For Coaches: Strategic Intervention, therapy and a warning of fall out


Like many people I have been very impressed watching strategic interventions. I know some people believe Tony Robbins, the biggest name in the business today, talks too much for a coach compared to his client, but he monitors everything. How the person moves, breathes, tone of voice, silence, emphasise certain words or ideas and that’s just for starters. He never fails to impress me and I can see he is diligent, caring and professional.

There’s just one thing which gives pause for ordinary mortals like me – the confrontation aspect. When the person being coached willingly gets taken through the story of how they think and behave, from the past to the present and how they can achieve the improvements they want from that moment going firward, watching it feels mesmerising and it is helpful to measure personal and professional growth. No one wants to stop listening.

However, choosing when to confront someone is a fine art, not to be taken lightly. Great sensitivity must be used in whether it is appropriate at all, let alone when it could be used. You see, as a coach, I tell everyone that my speciality is enabling peoples mindset and agreed actions towards the goals they have set themselves. It is their journey and it is helpful if they don't feel too uncomfortable, although accountability is a very important cornerstone of coaching and sometimes a degree of discomfort is useful to them and the coach. It helps further questioning and once consolidated properly the person being coached generally feels better. Bonus!

Have you ever been really annoyed with someone? You may have confronted someone about their behaviour, but how often does it work out without added drama later on?

Obviously, the coach will not have invested in the situation as much as the person they confront, they will not be swearing at them either, one would hope, but WARNING: land mines! There you are being a clever coach and hitting all the buttons, until KABOOM! Thing is, you may not even witness it, it could have a delay on it that the client won't even know about until much later.

You may not see it about to become a critical situation, but no one truly knows what is going on in someones life without telepathy and a spy cam. People are predisposed to holding back, edit, and downright lie. They're human, get used to it. However, those things are the least of your problems.

In other words, if confrontation is part of the process, the coach had better get the whole story and get it right. Getting it right isn't enough, however. The emotional baggage of sorting someones head is as tricky as a neurosurgeon trying not to damage an important bit. That's not a fully understood science either, so practitioner beware! Then there's the really hard topic which could be present; borderline psychiatric conditions which they didn't even know they had, even if they could raise a red flag themselves.

Good coaches don't want to do too much messing about with their clients heads, but they must understand their real capabilities in such situations and make these clear to their clients. Strategic Intervention is a fast, sexy, powerful discipline. Unless you're as good as Tony Robbins, or a very qualified clinician in the right sector, do be careful as a coach. I am not a clinician and I do not at this time deliver strategic interventions. If you are reading this as a potential client, please, also be very thorough about what it is you are signing up for exactly. If you get Tony, Way hey! Go for it! Be well.

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