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As a coach, you cannot afford to misunderstand your clients. Communication between you needs to be clear at all times. If clients feel you do not get what they are saying, there will be little chance of developing the trust and openness you need to do your job.

One of how you can help assure your clients that you are listening to them carefully is by repeating to the client parts of his or her story. In this way, you can mirror a client’s feelings and show that you have not only ‘heard’ what is being said but understand what feelings and emotions the client is experiencing when sharing his or her story with you. The process is called paraphrasing and reflecting.

The site Counselling Tutor offers an example of the process:

Mohammed – “My ex-wife phoned me yesterday. She told me that our daughter Nafiza (who is only 9) is very ill after a car accident. I am feeling very scared for her. They live in France, so I am going to have to travel to see her, and now I have been made redundant. I do not know how I can afford to go.”

Counsellor/helper – “So, Mohammed, you have had some bad news about your little girl who has been involved in an accident, you are frightened for her and also have worries over money now you have lost your job.”

Client – “Yes yes . . . that is right.”

Notice that the helper/ Counsellor does not offer advice or ask how long he and his wife have been separated but reflects the emotion of what is said.

To build a trusting relationship with a coach, the client needs not only to be listened to but be heard and valued as a person.