpose of the conversation shouldn’t be about what WE think, only what THEY think! As coaches, what sets us apart from other professionals in the “advising space” is that we are level-partners with our clients, linking arms and walking side by side (so to speak) with the client. We are not counselors, therapists, doctors or in any way, advising from “above” the client - just peers who are equal to them, holding a different view, yes - but individuals who believe in aiding the client no matter what method of change they choose as their approach. (This goes for their diet choices, habit change ideas, exercise commitments, relationship choices - basically all areas of lifestyle change.)

Instead, say…

What do you think about this method? Does it sound like a realistic option for you?”


Instead of saying…
“That’s the easy way out...”  OR “Why would you do it that way?”

Saying this to a client will most likely put them on the defense (hey - if I am honest, it certainly would if it was said to me!) because they may not consider that their idea of a method or way or solution IS the “easy way out” and this phrase could be received as offensive. They are facing a difficult change, which is why they hired you - to believe in them, to walk beside them, to validate them. NO MATTER what “way” they choose to use or follow to make that change.

Try to say:
Have you considered that there might be a better way to go about it?” OR “What other ways would you consider to make that change?” OR ”Could I share a method with you that I have found has worked for many of my clients?”


Try not to say:
“NEVER do that... or NEVER eat that...or NEVER (you fill in the blanks)”

NEVER SAY NEVER. I know it’s an idiom - but I want to emphasize in the strongest way that to tell a client to “NEVER” do or eat or not eat something etc...it’s disempowering to them. It’s allowing our own ego or pride to get in the way of our highest calling as a coach - to empower the client to make their OWN intuitive choices of what they believe is right for their lifestyle and needs. Our job as a coach isn’t telling, it’s empowerment. And then support of the client as they journey through the reality of the changes they have chosen. You’ll find when you put empowerment first as you serve them, they will feel safe with you and begin to naturally ask you for your advice or approach.

Instead, you can say:
“What outcome have you felt/experienced from that choice?” OR “Do you feel that choice would benefit your life...help you in your healing...bring the results you desire?”


What NOT to say:

“If I were you…”
We are NOT them - we cannot possibly know what it feels like inside their mind or body, or what their obstacles are, or what filter of past experiences/emotions they are operating from.

Instead, we must learn to ask “interviewing questions” (more about this topic in a future post!) and then LISTEN to them. Listen to: learn more about them, understand where they are coming from and what experiences have shaped them and their outlook.

So say instead:
“Have you considered this other method or approach?”


Instead of saying…

This is similar to the other examples given above - approach it in a similar way - putting the client’s empowerment to make their own decisions above your personal opinion or approach to the issue.

Say instead:

“What do you think of trying this method…”  (Similar to other responses, always guiding the client to their own empowered decision.)

Do you see how these alternate responses can bring a different (hopefully better) result from your client and the conversations you’ll have with them?

I hope you find this article helpful in strengthening your client relations, which is not only a win for them, but an awesome thing for you, too! Testimonials of the transformations and overcoming in life that you’re helping your client(s) to find through the improved communication will only help you expand your influence, increase your income and be truly fulfilled in doing this oh-so-vital work you are called to!

I can’t wait to hear from you! Here in the comments, over in our free support group or through the contact form here - please take a minute and tell me if this topic is helpful to you!

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