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Solution Saturday: Coaching a Family Member

“Does the dynamic change when coaching family members?” (A question from a participant of an American Management Association webinar I gave on coaching for productivity.)

If you want to become a great coach, coach your spouse, children, or parents.


I love telling audiences that I coach my wife. Their responses indicate common misconceptions about coaches.

4 misconceptions about coaches:

  1. Coaches know more than coachees. Coaching is more difficult when you “know” the answer.
  2. Coaches have more skill than coachees. Tiger Wood’s golf coach can’t play golf as well as Tiger.
  3. Coaches control people with secret coaching techniques. That’s manipulation.
  4. Coaches have all the answers.

3 essential qualities when coaching family members:

#1. Curiosity:

Fixing is the beginning of manipulation and the end of curiosity.

Acceptance fuels curiosity; rejection stifles it.

Curiosity includes accepting people for who they are and how they want to strive toward agreed upon goals.

#2. Humility:

The humility it takes to coach a family member is the same humility it takes to coach colleagues, subordinates, or bosses.

The humility it takes to be coached is the same humility it takes to be coached by a spouse or subordinate.

#3. Respect:

The respect you’d show mom is the same type of respect you’d show a colleague when coaching them.


Frustration with a coachee indicates you want to control them. Back off, when you feel frustrated.


Coaching within an organization is often more about the way people achieve goals, not the goals themselves.

Mentors differ from coaches in that they know more than mentees in at least one area. Choose mentors based on achievement.

Coaching, mentoring, and advising often blend, depending on goals, skills, and experiences of those involved. My coach often asks if I would like him to coach, advise, or listen.

Have you coached a family member? What did you learn?

What makes coaching successful?


Drop me an email if you’d like to explore my coaching services.

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