Coaching: Support or Rescue?

One of my trainee coaches asked me this question:

"What I don’t get is, how can you rescue someone in a coaching situation? Because you can’t actually do stuff for someone - why it would even be an issue?"

And it’s precisely what you have described – If a coach was coaching properly, it wouldn’t be an issue at all.

From my point of view, “Pure” coaching is
helping people find their own
strength and solutions.
When you start rescuing someone, you are generally
saying that they need your help in the form of
your opinion, your knowledge or your time.

Now, rescuing people usually is the easy way out.

It takes time, energy and a huge faith
in the person you are coaching
to help them find their own strength and solutions.
Rescuing someone is also really glamorous -
You can hand someone a silver bullet
and they instantly sing your praises with great gratitude!

When you coach someone properly it’s different.
If you coach the same person to find their own strength and solutions, they feel great about themselves
because they found it all out for themselves
...and generally,
.....they forget the hard work of the coach
to get them to find their own insights.

If you rescue someone, you are
handing them a fish.

If you coach someone, you are
teaching them how to fish.

If you rescue someone, you are very visible,
being carried around on a cheering crowd’s shoulders.

If you coach someone properly,
you are generally invisible to your client.

What I’m saying is that rescuing people is a huge temptation for a coach.

…..that’s why a coach has to take responsibility
for maintaining the distinction
between Rescue and Support.

If you are rescuing, you are not coaching.

If you are coaching, you are not rescuing.

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