Do You Have The “Curious Coach Syndrome”?

Wait! Before you panic and go back into self-quarantine mode... let me confess - it's not some new syndrome doing the rounds in the coaching community!😊


What I am referring to as the “Curious Coach Syndrome” is the eagerness and curiosity of the coach to dig deeper into the coaching conversations, to unleash the real challenges of the coachee along with the excitement with which they support the coachee to achieve the set goal.


In this article, my sole focus is on understanding (and demystifying) the role of “curiosity” as a competency for coaches, and what it 'looks' like, when 'observed' through the lenses of Transactional Analysis.


What does curiosity have to do with coaching?

One of ICF’s core competencies is “Coaching Presence”, which in layman’s terms means – “how present are you as a coach for your coachee, minimizing your entire presence and yet being fully there; not getting overwhelmed with data, rather focusing on the coachee’s goal".

The approach of result-oriented coaching conversation often loses its essence due to a planned pipeline of structured questions being asked, however pure be the coach's intent to support.

"Curiosity is an emotion deep-rooted in and manifesting from within our child-ego. The unlimited questions, followed by a bemused look before the follow-up questions, and then the next set of reassurance questions; this is something we all did during our childhood."

The beauty of those questions was that

  • They were leading but not judgmental

  • They were well-paused

  • They were spontaneous

Now, if you take a closer look at them you will notice that all these qualities need one crucial ingredient - TIME - to be demonstrated.


It means, if I am being curious about something, I might end up taking more-than-the-usual time, because my child-ego state is still exploring all its aspects.


Similarly, during a coaching conversation, if the coach lets their child-ego take over the driving seat, it encourages the coachee to reflect on the questions effectively. However, because coaching conversations are not only meant to be driven by the feel-good factor but also process driven, it becomes important to "structure" the inquisitive questions within the given time limit (just like being in adult-ego state).


How to Balance Your Child & Adult Ego States As a Coach?

  1. While setting up the agenda for the call, get into your adult ego state and set a mutually consented structure- time limit, agenda, responsibilities etc.

  2. Once the agenda is set, try to shift to your child ego and reconfirm the agenda from the coachee. Ask questions which comes naturally to you without any filter.

  3. While asking, it would be better to structure it in relevance to ‘here & now’ and relevancy to the topic of discussion. (By being in an adult ego state)

  4. If your coachee is getting some insights, take the due pause. Do not slip into your child-ego state and pour the next set of questions.

  5. Once the insight is achieved, do not rush to take up the action-follow up, instead enjoy the moment and celebrate by slipping again to your child-ego.

  6. Please note, curiosity comes with a price tag - time. And your coachee deserves both!

Remember, these smooth transitions between ego states within you will act as live demonstration (and possibly even an inspiration) for your coachee.


Your coachee deserves a complete coach with all their ego states (parent, adult and child), integrated. They deserve to be heard, guided and celebrated! They deserve “A Curious Coach”!


If you would like to explore more on How to become a Curious Coach or How to integrate techniques of positive psychology in your coaching conversation, and wish to get a live demo from me, feel free to book your 30-minutes free discovery session today!




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