Episode 21: What Kind of Coach Are You?

If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, and especially if you listened to our Getting Started Series, you know that we have spent a lot of time talking about your coaching niche and how you can really connect with your ideal client. Today, however, we’re going to approach things from a slightly different perspective.Rather than look at the questions of what you do, I want to look at through the lens of who you are. So, in this episode, we’re taking some time to examine the five primary coaching styles and how they relate to the type of coach you want to be.

21: What Kind of Coach Are You?

If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, and especially if you listened to our Getting Started Series, you know that we have spent a lot of time talking about your coaching niche and how you can really connect with your ideal client.

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Show Notes

If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, and especially if you listened to our Getting Started Series, you know that we have spent a lot of time talking about your coaching niche and how you can really connect with your ideal client.

Today, however, we’re going to approach things from a slightly different perspective.

Rather than look at the questions of what you do, I want to look at through the lens of who you are.

So, in this episode, we’re taking some time to examine the five primary coaching styles and how they relate to the type of coach you want to be.

Topics covered

  • How you can find out your coaching style within just a few minutes
  • An explanation of the five coaching styles I’ve observed in my practice over the years
  • The strengths of each of the five coaching styles
  • The weaknesses of each of the five coaching styles
  • How each of the five coaching styles can build their power and presence as a coach

Resources mentioned

Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!

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Discover your Coaching Superpower! Go to https://coachingquiz.com to learn more about your strengths – and what to look out for – as a coach.

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Well, hi friend. I am so happy you're here joining me for another episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough and I have a really fun episode in store for you. 

Now if you've been listening to the podcast for a while, and especially if you listened to our Getting Started series, you know that we have spent a lot of time talking about what kind of coach you want to be the type of coaching you want to provide, and who you want to serve as a coach. So we've spent a lot of time exploring your coaching niche and how you can really connect with your ideal client. 

Now if you haven't checked out the Getting Started series yet, I highly recommend doing so it runs about episodes three through 13 in the podcast, so you can just head to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/podcast, click on the Getting Started topic on the right side of the page, and it'll pull up all of the episodes that you're going to want to check out. 

But today, we're going to approach coaching from a slightly different perspective, and rather than looking at these questions of what you do, I want to look at it through the lens of who you are. I suspect part of the reason you are interested in coaching is because it feels like a natural extension of how you see the world and how you want to work with others.

So today, we are going to take some time to examine what I see as the five primary coaching styles, and if you've taken my coaching quiz, then you may already be familiar with this framework. In fact, you may even know which coaching style resonates most with you.

Now, if you haven't taken my quiz yet, I highly recommend doing so. You can go to https://coachingquiz.com. It's a simple seven question quiz and it'll take you just a couple minutes, but at the end, you will find out your primary coaching style. You can also choose to share your email address with me, and when you do, I will send you a PDF guide that details your coaching style and you will get access to kind of a mini course that walks you through all five coaching styles. So it's a pretty cool free quiz. Definitely head over to https://coachingquiz.com to check it out and learn your style. 

And in today's episode, I'm going to do a deep dive into each one of the five styles. So I suspect just from listening today, you're probably going to connect with one or maybe two styles more than the others. But the quiz will help you determine exactly your preference, how it shows up to serve you in your coaching, and maybe some things that you need to watch out for as well. 

And that's exactly why I developed this quiz. It's really important to me that as a coach, you understand what makes you unique when you are providing coaching services to yourself. clients. When you are able to ground your coaching approach in your strengths, in your tendencies, in your preferences, and your energy, then it really personalizes your coaching program. 

And it's also important that we recognize the areas where maybe we have a few weaknesses or could potentially fall into a few pitfalls if we're not careful. And so when we know our coaching style, we can then harness our strengths and also compensate for our limitations to ensure that we are providing strong quality coaching to our clients. 

Also, when you know your coaching style, that can also help you determine whether a client is the right fit for you. Now, I know when we're first starting out our coaching businesses sometimes it feels like any client is the right client for us. But truly, there are clients for whom we are a better fit than others. So when we know our coaching style, we can match that with our clients preferences and their needs to determine if we're going to be the right fit, or whether they may be someone who would be better served by another coach and we can refer them out. 

So knowing your coaching style can really be a powerful tool in helping you create the type of coaching business that you want. And that's why in today's episode, I'm going to introduce you to the five main coaching styles that I've observed in my practice. I'll do a quick review of each one’s strengths and pitfalls, and then I'll share some general recommendations for each one in terms of what you can do to build your power and presence as a coach and to shore up your coaching business. 

Now, I do think it's important to note that while most of us lead with a primary coaching style, the fact is we are not just one style, we are likely a blend of all five of the styles that I'm about to share with you It's fair to say that most of us do have a primary style that we lead with. But it's also helpful to think about what might be your secondary or even your tertiary style, and how they support and work with your primary style so that you can effectively serve your clients. 

So bear in mind that outline talking about the five styles. It's not meant to pigeonhole you or box you in but it is designed to help you identify some of the natural strengths you bring into your coaching work, as well as some of the limitations you're going to want to keep an eye out for. And then consider how your secondary style may enhance some of your strengths or even compensate for some of the limitations from your primary style. 

Alright, so if you're ready, let's talk about the very first coaching style, which is the Mentor Coach. So coaches with a mentor style are truly knowledgeable, generous, and they make excellent teachers. So I find that mentors tend to be exceptionally generous when it comes to sharing their knowledge and wisdom with others, and when it comes to supporting their clients, they tend to want to help their clients through a more direct or even a consultative approach where they are providing practical guidance and examples of the best way to do something. 

Mentors actually make excellent consultants because they are able to come in and see where maybe there are some strengths that need to be highlighted or some deficits that need to be shored up, and then they can provide really tactical guidance about what the next best step to take might be. 

And the reason they know how to do that is because they've been there, they've done it, and they are eager to have others benefit from their own personal experience. So if they've experienced a misstep or a mistake, they're going to be willing to share that so that their clients don't go through that same hardship. So it's really coming from a spirit of generosity and service. So they have a great deal of experience – they've been there, they've done that, and they want to share their process and their ideas so that clients can then take their guidance and run with it. 

And Mentor Coaches derive some serious satisfaction when they witness their clients succeed using their guidance that really makes them feel good. So Mentor Coaches are smart, they're experienced, they're eager to share their hard earned knowledge in service to their client and to support their client through their journey. 

Now, every coaching style has a liability or an area for improvement, and with Mentor Coaches one thing they need to be on the lookout for is that, in their desire to help their clients, they may be too quick to provide ideas or to give direction. And so when that happens, mentors actually prevent the client from taking ownership of the issue. 

So instead of creating space for the client to explore their own solutions, a coach with a mentor style may come in and be prematurely directive. And, in doing so, cut off the client's ability to tap into their own creativity and their own wisdom. In fact, sometimes coaches with a mentoring style can take it a little personally if a client rejects their idea or their input. 

I also find that some coaches with a mentor style feel the need to prove themselves so that they're sharing their wisdom and their experience in an effort to prove that, “Hey, I know what I'm doing and I can help you.” So I think it's also really important that coaches with the mentor style be on the lookout for that proving energy. 

So if I could give one recommendation for coaches with more of a mentor style, it would be to slow the process down, and to look for opportunities where the client might be able to discover their own answers. So it's not that you can't share your wisdom and your knowledge, but be mindful of when, in the coaching process, it's appropriate to do so. Give the client some opportunities to brainstorm their own solutions first, before you come in with your expertise. 

So to do that, I suggest that coaches with a mentoring style start by asking a question rather than sharing an idea, so really seeking to center the client first. Ask your client what solutions they've already tried, and to maybe even remember a time when they have experienced something similar, and to ask them what worked then what have you already done in the past that's been successful that might be relevant to what you're experiencing now. 

And then of course, as a coach, you want to make sure that you're always checking in with your clients emotional state. So confirm what you're hearing from them, affirm where they're coming from ,and remember, your job as a coach is not to have all of the answers, it's to support your client in their growth. 

So that is a brief summary of the mentor coach style. So all of my mentor coaches out there, I hope you found that enlightening and helpful. I now want to move into the second coaching style that I observe and that is the Strategist Coach. 

So coaches with a strategist style tend to be super focused, very action oriented, and they know how to get results for their clients. In fact, as a Strategist Coach, they are committed to forwarding the action in the coaching world. Because they want their clients to get results and get results fast, I find that strategist types tend to be analytical, practical, logical, and they are able to see the next steps that need to happen. 

So they are excellent planners. They know how to put together an action plan. They know how to get it done, and they do so by listening carefully to what their client wants. And they have this uncanny ability to combine the client's desire with their own strategic vision to build out a path to help the client achieve their vision. So Strategist Coaches are really goal oriented, they're conscientious, and they know how to blend strategic thinking with tactical action. 

For strategists, it's incredibly gratifying to see clients make progress, to take the action plan that they've created together, to put it into practice and get results. That is, so satisfying for my coaches with that strategist style. And part of why strategists love coaching so much is because they really do enjoy partnering with clients to create that action plan. There's that teamwork piece that they really value. 

And strategist coaches are also wonderful accountability partners. Once that plan has been created, as a Strategist Coach, you are a perfect pair for your client to help make sure they stay on track. So a client who's working with a coach that has a strategist style as their primary are pretty much guaranteed to make progress. And that is such a valuable aspect to have in a coaching relationship. 

Even with all these extraordinary strengths, just as with every coaching style, there's some limitations with the strategist approach as well. And one issue that many strategists experience is that again, in their desire to help their clients, they may focus so much on action that they gloss over their clients emotions. 

Strategist Coaches tend to lead with logic and they focus on results, and so that may lead them to kind of skip over the emotional landscape of their client. And this is not something that we want to blow past because our clients may be very clear on what they want. But there's typically a reason that they have not been able to achieve that on their own, and it's often because they are experiencing some level of self doubt, or anxiety or even fear that's been holding them back. 

And so as coaches, it's our job to help the client bring those feelings to light and work through them. Because once those feelings have been released, they are going to be far more likely to not just create an action plan, but see it through and create the change they want. In order to create sustainable change clients have to address those underlying emotions. And so as coaches, we need to make sure that we are giving them ample opportunity to do so. 

So one thing I've noticed with coaches who have more of a strategist style is that it's really easy to fall into the belief that they are only as good as the results they create for their clients. So there's a bit of a worthiness trap here, this idea that if my client isn't making progress or isn't achieving their goals, then I'm not a good coach. And so I just want to point out that, as coaches, our responsibility is to create the space and the potential for the clients to take action and achieve the results that they want. But our worthiness as a coach and as a human being is not defined by someone else's actions. 

So I'm going to suggest for my strategist coaches to slow the process down a bit. Spend some time affirming the client's feelings and their circumstances before going into action mode. And also notice what comes up in yourself, any feelings of unworthiness if we're not constantly moving forward or making progress in terms of recommended next steps. 

When you're working with your clients, I certainly recommend making sure that you are checking in with their emotional state or their internal experience, and certainly confirming and affirming throughout the coaching relationship. I would also encourage you to spend some time really clarifying your client's motivation. Why is it important for them to take this action in their life? What are their underlying values? And how do those values inform the goals that they're setting? And then be sure between sessions that you as the coach are taking some time to notice your own emotions and any sort of mindset issues that are creeping up for you as well. A little bit of self coaching can go a long way for a strategist coach. 

So remember, Strategist Coaches out there, you are not defined by your clients success or their failure. There is far more to you than that. So we've just covered the first two of five coaching styles. So we've done a deep dive into the Mentor Coach and the Strategist Coach. And the next coaching style I'm going to talk about is the result that the majority of my quiz takers get. 

So I would say over 45% of people who have taken my quiz at https://coachingquiz.com come up as Healer Coaches. So that's the third style I want to talk about today, which is the Healer Coach. 

Now Healer Coaches are incredibly compassionate people. They're highly empathetic, and they know how to create an environment in which their client feels fully supported. Healer Coaches are experts at building relationships with their clients and clients who are working with the Healer Coach report that they feel completely heard and understood by their coach. So these coaches are experts at confirming and affirming and they do so in a way that's supportive and nurturing and really highlights the client's innate strengths. 

Healer Coaches can find strengths and clients that oftentimes clients don't even know they have, and they're quick to celebrate those strengths and their everyday victories as well. healer Coaches tend to possess a sense of warmth, people open up to them easily and naturally, sometimes even a little bit too much where people may overshare, and a lot of times I'll hear from Healer Coaches, that they're just standing in line at the grocery store and before they know it, the person behind them has shared their entire life story with them. That's a pretty common experience for a Healer Coach to have, and I think it's because there's something about the energy of a healer coach that communicates safety to other people. 

Healer Coaches have that rare ability to be fully present with their clients, no matter what emotions they're experiencing. Healer coaches bring a non-judgmental presence to the coaching relationship, and they can meet their clients with complete and total acceptance. And so that communicates a level of safety. So clients of healer coaches have this deep trust and they know that their coach is a safe person with whom they can share everything, their fears, their doubts, their dreams and their joys. 

Now, one thing that healer coaches really need to be on the lookout for is that, in an effort to support their clients, they may spend too much time on emotions and not enough time on action. So they have kind of the opposite issue from our Strategist Coaches – whereas our Strategist Coaches tend to focus more on action and less on emotions, Healer Coaches have the opposite concern. They are very comfortable in the land of emotions, but they may not spend enough time actually creating the action plan and helping their clients move forward. 

The fact is clients come to coaching because they want to create positive change in their lives, and addressing the emotional component is critically important. We've talked about that. But that's the first step. The next step is to help our clients develop a strategy to get them from where they are now to where they want to be. 

And Healer Coaches want that for their clients. They want their clients to succeed, and they want to be of service. And that is an important message for Healer Coaches to understand and understand the potential limitations of that message as well. Whereas Strategist Coaches may define their worthiness based on their clients results, Healer Coaches tend to define their worth based on the level to which they can be a service to someone else. And so if they're not helping and they're not supporting, then they don't feel like they're doing a good job or that they're worthy. So that is the worthiness trap for Healer Coaches to be on the lookout for, this idea that I'm nothing if I'm not needed, or if I'm not of service to someone. 

I also find that because Healer Coaches are so empathetic, it's very easy for them to over empathize and sometimes blur the boundaries between what belongs to them and what belongs to the client. So Healer Coaches may metaphorically take their clients home with them, in that they can't stop thinking about what their client is experiencing or feeling, and so those boundaries can get a little blurry, which is not good for the coach or the client. 

So the recommendations I would share for a Healer Coach is to incorporate a clear structure to your coaching session, one that, yes, involves the emotional work and confirming and affirming your client, but also creates a plan of action for them to take in the session and beyond, because clients appreciate being supported and guided through a strategic process that gets them closer to their goals. 

So you can do that by setting a goal from the start of the session, beginning your session by asking your client what they want to accomplish by the end of the session, and then clarify your client's motivation. Why is that goal so important to them? You can then conclude each session with a quick review and have your client discuss the progress they've made towards the goal that they created at the beginning of the session, and come up with some next steps that they can do after the session concludes. 

It's also really important for Healer Coaches to remember to do their own work. Creating boundaries and having a self care plan is especially important for the Healer Coach. Remember, if you're a Healer Coach, your job is not simply to make your client feel better. It's to foster opportunities for growth. 

So I know we have a lot of Healer Coaches out there who listen to the podcast, and I hope that you have found this brief summary helpful. Now it's time to dive into the fourth type of coach, which is the Innovator Coach. 

Innovator Coaches are a fascinating bunch. They are creative, they are engaging, and they are always able to discover new opportunities. They see possibility where many of us don't. Innovators truly are visionaries. No matter what happens, whether it's what we expect, what we don't expect, what we don't want, Innovators are able to see opportunities in everything and maybe even especially the challenges. They are creative, they are savvy, they are smart, and they are adventurous. 

And they have this really extraordinary ability to expand their clients horizons, all while making the client feel supported as they generate new ideas and put them into action. So Innovator Coaches are able to very quickly identify potential change points, so those moments in time where the client could potentially try a different approach or create something new. They are adept at seeing those windows of opportunity and partnering with their clients to explore whether that's an opportunity worth taking. 

So Innovator Coaches bring a fresh new perspective to things and they offer new and often vibrant ways of viewing life. So clients who work with Innovator Coaches know that they are getting a wise out of the box thinker with their coach, and that they are going to accomplish great things as a result of that partnership. 

In fact, clients with an Innovator Coach are probably going to be pushed outside their comfort zone in the service of their own growth, and they are going to achieve things that perhaps they didn't even know were possible because that Innovator Coach has and holds that higher vision for their clients. 

There is the potential shadow side of that, however. If you're an Innovator Coach, you may find that in your desire to help your client, you shift very quickly into opportunity mode when the client experiences an unwanted event or feels disappointed or frustrated, rather than staying with that emotion. And because you want to help your client break through it, you may offer too many possible options at once, which can kind of leave your client feeling overwhelmed. 

It's because the thing about Innovator Coaches is that their greatest strength can also sometimes get in their way. Because they are able to see possibilities often where others don't, they're often a few steps ahead, which means their client may feel like they're running behind. So the client may still be processing their thoughts or their emotions, or they may need more time to consider what comes next, whereas the Innovator Coach is already often running. 

Innovator Coaches may feel this in their own life as well. They can get so caught up in ideas and possibilities for what they can create, they may actually get a little stuck. They may not take action because they are presented with so many opportunities. They don't know which one to choose. 

I call this land the Border Zone between the Land of Opportunity and the Land of Overwhelm, where there are so many paths you can take and they all seem so bright and shiny and exciting, that all of a sudden you're left wondering, wait, what do I do next, and that can really put you into a paralysis state where you feel overwhelmed. So that Border Zone between the Land of Opportunity and the Land of Overwhelm is an area that many Innovator Coaches know well, and sometimes that can even show up in session with their clients. 

So my recommendations for Innovator Coaches is, first and foremost, to start by affirming the client's emotions and following their energy. Because as we know, clients who feel heard and empowered are far more invested in the process and they experience greater success. So sometimes we need to press pause on exploring all of the opportunities and really stay in the moment with the client and acknowledge their emotional experience before we move into next steps. 

Innovator Coaches also want to make sure that they are giving the client ample time to find their own opportunities as well, rather than sharing their ideas first. The other thing Innovator Coaches should be on the lookout for is any sort of fear that shows up around committing to one opportunity. At some point, we do need to make a decision, we do need to head on a path, and there will always be new detours that we can take. 

But Innovator Coaches would do well to remember their big vision and the milestones that they want to achieve on the way so that they don't get distracted and they can maintain their focus. So if you are an Innovator Coach, remember, your job is not to create the perfect outcome for your client. It's to foster opportunities for their growth. 

Okay, we are almost there. We have worked our way through the first four of the five styles. And the last style that I want to talk about is actually the second most common one that comes up on the coaching quiz at https://coachingquiz.com, and that is the Intuitive Coach. So if you are an Intuitive Coach, you are wise, you are empathic and you have the uncanny ability to see connections between everything and everyone. 

So I find that Intuitive Coaches tend to be calm, insightful, and they lead with their inner wisdom. They have this ability to connect very quickly with their clients and really get them on a deeper level. Coaches with this intuitive style are also able to recognize the message beneath the message, meaning they hear what their client is saying, but they also feel what's going on on a deeper level. And they do that because they're very connected to their intuition, which makes sense as an Intuitive Coach, and they allow that to inform the work they do. 

I think part of the reason that Intuitive Coaches kind of project this calm nature is because they are anchored in this deep belief that everything is connected, and that every experience, whether it's desired or not, can lead to growth. And so as a result, coaches with this intuitive style see purpose and meaning in everything. And so with that comes this calm, assured perspective that things are evolving as they should. 

And so that means their clients feel very safe with them. They know that their client really understands them. And they view their coach as a partner who can help them bring their vision to life. 

Now, I know all of this sounds great, but there are still some pitfalls that Intuitive Coaches need to watch out for as well, and one of those is that, again, always in their desire to help, they may prioritize their own intuition and inner experience over concrete data, or external circumstances. So even if reality is telling us one thing, if they're hearing something else from their inner wisdom, they may discount what's going on “in the real world” in favor of what they're sensing. 

The other thing I noticed is that oftentimes, coaches with an intuitive style may make what I call “intuitive leaps.” So they kind of jump further along in the process before their client has necessarily had a chance to reach their own understanding. 

So coaches with this intuitive style pick up on cues and information that others don't immediately see, it's almost like it's their sixth sense. And this can be really confusing for clients who maybe are more oriented towards the practicalities of the real world. And sometimes Intuitive Coaches have an assumption that they may not even realize, but it’s that others perceive the world the way that they do. So that can be a little tricky. 

And in fact, when they realize that someone else may view the world entirely differently, it can even lead them to doubt their own perceptions. So their worthiness trap is a pretty common one. It's where imposter syndrome breeds and it's, “Do I have what it takes to do this? Am I right? Am I on the right track?” And it's where self-doubt can kind of creep in. So that's something that's really helpful for Intuitive Coaches to be on the lookout for. 

So the recommendations that I would make for coaches with this intuitive style is to develop a system to balance or confirm their intuitive hits with this external data or outside information. So we really want to look at the marriage of intuition and the inner life with data and the outer life. 

Intuitive Coaches also want to be mindful of their client's energy and level of awareness at all time, so that they're not moving too fast. To do that, it would benefit intuitive coaches to create a structure for their coaching session that balances reflection with action. So yes, we're paying attention to the energy and the emotional life, and we're following up by asking the client, where do you want to go and what do you want to do? 

It's also important that coaches with an intuitive style remember to always ask people permission before sharing an intuitive hit with a client. So you want to make sure your client is onboard and receptive to the information. And then after you have shared that intuitive hit, be sure you follow up by asking how it resonates with them, and that they feel like they have permission to either accept what you've provided, or to counter with a different perspective. 

And then, just as with every other coaching style, Intuitive Coaches need to be doing their own work as well. And I find for this style, grounding exercises, and getting really centered and anchored in the world around them can be particularly helpful. And it allows them to create structures and containers for their own action steps as well. So if you are a coach with an intuitive style, remember that your intuition is an extraordinarily powerful tool. And it's even more powerful when paired with options. servation and data. 

All right, we have just made it through all five coaching styles. And now it's time for this week's Clarity in Action moment. So this week's Clarity in Action moment is not going to surprise you. If you have not yet taken the coaching quiz that is your task for this week. Just head to https://coachingquiz.com and it'll take you two to three minutes to answer seven questions. At the end you will discover which one of the five coaching types is your primary type. 

And then I hope you will let me know which one resonates most with you. You can do so by finding me on Instagram @coachwithclarity or come let me know your coaching type over in the Coach with Clarity podcast Facebook group, you can head to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/facebookgroup to join. 

But of course knowing your coaching style is just the first step. The next step is to explore the ways in which this style is serving you as a coach and in your life. And if you notice any limitations to the style, and how it may be impeding your progress as a coach. So these are some great things to journal about and explore. Because again, this is meant as the first step, and it's not meant to define you or limit you. But instead, it's an invitation for you to grow and deepen your own self understanding, and the ways you work with your clients. 

All right, my friends. That's it for this week's episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. I will be back in your feed next week with a brand new episode but until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough and I am encouraging you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.

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