Kindness in Your Coaching: The Art of Being in Service for Your Clients

February is the ICF-VI Coaches Chapter’s Kindness Month, arising out of the ICW 2012 Theme, ‘Heart of Coaching’ and due to February being heart month. As your Chapter prepares for our day of kindness this February, we found ourselves asking the question:

What is it to bring kindness into the practice of coaching?

At the heart of this question is the concept of coming from a place of service for our clients. Being kind to your clients can mean a number of things relating to how you self-manage and support yourself in maintaining your attitude of service.

How do you support clients to be kind to themselves when you hear them beating themselves up?

Being kind doesn’t mean letting them off the hook, it means holding them as fully capable to make the changes they desire.

As we (the authors) were discussing this blog’s theme we had a quick discussion on how keeping our coaching skills sharp can add to our ability to elevate our client’s experience with kindness. None of us wish to admit our skills may get a bit loose now and then, but it is certainly something to continually draw our awareness back to in service of being truly masterful coaches for our clients.

What could this look like?

Professional development – Ensuring you are keeping your craft fine-tuned and that you are challenging yourself to stretch as a professional coach.

Accountability – This could mean two things. It refers to really holding your clients accountable to their goals, their vision, their values. It also means holding yourself accountable to really being with your client and challenging yourself to have all your skills, all the core competencies, at work in your coaching.

Curiosity – Do you listen to what is being said and what is not being said and support your client in exploring their story, the judgments, distinctions, assumptions, etc., that they may be making? Do you dig in and help your client dig down into the underlying motivations or beliefs your client may be holding onto and do you do this without judgment?

Championing – How you encourage exploration of new behaviours and actions that forward your client’s learning.

Acknowledging – Who they are being, who they are becoming, pointing out their magnificence as they are stretching towards their fullest potential.

Ethics – There are so many small and big ways to let this slip. Here are a few examples:

  • The coach who encourages a client to sign up for coach training…at the same program that coach is an affiliate of and receives a kick-back from.
  • Coaching multiple members of the same work team.
  • Continuing to coach a client you have lost interest in.
  • Telling your client what to do.
  • Advertising yourself as an ICF credentialed coach when you have let your membership lapse.

When was the last time you read the ICF Code of Ethics?

These are just a few of the ways we can be of service to our clients.

  • What does being of service to your clients mean to you?
  • What have you noticed when you bring these to your attention and into your practice of coaching?
  • What do you notice when you don’t; when your skills get a little loose?

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

~Lao Tzu

This resource article was co-written by the VI-Coaches communications committee.

**Please credit VI Coaches with any use of or excerpt from this article in any form.





Join Your Chapter For A Day of Giving

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
24 Carrot Centre
714 Discovery St., Victoria BC


That best portion of a good man’s life; His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. ~William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

On February 12th the Vancouver Island Coaches Association is asking you to be a part of our Giving and Random Acts of Kindness Day.

As coaches we have the opportunity to be a part of change, growth, leadership, and development, and we want to expand this to our community at large. We invite you to come and have a coffee with your coaching community, discuss volunteerism and the power of giving and to leave with a card (or two or three) that will suggest a random act of kindness for you to perform. We have invited Rainbow Kitchen to give a special presentation and there may be some opportunities to volunteer at Rainbow Kitchen, so bring your day planners should the spirit of giving back in your community inspire you!

The Random Acts of Kindness will not be difficult or expensive acts, however they will hopefully leave a positive impact and improve someone’s day. After you have completed your act or volunteerism we then invite you to visit our blog and post how it went and what the experience was like. As a board member I know that I feel really good knowing that we are a professional organization that believes in giving back to our community.
We hope you are able to join us for this fun and meaningful day.

We know that our days are full of different tasks and roles and understand that you may not be able to join us for this day. If you volunteer regularly or take on the challenge of doing at least one random act of kindness o your own – let us know about your experience on our blog!


Together we can build bridges in the community and leave a footprint that will enrich where we all live.