Coaching principle #18

By Dr Peter Chee and Dr Jack Canfield

Jumping to premature conclusions means to judge something without having all the facts. It
is a very easy thing to do in our professional and personal lives. Jumping to conclusion is one
of the five sins life coach Julie Melillo identifies in her article on the sins of life coaching.

The example she gives is of a coachee who says, “I feel stupid for losing my job.” A poor coach
would not explore why the persons feels “stupid” but would just move on, perhaps to a topic
of securing another job. A good coach would instead explore why the person feels stupid.
Was it because he lost his job, was he fired? Was it because his spouse called him names? A
good coach would do her best to understand the motivations behind the feelings to ensure
an effective coaching conversation.

When a coach thinks she already knows the outcome, the listening process is negatively impacted. The coach may not listen as intently, be
selective in their listening, or not be present fully since they have made a conclusion without the full facts.

This is what happened to Vince when he was starting out as a coach. Vernon, a client was sharing about how heartbroken he was after breaking
up with a girl he was seeing. Instead of taking the time to understand, Vince interjected by saying that the breakup was good since Vernon used
to complain about her. He also offered to move the coaching conversation on to finding a new girlfriend.

That interruption did not sit well with Vernon who questioned why Vince seemed so anxious for him to move on. He was also irritated that Vince
did not want to find out the reason behind the break. Needless to say, the coaching session that day did not go well, and guess who lost a client.

It was only later that Vince found out why Vernon broke things o. The straw that broke the camel’s back was because she pulled a prank on
Vernon which left him with diarrhea. The prank was for a video to be shared for likes on social media. By jumping to the conclusion that Vernon
was ready to start a new relationship, Vince made the mistake of not fully understanding the situation and so lost.

Jumping to conclusions seldom leads to happy landings.

– Author unknown

Avoiding this sin will allow you to avoid making mistakes during your coaching conversation. Best to have enough information to fully understand what was said or what happened before allowing the coachee to arrive at their own realization or insight where possible.

A wise coach keeps an open mind and does not make assumptions about people .

– Jack Canfield and Peter Chee


  1. WHAT can you do to avoid jumping to conclusions?
  2. WHAT can you do to avoid listening selectively?
  3. WHAT can you do to ensure you have the necessary facts during a coaching conversation?
  4. WHAT can you do to have a good understanding of the feelings and motivations of others?
  5. HOW can you ensure that you constantly keep an open mind?


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World #1 Strategic Innovation Coach and World #3 Coaching Guru Dr Peter Chee

Coaching for Breakthrough Success combines time-tested principles of exemplary coaches with the latest disruptive techniques used by the world’s top performing leaders, this step-by-step playbook shows you how to nurture—in yourself and others—the three essential requirements of coaching excellence