Five common psychological reasons for procrastination

Question Summary: The coach is uncertain about when to intervene when a client goes off on a tangent during a session and how to do so without seeming abrupt.

Answer: Deciding when to intervene as a coach when a client veers off-topic requires a balance between allowing them the space to explore their thoughts and keeping the session focused on their goals. Here are some strategies to manage this:

1.Assess Relevance:

First, consider whether the tangent might be indirectly relevant to the client’s goals or challenges. Sometimes, what seems like a digression can provide valuable insights into the client’s thought patterns, emotions, or underlying issues.

2. Set a Time Limit:

If you decide to explore the tangent, you might set a brief time limit. For instance, say, “Let’s explore this for the next few minutes and see where it leads.”

3. Use Gentle Redirects:

When it’s time to bring the conversation back, use gentle, non-abrupt language. For example, “I’ve noticed we’ve moved a bit away from our original topic. It’s been useful to explore these thoughts, but let’s refocus on [initial topic/goal].”

4. Reflect and Question:

Use reflective listening and questioning to guide them back on track. For instance, “I hear you saying [summarise tangent], how does this relate to [initial topic/goal]?”

5. Clarify and Confirm Goals:

Regularly clarify and confirm the coaching goals and focus areas. This helps in maintaining the session’s direction and provides a reference point for redirection.

6. Develop Awareness:

Teach your client to notice when they are going off on a tangent. This self-awareness can be valuable in helping them stay focused.

7. Check-In Regularly:

Periodically check in with the client during the session, asking if they feel the current discussion is helpful or if they’d like to redirect back to the main topic.

Remember, the key is to redirect in a way that acknowledges and values what the client has shared, while also gently steering the conversation back to the primary coaching objectives. 

This approach ensures the client feels heard and understood, while also maintaining the productivity and focus of the session.

If you’d like to ask a coaching question, you can submit it here. 

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