Every psychologist gets to deal with it sometimes: the assumption that being a psychologist must be very a very easy and lazy job. The only thing you need to do is listen to the client or patient, nod a little and at the end of the session you say ‘Good job Peter, see you next week, same time, same place.’
If it were so easy, then I would recommend everyone to just plan a nice long evening with a good friend, who can listen to you and do the nodding part, meanwhile you express all your doubts and fears about life. And sure, afterwards you feel fine and your friend has the feeling that he or she has been a good friend. Nothing wrong with that.
But when the issues are more serious or urgent, letting things of your chest just won’t do the trick. Some even say that talking over and over about the problems you might have, even makes things worse. That is, if the talking is not followed up by an action plan. It might seem that in therapy, there is no action plan, and all that is being done is talking, but don’t be fooled, the job of a psychologist is not just listening, but providing the client with feedback, questions, refrasing, summarizing, etcetera. Also, every client or patient is different, so every time it is a challenge to give this particular client what he or she needs and that requires well-trained skills.
The same goes for coaching. If you right now have a coach that is just listening to you and nodding a lot and then afterwards sends you the bill I suggest you take him out to a bar next time and buy him a beer while you talk. It is a lot cheaper and with the same end result. On the other hand, if you have a coach that is constantly interrupting you to you tell you what her opinion is, and who at the end of the session tells you what to do to solve your problems, then she probably isn’t the ideal coach either. As so often, the truth lies in the middle, a good coach should listen to you and nod, yes of course, but should also provide you with feedback and ideas. But in the end it is YOU who should be doing al the work. Hmmm… seeing that last phrase written down, if you put it like that, being a pscyhology coach is a lazy job : ). To be continued!