How to coach someone out of their problems

Recently Shorty told me she was feeling down because of this problem she was facing in her personal life. It was one of those things where she knew she was feeling down but she couldn’t really pinpoint why. I sat down with her one afternoon and coached her into realising why she was feeling the way she was feeling.

At the end of it, she felt much better and left the room with clarity on why she was feeling what she was feeling. The key to that I felt was good coaching. Something I’ve learned from Entrepreneur Organization.

I’m not going to dwell on the problem she was facing because that’s up to her to tell. What I will talk about was what I learned about how to coach.

Here’s how.

  1. Listen. Like really really listen.

How often are you really listening when someone tells you his or her problem? Very often instead of really listening, we are listening to reply. That means we’re listening… but at the same time thinking about what to reply next.

Good coaching requires us to really understand someone and that requires unconditional and undistracted listening.

2. Pay attention not just the words someone uses but the tone and body language.

This is where focus is very much needed. It’s easy to listen to words but it takes a lot of concentration to pay attention to the words and the body language that come with it. Listen for repetitive words that the person you’re coaching might be saying, Also look out for key words like “Fear” or “Guilty” or things like that which help you paint the picture.

3. Never give you opinion or advice.

Resist the temptation to give your opinion or advice until you’re done with the coaching. Don’t ever judge. That’s not the role of the coach. The role of the coach is to ask the right questions and give the other person different perspectives on their situation. So resisting butting in and saying “I think that you’re feeling like this because…”.

No. Instead ask questions like “How do you feel about this?” then ask “Why?” and “Why?” and “Why?”.

It’s also important that when asking these questions you don’t ask questions that lead a person somewhere. The point again is not for you to lead someone to an opinion you might have. Instead it’s to give perspective and allow that someone to discover their own solutions. Let the person come up with their future options. Not you.

4. Don’t just ask about the situation or the problem that person is facing. Ask about feelings.

Feelings are an important, Many of our problems or the stress we face aren’t just because of the circumstances we’re in but because of how we feel about these circumstances. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as it is but our feelings make it such. So pay attention to feelings because they carry a lot of weight.

5. Have full attention and never be distracted.

Put down the phone and have no distractions around you. If possible maintain strong eye contact throughout the entire coaching session too. The point is to make the other person really feel like you’re really really listening.


I’ve used this coaching technique over and over again for my friends or people around me who need talking to and I’ve found it to be very effective and a very useful skill. I hope it helps you the way it helps me and the people around me.

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