Is Coaching Based On NEED Or WANT?


by Kevin Watson



When considering a coach, do you ask yourself if you NEED coaching?

Or, do you approach it from WANTING to be coached?

At first glance, these questions may seem the same, but they do elicit very different responses.

I recently asked one of my clients what she wanted to get out of the time together, to which she replied: “I want to understand if I NEED coaching“.

How interesting that this person had framed coaching as a NEED, as if it were making up for some deficiency or solving a problem that had yet to be identified!

My curiosity got the better of me, as it often does, and I asked why she had answered in that way?

Oh!” she replied, “I guess it stems from when my boss suggested I receive coaching. I assumed he thought I wasn’t at my best.”

So many assumptions in such a short sentence – can you spot them all?

I asked her “what if you WANTED to be coached?

Well…” she replied, with a puzzled look at first that soon changed to a beaming smile. “Well…then I guess I would welcome it, be open to what it could do for me and not feel as though I am entering into it for someone else’s sake.

Having coached leaders in many organisations, I know it is not unusual to have managers or HR seek remedial coaching to sort out ‘underperformers‘. And, of course, there is a place for this type of coaching.

When the relationship is created between the coach, coachee and sponsor, with clear outcomes agreed and confidentiality assured, this can be an extremely effective method of supporting a valued member of the team whose performance has simply dipped in recent times.

However, the real strength of coaching is generative in nature, recognising an individual’s potential and building on a solid level of performance to support personal and professional growth.

Entered into willingly, by someone who WANTS to be coached, the whole experience can be transformational and highly enjoyable!

So, how do you frame coaching currently?

Is it a NEED for you or is it a WANT?


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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.


1 Comment

  1. gwizlearning

    I like this blog. A very important question challenged! I find it interesting how some people see coaching as a sign of poor performance whereas other companies promote it as a perk!

    It would be great to consider how as coaches we can influence the market perception on this question.




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