How to Recognize, Learn from and Correct the Most Common Blunders

How to Recognize, Learn from and Correct the Most Common Blunders

What is a Blunder?

Definition of Blunder:
Main Entry: 1blun·der
Function: verb
1: to move unsteadily or confusedly
2: to make a mistake through stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness transitive senses
3: to utter stupidly, confusedly, or thoughtlessly
4: to make a stupid, careless, or thoughtless mistake in
- blun·der·er / noun
- blun·der·ing·ly / adverb

First, why even focus on the blunders? Isn't that kind of a negative focus?

The reality is that we all make mistakes. Most of us don't like to re-live the mistake so we try our best to forget what happened. Worse yet, we sometimes blame our clients (bad client, bad, bad client).

But that same coaching blunder can be used to “sharpen” our coaching skills. The very thing that we worry will be the end of us (a blunder) can actually catapult us to a very different level of performance.

Learning to recognize and embrace our coaching blunders is the path to better coaching. We will continue to blunder, so let's take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves!

What are some reasons to focus on the blunders?

Here are 8 compelling reasons to embrace your mistakes and use them to your advantage:
1. Become a more (polished) (sophisticated) (evolved) coach.
2. Eliminate your rough edges while refining the sharpness with which you coach.
3. Replace repetitive blunders with a stealth form of uber-coaching.
4. Give your clients the gift of effective coaching on every call.
5. Begin to learn the real reasons your clients leave (“fire”) you and what to do to turn that around. Coaches often have clients for 2-3 months and then they “fade” away. Now you can begin to learn why clients leave you.
6. Discover how to love being “rated” by your clients in performance reviews.
7. Learn how to self-assess, and self-coach, with honesty and compassion.
8. Discover “real time” solutions for when you get stuck (and who doesn't at one time or another).

What kind of Blunders do coaches make?

In the Coaching Blunders Series, available in audio with a workbook, we discuss different types of blunders and their value to us:
1. Administrative Blunders
2. Fearful Blunders
3. Avoidance Blunders
4. Communication Blunders
5. Power and Empowerment Blunders
6. Benefits of Blunders

What are the Top 10 Blunders that you see coaches make?

Although we identified close to 100 coaching blunders I feel that the Top 10 Coaching Blunders are:

1. Waiting until you are ready to coach (new coaches) or waiting to coach the more challenging clients (experienced coaches).

Get clients now! Your coaching education will make more sense if you're coaching. You're never going to "have it" if you don't "do it". I highly recommend that you "dive in and get both feet wet".

2. Taking your client at face value.

This may sound shocking but the reality is that clients come to us because they are here, and want to get there. If they could do it on their own, they wouldn't' need us. Often, what a client says to us has to do with the client's current paradigms and attitudes. If we take their goals and ideas at face value, we may be missing huge goals that they want to tap into but don't yet know how to express. They are hiring us so we can tap into the goals with them.

3. Going into solution mode.

Most coaches, particularly new ones, will jump right away to finding solutions and solving problems. Why do we tend to go to solution mode? What's our motivation? We do this because we think it will justify our fees and prove our value as a coach. This is very limited thinking on the part of the coach.

4. Not knowing your client.

a. Do a thorough pre-hire interview. If you want to know how to do this successfully consider getting the eBook “Ten Step Buying Process: Converting Prospects to Clients” at

b. Have a complete intake form for your clients to complete.

c. Use assessments. My favorite is the DISC Personal Profile System. To see a number of valuable coaching assessments visit

I prefer to have a complimentary collaborative interview with a potential new client instead of offering a complimentary free session. This way I get a clear understanding of the potential client. By using the DISC assessment, it helps me stay out of "solution mode" because I can deal with client behaviors and discover their motivations from there.

5. Avoiding difficult or touchy subjects. Allowing client to avoid issues that are "hot" (and avoid they will).

Sometimes coaches inadvertently allow clients to avoid the touchy subjects. We have to be very watchful to know what the touchy subjects are for each client. If the client keeps avoiding a certain topic, it's a blunder on the coach's part to allow that to happen. Once you notice a client avoiding a touchy subject then bring this up in session. For instance, “Every time, I begin to ask you about this topic, you change the topic. I'd like us to take a few minutes and see what's here.”

6. Not having a system in place for the administration of our clients.

a. Keeps us from serving our clients and growing our business.

b. Client Compass software is a great administrative environment.

i. E-Caps that can be sent to your client directly after each call.

ii. Invoicing - Failing to manage the money and/or get paid on time. Payment can be handled directly through the premium version of Client Compass.

iii. Keeping track of paid and volunteer time

iv. For more info visit

c. Not having a well-written coaching policy that sets clear client expectations. If you would like to see my coaching package it is available as a part of the as lesson #41. For your quick reference it is available at this link:

If you set up systems, then tasks can be done automatically and you can spend more time coaching and earning a living and less time on administrivia.

7. Not building an environment that allows more people to know about you as a coach. In the program, we create just such an environment for you.

a. Selling people or talking people into coaching. Once again, I recommend reviewing the Ten Step Buying Process: Converting Prospects to Clients (see #4 above)

b. Coaching any one other than your "ideal" client.

c. Not letting enough people get to know you.

A lot of coaches love to coach, but they don't love to market. If you're not marketing and people don't know about you, you won't have the business you want. Consider joining the www.90DayMarketingMarathoncom. It will help you be clear on your ideal client. And I guarantee that you will be a much better coach when you are coaching your ideal client.

8. Coaching around topics we should avoid

a. Legal

b. Financial

c. Medical

d. Therapeutic

We know this and yet it's so easy to get sucked into it. Hold clear boundaries and coach your clients to contact the appropriate contacts – such as their employee assistance program (EAP), therapist, attorney, etc. Our job as coaches is to not get “sucked into it” but to have strong and clear boundaries and to hold the right space for coaching our clients.

9. Constantly asking questions and/or not allowing clients to answer before asking a new question.

Silence tends to make most of us very uncomfortable. So, if the coach becomes uncomfortable we often ask new questions before the previous one was answered. This is a serious blunder. That same silence can also put your client into a certain discomfort, which can be a good thing. It teases something deeper out of them. Don't let clients "off the hook" because of your discomfort!

10. Raising fees before we are ready.

If we don't feel worthy, it will not work. Clients will sense this like dogs sense fear!

One option is to create coaching programs with a specific focus as well as a beginning, middle and end. There is less risk for the prospect or client in both time and money. And, you can often convert people who have taken one of your coaching programs into a one-on-one client.

This is because they have had a chance to get to know you and trust you. You have developed a relationship with them and they will feel more confident in working with you.

You can create your own program or purchase a license for a coaching program from a third party such as CoachVille. I am also offering several licensing programs so feel free to contact me for more information.

Parting Words of Wisdom:

The key is to embrace your own “blunderella or blunderfella”. Embrace them and you will learn much more quickly than when you are in resistance.


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