How to Coach Without Listening

Yesterday somebody gave me ‘feedback’ during a coaching session.

“You aren’t listening to me,” they said.

They were right!

Patience and listening is considered a virtue in coaching.

I can be patient. And I can listen. I can listen to you more deeply than most people will ever even come close to listening to you.

And yet sometimes…I throw listening completely out the window.

Sometimes I will decidedly STOP listening to a person who I am coaching. In fact, I often interrupt my clients so I can stop listening to them.


I have no patience for stories about why things are difficult. I will not waste your time listening to you explain why something cannot be done.

Your reasons why something is difficult or impossible may very well be TRUE! (They often are.)

And yet, as far as our work together is concerned, those reasons only matter when they are what you focus on.

For me, coaching is about creating a new reality to focus on.

I love you too much to let you go on and on and on continuing to create a reality that does not serve you.

When I interrupt you, I want you to STOP looking at the blindingly obvious. I want you to STOP looking at the brightest light.

Instead I want you to walk with me into the darkness…into the unlikely and the impossible

In that place, I want you to find the tiny specks of light in the darkness. The white twinkling dots.

I want you to focus on those and I want you to discover that you can navigate your entire life and create everything you want by those stars.

That is why sometimes I coach you by NOT listening to you.


  • What is the story that you have been telling yourself about why it is challenging to do what you want to do?
  • What might be another story that is also true, but which is about succeeding at what you want to do?