Lessons from the Certifiers

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Ask the Certifiers: Clarify
Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC

Q: I’m having a debate with my triad buddies. If the coach “misses
or ignores what is most important”, as stated in Mastery #6, Clarify,
is it possible to still coach effectively? I say yes, because there is always
some truth to whatever the client brings to the session. My colleague says,
no way, you’re just going down rabbit holes if you don’t get to
the heart of the session.

I love this kind of debate! It’s not unlike some of the discussions the
certifiers might have when faced with this very issue in a scoring session.

The short answer is: you’re both right. With the risk of sounding trite
with “it depends,” it really does.

Now, first let me make it very clear that if there is not evidence of having
discovered the importance of something for the client whereby a noticeable and
transformative shift occurs, there are several factors to consider. There is
not a cut-and-dried answer to such a complex relationship as coach and client.

First, let’s use the language of the Masteries to determine some things:

Is the coach making assumptions without verifying what they heard?

Are there symptoms that are addressed without discovering what is driving the

Does the coach appear to be minimizing or avoiding a topic?

These are examples of behaviors that are not likely to be effective for gaining
clarity, and an outcome of “going down rabbit holes” is certainly
a possibility. It may well be difficult to have an overall productive session,
as we have seen in Mastery
#3 (Engaged Listening) Infographic
how the masteries work together.

Now, let’s consider a second instance. What if the coach misses something
important — not because of avoiding or solving or ignoring, but because there
is an excavation process taking place? As the coach identifies patterns of thought
or action, she gauges the reactions of the client and remains respectful to
the client’s process. There may be something the client is hinting at,
but is reluctant to fully share. Still, the effects of clarity are there. The
client feels understood, his energy is increased and there is more possibility
for further exploration.

We’ll assume that in neither of these examples the client has the proverbial
“ah-ha!” However, in the first instance, the coach’s behaviors
that show up under “Clarifying” could be indicative of similar skill
in other masteries, making it difficult to have a satisfying session. In the
second instance, there is more possibility of the client gaining clarity of
thought, or clarity of their relationship to the situation, which could result
in a fulfilling session.

please, continue to have these debates, and see if you, too, can find
evidence for both sides, citing the effects, measure, behaviors, etc.,
within the Masteries E-Book. (free
for members
, $27
for non-members

Do you have a question that you’d like to ask the certifiers?
Submit your questions here: http://certifiedcoachblog.typepad.com/blog/ask-the-certifiers.html.

Natalie Tucker Miller


Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC, is the Lead Certifier and a certifying
examiner at the IAC, as well as Past-President. Natalie is founder
of Ageless-Sages.com Publishing (www.ageless-sages.com),
and creator of the literary genre, Picture Books for Elders™.


Please send your questions on the IAC Coaching Masteries®
and the certification process to certification@certifiedcoach.org.

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