Client-Centered Coaching, Using Structured yet Flexible Approach – Coaching Competency

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All of us know that every individual is different from the other. This is something we often get to hear from parents, teachers, and doctors. Mental health professionals/Coaches are no exception in acknowledging this fact. Different people will have different likes and dislikes, different learning styles and levels of understanding, and even their competencies vary. Hence it would be fair to say that different people have different levels of Intelligent Quotient (IQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), Social Quotient (SQ), and Adversity Quotient (AQ). 

For instance, a mother of two children needs to identify and adopt different nurturing styles to suit her firstborn and second born. Similarly, even for a mental health professional, we believe that some tools and techniques might work for some while some may respond better to a different approach. 

Client-Centered Coaching Approach
Client-Centered Coaching Approach

Not every client is the same. So it is beneficial for the coach to identify which approach to use for whom. A coach may be equipped with multiple tools and techniques to help clients deal with their challenges and achieve their desired outcomes. However, it is essential to identify which tool/model would best suit the client and require the least amount of effort and time. A coach needs to have the competency to not just identify and select the right approach for the client but also to modify the approaches in the most appropriate ways.

For any given task or actionable or transformation of a client, it is very important for the coach to be able to predict the attitude, mental stress, perseverance, longevity, learning, and response to changes in the environment.

To begin with, let us look at “What do we exactly mean by the word coach?”

Coaching is a dynamic interaction that facilitates the learning, development, and performance of the person being coached. In other words, a coach helps his/ her clients by supporting them in living to their fullest potential. The first step for a client in this process is to begin to identify which approach to use for which client.

So by this, it is very evident that many or in fact all coaches basically adhere to a common objective. However, the approach to this very common objective varies from one coach to another. At ICHARS the coaching is primarily based upon an eclectic approach which is further based on seamless integration of different approaches of psychotherapy with the help of various transformational techniques. 

Different client-centered coaching approaches of psychotherapy

  • Cognitive
  • Behavioural
  • Humanistic
  • Psycho-Dynamics
Client-Centered Coaching approaches
Different Client-Centered coaching approaches

With transformational techniques from

  • Clinical Hypnosis
  • Neuro Linguistic Programming
  • Mindfulness and Meditation
  • Metaphors and Stories

This eventually brings us to this question which is “What does an eclectic approach mean?” 

By definition eclectic means deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. Hence, an eclectic approach in coaching would mean that depending on the client’s aptitude, attitude, learning capabilities, commitment to achievement, and other such factors the coach designs an approach that is best suited for the client’s progress. 

Eclecticism is the art or ability to know how to combine several elements or techniques to achieve the same goal, but from several routes and covering more possibilities. In other words, it can be described as a flexible and multifaceted approach to coaching and therapy that allows the coach or the therapist to use the most effective methods available to address each individual client’s needs. It is also sometimes referred to as multi-modal or integrative therapy.

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A very rational person, for example, will have better results if the therapy is more emotional and vice versa; someone who is very emotional will do well with a more rational therapy.

Similarly, there are some people on whom Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) will work and some on whom CBT will not work. To give a few more examples: 

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy and EMDR can be used together and the effect will be more positive.
  • Gestalt and Art therapy can also be used in combination, and thus get more out of it. However, in this case, it is better to also add some rational therapy (such as Transactional Analysis, for the issue of adding limits to people.)

The reason for motivation differs from person to person. Considering a client approaching for career coaching, for some excelling in their career can be a motivation while for some not losing their job could be their motivation. Hence, it is very important to understand what is it the client is exactly seeking when they approach a coach or a therapist.

Why is being eclectic so important in therapy? 

Well, because each person is different. Some will work better with some techniques or others. Today, fortunately, the vast majority of therapists use various psychological currents; and it is quite obsolete to “marry” with a single technique. Using only one technique is limiting.

Advantages of Eclectic Approach:

The advantages of the eclectic approach are related to the increase in complexity in the explanations and the availability of a greater number of tools.

  1. Greater explanatory capacity

Theoretical models, as well as the corresponding interventions, prioritize certain aspects of reality over others. Thus, for example, cognitive-behavioural therapy focuses almost exclusively on manifest behaviour and conscious perception of the person, while psychoanalysis focuses on the unconscious.

The combination of different orientations makes it possible to overcome the explanatory limitations of each particular model, supplying the weak points with the strong points of other perspectives. It is more frequent that it occurs in complementary paradigms, such as the cognitive and behavioural paradigms.

  1. Enhancement of effectiveness

Having concepts and techniques from different approaches allows using the most appropriate tools for each situation instead of those indicated by a specific theory; This increases the effectiveness of the interventions. It also makes it easier to apply holistic treatments that are aimed at the person as a whole.

  1. Individualization of interventions

Anyone has characteristics that differentiate them from the rest; therefore, tailoring interventions to each client is essential. The client-centered coaching approaches are very useful in this regard since the increase in the range of treatments makes it possible to better meet the different needs of clients.