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  • Writer's pictureMel

Why don’t I (and many coaches) give advice?

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

A common misconception about coaching is that a coach is someone who dishes out advice and tells you what to do.

Well, that type of coaching does exist. If you’re trying to learn or hone a specific skill, for example, perhaps that’s the kind of coaching you’d want.

When it comes to life coaching and career coaching, however, it seems rather presumptuous to say, “Hey, let me teach you how to do life” or “You’re going about your career all wrong. Here’s what you need to do instead.”

In fact, from what I’ve seen, that’s exactly why many people are stuck where they are with the limiting beliefs that they’ve got.

You see, many of us have been exposed to a lot of (unsolicited) advice and cultural messaging that continue to live in our heads as various ”should’s”. Some we’ve held for so long that we’ve just come to accept them as indisputable truths, even when we’ve never looked at them closely. We may not have reconciled how one advice conflicts with another, or dug into the exact meaning and context behind a platitude, or questioned the authority figures passing down these supposed nuggets of wisdom.

As Steven Hassan, an expert on cults, says, ”Truth always stands up to scrutiny on its merits.”

Our work here is not about replacing one set of indoctrination with another. It’s about strengthening your trust in yourself to be discerning. If there’s one thing I “indoctrinate”, it’s simply this: Connect with your feelings. They’re there to help us identify our needs.

I believe that you know your life best. You know what works for you. As your coach, I’m here to help draw it out for you, expand your realm of possibilities, engage in high-quality thinking to sort out the wheat from the chaff, and give you a safe space to examine your fears and worries along with your hopes and dreams.

Now, might the coaching process involve me teaching you some skills/practices like identifying your core values or talking to different parts of yourself? Sure. But would I make decisions for your life or your career? No. And if I’m doing my job right, you won’t want me to either.

Besides, advice is abundant in many people’s everyday lives. You already get it for free from your family, friends, and even random people on the internet. Pay me for something else!


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