Your Coaching Superpower

Author : Ross Nichols

coaching powers

11th November 2019

‘Most coaches have a coaching superpower however few coaches know what their superpower is.’ (Ross Nichols)

Ok I made this quote up yet I do believe it’s true. One of the privileges of mentor-coaching other coaches for their ICF (International Coach Federation) credentials is that I get to see other coaches in action up close through recordings of them coaching their clients.

I’ve noticed that coaches who trained outside Animas can be a little clunky with a low level of practitioner skill, even those with masters degrees in coaching. The Animas coaches on the other hand are generally more fluent and most are coaching well beyond the ACC (Associate Certified Coach) level. Some of these coaches have a coaching superpower, but they don’t realise it because it’s early days and they haven’t previously had an experienced coach giving them feedback on a recording of them coaching out in the real world.

My coaching superpower is ‘therapeutic coaching’. I’m drawn to coaching with my clients’ shadow side, as it’s my experience that this is where the learning and healing is to be found. I’ve blogged about this for Animas.

I had no idea I had this superpower until my mentor-coach (an experienced PCC with 3 published coaching books behind her) said to me, ‘You are courageous Ross. I would have referred this client to a therapist, yet you coached her, and she had a great outcome.’
This is when I realised that I was doing something that few other coaches do – it was a real revelation to me.


Examples of the coaching superpowers I’ve seen in other coaches are:

Forensic listening – playing back the client’s exact words every time, exploring the exact meaning of words to go deeper
Intellectual mastery of all elements of a coaching session – fitting the pieces of the jigsaw together with unerring logic
Intuitive listening – understanding beyond the words and noticing what is not being said
Building such trust and intimacy with the client that s/he feels safe enough to fall apart knowing that the coach is there to give them the strength to get through this
Dancing in the moment with the client, in flow, fully partnered, fully collaborating.

If you don’t know what your coaching superpower is, give it time. Eventually it will reveal itself, often in the form of feedback from your clients, peers, supervisors or mentors. When it does, there can be a profound sense of coming home to oneself and realising one’s power.

If you aren’t aware of your coaching superpower, there are at least 2 possible explanations:

Your coaching superpower hasn’t revealed itself – yet. If you know that coaching is your thing, have patience and trust that you are on your right path.
Your superpower may lie elsewhere in a related discipline such as mentoring, supervising, counselling, teaching, training and so on. I notice superpowers in other helping professionals too. For example, I attend lipreading classes (too many loud bangs during my Army days). The lipreading teacher has 2 superpowers. The first is warmth and empathy, which builds deep trust and intimacy – an ICF coaching competence as it happens. This also builds loyalty: many of her students, me included, have been attending her classes for years. The second is her genius for creating innovative teaching materials that really help students to understand and learn.

If you are wondering what your superpower is, whether it’s a coaching superpower or a superpower in a related discipline, ask your coaching buddies to give you feedback on what only you can do – you may be surprised!

Find out more about Ross Nichols and his coaching here.


If you would like us to help tell your story or you would like to share your coaching niche, philosophy or agenda in the form of a blog, like this one – contact Sam to express your interest: sam.chambers@animascoaching.com

Categories: Working as a coach  

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