Coach the Person, Not the Problem

Coach the Person, Not the Problem

A Guide to Using Reflective Inquiry

Marcia Reynolds


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From a founding member of the coaching movement comes a detailed guide to mastering one of a coach's toughest skills: thoughtfully reflecting clients' words and expressions back to them so they see themselves and their world through new eyes.

“Coaches rely far too much on asking open-ended questions,” says Marcia Reynolds. But questions only seek answers—inquiry provides insight. When, instead of just questions, clients hear their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs spoken by someone else, it prompts them to critically consider how their thinking affects their goals. Reynolds cites the latest brain science to show why reflective inquiry works and provides techniques, tips, and structures for creating breakthrough conversations.

This book will free coaches from the cult of asking the magical question by offering five essential practices of reflective inquiry: focus on the person, not the problem; summarize what is heard and expressed; identify underlying beliefs and assumptions; unwrap the desired outcome; and articulate insights and commitments. Using these practices, combined with a respectful and caring presence, helps create a space where clients feel safe, seen, and valued for who they are. Coaches become change agents who actively recharge the human spirit. And clients naturally dive deeper and develop personalized solutions that may surprise even the coach.


Marcia Reynolds:
Marcia Reynolds, PsyD and Master Certified Coach, is president of Covisioning, a leadership training and coaching firm helping organizations unleash the brilliance in their people. Reynolds is a sought-after behavioral scientist who holds a doctoral degree in organizational psychology and two master’s degrees in education and communications. She has been hired by organizations across Italy, Turkey, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and North America for her coaching expertise, and she is the author of five books, including Outsmart Your Brain, Wander Woman, and The Discomfort Zone.



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