Are You a Cheerleader or a Detective?

Understanding how your clients behave is important when helping them to achieve the results that they desire. But to step up and truly be the best coach you can be, you also need to understand your own behaviour.

You have many tools to give you insights into your clients and their behaviour, including DiSC profiling, Myers–Briggs, and Hogan reports ­– to name a few. You can use these to learn where your clients sit on a behavioural continuum. Do they lean more towards introversion or extraversion? Do they have a thinking preference or a feeling preference? Does their motivation push them away from what they don’t want or pull them towards what they do want? Knowing what makes your clients tick means you’ll be able to give them better-suited tasks and coach them far more effectively.

Thinking about client behaviour in this way got me thinking about a coach behavioural continuum. What behaviours do you think would go at each end of a spectrum, specifically for coaches? I think it’s obvious.

At one end of the coach behavioural continuum, we have a coach as cheerleader and at the other, coach as detective. In this episode of The Mindset Coach, I dive into what each of these traits brings to the table and where you need to sit on the continuum to be the best coach that you can be.

Let’s take a look at the two ends of this spectrum and see what makes them different.

Are you a cheerleader coach?

If you’re a cheerleader coach, you’re in your client’s corner 100%. You’ll champion your client and wholeheartedly show your support at every stage of your client’s journey. You might say things like, “You’ve got this!”, “Go for it!”, or “Come on, let’s go!”.

A cheerleader coach is on the side-lines of their client’s life, pom-poms in hand, cheering their client on as they move towards their goals. When the client reaches their goal, the cheerleader coach goes wild. The cheerleader coach does this to keep the client’s motivation high.

If this sounds like you, your client will know that they can count on you. The cheerleader coach will always be there to give time and energy to their client. You motivate using lots and lots of positive feedback and encourage your client to grasp new opportunities and move on to the next thing.

One of the downsides to a cheerleader coach is that their attitude is not always suited to everyone. In fact, their high energy levels and unrelenting positivity can come off a little annoying! Another thing to bear in mind with a cheerleader coach is that they tend to focus only on what’s right in front of them. They deal with their client’s immediately obvious situation and react accordingly. Be it celebrating a success or cheering them on.

If you pay close attention to a cheerleader coach, you’ll notice that they often follow a set routine. This is a tried and tested method, where they put all of their energy into the encouragement of their client and celebrate when they get a result. No matter what problem their client is facing, the cheerleader coach will repeat this method to approach the problem.

You can watch the video of this episode below…

Are you a detective coach?

If you’re a detective coach, you’re more interested in getting down to the nitty-gritty. You want to know what lies at the heart of the matter so you can understand exactly what’s going on with your client. You’re like Columbo, Miss Marple, or Hercule Poirot. You’ll leave no stone unturned and won’t stop until you’ve unearthed the root of the problem.

The detective coach brings many great qualities to the table. Having an innate desire to find out what makes your client tick means that you will do the work to provide your client with the best possible path to success for them. You’ll want to understand how your client is doing the problem, how long they’ve been doing it for, if it’s a pattern, and anything else that might help you figure out how to overcome it.

Detective coaches will ask many questions, even before they get started. If this sounds like you, you’ll spend a lot of time observing your client’s behaviour and body language. You’ll want to understand what they are saying and what they’re not. And you won’t be afraid to ask those real killer questions.

The most important part of a detective coach’s method is laying the groundwork. For these coaches, preparation is the number one key to achieving results. When detective coaches begin the change work, they know it will have a strong, powerful effect on their client because they’re working with the facts and information they’ve uncovered.


Which coaching style is best?

As you can see, there’s some tension between these two styles of coaching. The cheerleader coach might be extremely motivating but works mainly at a surface level. Meanwhile, the detective coach can seem quite intimidating but does the work to really drill down into the problems and issues their clients have.

Think about what kinds of tasks a cheerleader coach might set. They’re likely to suggest tasks such as creating a vision board, keeping a journal, and using lots of positive self-talk. But a detective coach is more likely to make their client responsible for their own development. They’ll get their client to ask themselves deep and hard questions to further explore or reframe their problems.

So, which coaching style is better? If you want to help your clients understand themselves more deeply, then it’s important that you don’t gloss over the hard things with a cheerleader mentality. However, in order to make an effective connection with your clients, they might need to know that you have their back. Most of the time, your clients will want you to be part-cheerleader by supporting them on their journey and part-detective as you uncover things they may not have realised before.


How to be the best coach for your clients

Your client probably didn’t come to coaching looking for a cheerleader. Your client wants someone who’s going to show them what is and isn’t working for them. The detective is far better equipped to do this job. They’ll go that extra mile, they’ll do the work, and they’ll be credible too. If the detective can do all of this and still support their client, then that’s the best possible place to sit on the spectrum.

I want you to think about where you are on this continuum. Are you more cheerleader, or are you more detective? Which of these qualities could you bring more of to your coaching, and how could it help you make a bigger impact on your clients? At the end of the day, being the best coach for your clients is what it’s all about. You want to help your clients move forward and get results, and I believe that this is only possible when you can go beyond that surface level.

So, while I encourage you to support and cheer on your clients, my call to you is to step into the detective persona. Don’t be afraid to ask those hard-hitting questions and find out what’s really going on. That’s when you can successfully help your clients make a lasting change in their lives and their business.

To find out more about becoming the best coach you can be, visit The Mindset Coach Academy!


If you want to help people realise their own goals by becoming a Certified Mindset Coach then please book a call.

Thank you! You are now on a waiting list for Coaches Success Accelerator.