Detach From Outcome and Become “The Results Coach”

Doris Helge

Why Masterful Coaches Detach

We coach because we care. What could be wrong with that? Sometimes it’s
difficult to detach from our expectations and desires.

  • Example

    Sometimes a client isn't ready
    to follow through or change a behavior, even though they know their current
    actions aren’t producing the results they want. Because it would be
    easy to judge this client, it's helpful to think outside of the box. The
    person who won't yet leave behind a dysfunctional pattern isn't necessarily
    a dysfunctional person
    . Usually, this client hasn't fully gained
    all the wisdom available from a painful pattern of repeating the same mistake
    over and over. When you’re supportive without being judgmental or intrusive,
    you may notice the perfection of their internal guidance and their life path.
    I say this because many clients devour every last drop of learning available
    to them while they simultaneously grow tired of creating negative results.
    During a precise, internally guided, pivotal moment, they replace their self-imposed,
    restrictive rulebook. They create a bold, new life manual in each moment as
    they joyfully fly forward on their path to freedom. We couldn’t have
    created this manual for them. In fact, if our encouragement had involved pushing
    or advice, we would have delayed their progress.
  • Example

    Sometimes it’s so clear
    to us that a client could be moving three steps ahead but they're content
    to take a tiny baby step. They're thrilled but we lament, “I just
    know they could be happier if they'd take a giant leap.”
    the truth? As you know, when other people have a predetermined path they want
    us to take, a path that isn't our idea, most of us want to race the other
    way, even when we know the other person is right. In coaching, there's a bigger
    issue. Our desire for a client to be in a place other than where they are
    sends a very unhelpful energetic signal: the client reads our message, consciously
    or unconsciously, thinking, "my coach is judging me as off-track. I'm
    not good enough just as I am right now."

The Outcome Attachment Dance
Our judgments, assumptions, and expectations are colored by our own life experiences.
We all perceive the world with filtered lenses. That's simply how our brains
work. It's a very efficient system. It saves time and energy, but it also causes
problems. Because our expectations about life, ourselves, and other people often
pave the road to pain, we need to use awareness and our personal power to avoid
Performance anxiety creeps in when we unconsciously think a coaching session
is about us, about what we know and how much we can offer. It isn't,
but negative self-talk and self-criticism distort reality.

The Bigger Picture
Our clients serve as human mirrors so we can perceive our own stuck spots, while
we notice benchmarks and areas of progress. If I judge my clients for not moving
faster through their growth challenges, it’s a sign. It’s time for
me to look in the mirror so I can perceive the areas where I'm not progressing
as quickly as I could. I'm unaware of those areas or I'd probably make a conscious
decision to live in a different way.

Notice the difference between judging my clients as off-track, as opposed to
simply observing their stuck spots with compassion. Empathy is clean, but a
negative judgment is a self-inflicted trap that hurts everyone concerned.

When I'm compassionate, I've acknowledged that the client is "another
part of me" because we are all one. All of us are participating in the
great game called “life.” We play whatever roles are required to
help each other learn and grow.

Your Detachment Toolkit

Blending IAC Mastery #8, "Inviting possibility" with IAC Mastery
#9, "Helping the client create and use support systems and structures,"
helps us let go of our expectations. The dance of detachment is choreographed
by light, curious questions like, “I wonder where this session will go
next?” and “I wonder my client needs right now?”

Another truly helpful tool is to recognize when your inner critic enters the
coaching scenario. This negative inner voice will deflate your coaching confidence
and squelch your ability to be in the moment with your client. When we’re
unconscious of what triggers our inner critic, this perfectionistic, demanding
force rules with an iron fist. When we discover how to effectively use the gremlin
as a personal and professional growth tool, we stop struggling to achieve any
certain outcome during a coaching session.

Voila! Self-sabotage slithers out of sight as the magic of coaching emerges.
You trust the perfection of each co-created moment with your client. We gain
so much joy and we deliver profound value when we haven't a clue where a coaching
session will begin or end. Learn simple tools for managing your inner critic
so you can let go of unnecessary coaching stress and self-judgment.

Doris HelgeDoris
Helge, Ph.D., MMC is founder of the IAC-licensed training school, Confident
Coach Connection. She created the New Coach Virtual Chapter of IAC. Download
a free video and chapter from Dr. Doris' #1 Bestselling book, “Conquer
Your Inner Critic” at

1 thought on “Detach From Outcome and Become “The Results Coach””

  1. My question is how we challenge a client, and at the same time respect their natural,internal pace? It has to be a balancing act, and we might over or under ‘expect.’

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