Coaching – Should I make suggestions?

When leaders or new coaches attend a Leadership or NLP Coaching programme, they frequently have an urge to suggest a solution to their coachee or team member.

The group I’m currently with in Manchester fed back on their first session that they wanted to help their coachee and could see what the coachee should do.

Now, firstly, whilst this may sometimes work, we all have a natural ‘push back’ reflex and may respond with, ‘Well, that wouldn’t work’ or, ‘I’ve tried that’. You can’t push string, but they can pull it!

Secondly, when making suggestions or offering solutions, they come from the coach’s model of the world not the coachees. In his best-selling book, Effective Coaching, Myles Downey says that when the coachee takes responsibility and works out a direction for themselves “that is where the magic occurs.”

And you can meet the Coach’s Coach in person at the NLP and Coaching Convention on March 27th next year.

Back to coaching then. Very often your coachee or team member will present you with a situation you have experienced yourself and the temptation is to empathise with them and tell them about your own experience. I have seen this happen many times along with the coachee’s reaction. Often, they feel that the focus has moved away from them and onto the coach or, at best, somewhere in between. What I recommend is acknowledging in your own thoughts that this is occurring and to just have your whole attention on your coachee.

Often the Coach’s head is so full of stuff or the next question they want to ask that they are not listening. It is important that your mind is totally clear. Your coachee needs space for reflection. A couple of years ago, I introduced the concept of Ma into coaching. Ma is the Japanese word for space or gap. It can occur in between branches of a tree or the pause at the end of a bow, which demonstrates respect. As far as ancient teaching is concerned, Ma is more than just a space or gap. For example, the walls, windows, ceilings and doors don’t make a house, it is the space within them that creates the house. Likewise, it is not the round curvature of glass but the space that it surrounds within that creates the wine glass.

The concept of Ma can apply to aspects of leadership and coaching too. When the Coach’s mind is ‘clear’ from other thoughts, this is when the ‘deep’ listening happens.

Remember your coachee has all the resources inside them, your job is to flick the light switch and let their electricity flow.

The NLP & Coaching Convention 2020

On 27th March 2020, the next NLP & Coaching Convention will be held at The Albert hall, Nottingham, UK!

This event is about bringing professional coaches, in house coaches and self employed professionals together from the fields of NLP and Coaching. The aim of the day is to maximise your success and the success of your organisation. In order to inspire your clients you have to become inspired yourself and this event aims to do just that.

There will be a combination of key note speakers, inspiring workshops and the opportunity to be coached by an NLP Master Practitioner. Headlining the day is Myles Downey. Myles is an acknowledged authority on Performance, Coaching and Leadership. He is the author of three classics in the coaching and performance arena, ‘Effective Modern Coaching’, ‘Effective Coaching’ and most recently ‘Enabling Genius – a mindset for success in the 21st Century’.

Considered one of the leading business performance coaches in Europe with extensive, global experience spanning thirty years, Myles has been at the forefront of coaching not only in the UK but also right across Europe and into the near and far east, while being one of the first European coaches invited time and again to teach in Russia.

Miles will be joined by Steve Kay, Certified NLP Trainer, Leadership Trainer, Coach and author of Become a Great Leader and Coach using NLP. Steve uniquely combines NLP, Coaching & Leadership training and also research on the latest thinking in these three fields.

The event will be held at the Albert Hall in Nottingham, a unique and inspiring venue. There will also be a variety of hands on workshops throughout the day to inspire and develop your coaching practice. Included in the ticket price is a buffet lunch and tea & coffee will be served throughout the day.

Tickets available at our Super Early Bird price of £50 until 31st October 2019 increasing to £65 for the Early Bird ticket until 31st December 2019 and general tickets will cost £75 thereafter.

A limited number of VIP tickets are available which include premium front row seating, a signed copy of Steve Kay’s book, Become a Great Leader and Coach using NLP, and a 1 hour coaching session with an NLP Master Practitioner (TBA after the event) for just £95.

All tickets can be purchased here:

Group bookings for corporate tables are also available through

Can’t make this year’s event? Then join our mailing list by contacting Lorna on so you’ll be kept up to date with news and future events.

See you there!