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  • Writer's pictureJames Wylie

The Process of Coaching is Like Tutoring

In transitioning to retirement, one of my desires is to give back and share my experiences to help those in need. Business coaching is one vehicle in which I help professionals navigate through the quagmire of managing a business. In between coaching sessions, I do online tutoring to students ranging from elementary to college. Math is the prevalent subject while I also tutor subjects like History and even Marketing.

What struck me as I ventured into the tutoring role was how similar tutoring is to coaching. My approach with tutoring is to have the student think about how they should tackle a problem. For example, when a student has to solve a linear equation problem in algebra which involves a variable, I try to have the student think about what the objective is and how they should approach the problem (which is to isolate the variable to determine what is the answer). Most of the time, they would not start off with the right approach and start guessing. When they guess incorrectly, I would ask why they think that is the right approach and again try to get them to think what should be the right step to take. It is a learning process and at times, very difficult but when we get to the solution, they get why we did what we did. My approach is to not give them the steps to take but have them figure out the steps. It is that adage “feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

The approach is very similar in that there is an objective with a client whether it is making a career change, or improving the efficiency of the business, or create a marketing campaign, I ask questions to have them think about each move they are taking and why. It is really very powerful how Socratic Questioning is such a powerful tool and gets the client to think through the process. More often than not, the process is validated and gives the client the confidence that they are doing the right thing.

I am fortunate in that I am in this position where I am able to give back.

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