Group at a dinner party

Get a taste of coaching without hiring a coach

You cannot teach humans anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves.


A lot of people get confused about what coaching is, what coaching it is not and what coaching can do to change their life. When I conduct discovery calls with clients, I do explain what it is and how it works, as most people come to coaching thinking that I will give them the answers in terms of what career to choose.

For those who are thinking about hiring a coach, it is important to understand that “coaching” and “a coach” are different things. Coaching is a process.

The coaching process is where the coach and client jointly engage in an effort to identify and deal with some problems. It’s not a catalogue of ready-made tried and tested answers. And there’s the magic, because the coaching process creates your own answers. It doesn’t give you someone else’s.

Here is a little story I would like to share

To let ourselves loose from the week’s work and relax, some friends and I decided to go out for a nice dinner.

As each of us arrived, you could notice a weird atmosphere. None of us were in the mood. We all had gone a rough week and we could all feel it throughout the room.

Nobody wanted to talk about what was happening, but it was obvious that a conversation was needed.

Have you ever heard about the programme called “Come dine with me?” It’s a cooking programme shown in the United Kingdom, where each participant takes a turn during the week to cook and entertain the rest.

So I brought the idea of organising a similar event, but instead of focusing on the meal, we would listen to one of the group’s story and explore how we could help.

Coaching among friends

It was decided that each of us would be the host and make dinner. Then while we dined, the host would have the chance to share their current struggles, and the rest of the group would listen and try to help. 

There would be a safe and supportive audience to talk to where no judgements, assumptions, nor criticisms would be allowed. 

The only things permitted were: 

  1. to listen deeply to the issues brought up
  2. to ask powerful questions to guide the host. 

Why talk about issues over dinner? Because when we usually have dinner at home, we are in a relaxed setting, away from distraction, away from noise and people who we don’t want to listen to our conversation.

During dinner, the host told their story of what was happening and what they wanted to resolve. 

While the host was speaking,

  • 1 person would listen for feelings 
  • 1 person would listen for words which could be explored 
  • 1 person would listen for beliefs, values, assumptions 
  • 1 person would check the body language and the unspoken 

During the conversation there were no interruptions – just listening with complete attention until the host finished her/his story.

After the host ended the conversation each person would paraphrase and reflect back what they heard, and would then ask questions to the host to help them reflect on the current situation, evaluate options and gain clarity.

We have been doing it for couple of months now and to be honest it has been quite helpful. Although my friends are not into coaching, they have learnt to listen and ask questions to help others think through their options and come up with their own solutions.

My friends don’t find an answer every single time. But they always leave the dinner with more clarity and some reflections to make.

I thought about sharing this experience with you today, as more and more people are seeking coaching, so they can improve or change their life. And if you are in the right mindset coaching can help you uncover things that you never thought of.

When someone gives you advice on an issue that you have, that person might not know all the details and can only give advice based on their own perspective. They won’t be taking into account all your beliefs, assumptions, values, fears or doubts. 

However, through enquiry and listening deeply to their issues, a coach helps the other person get clarity and find their own solutions based on how they see the world.

Coaching is a collaborative process between the coach and the coachee, where the coach gives you the tools and techniques to help you find creative solutions, in a safe and trusted environment. Coaching is about personal and professional growth. During the sessions we will look at new opportunities, your strengths, and I will support and guide you throughout your journey in achieving your goals.

If this sounds like something you’d like to explore, contact me for a coffee chat to discover how coaching could work for you.

Sylvia Nicolas
Verified Coach
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Sylvia is an ICF Certified coach who can help develop your potential as a leader. Email to find out more or book a free consultation with Sylvia right now.


  • This was really helpful! Thank you Sylvia. I’ll try with the group of friends I have in London. Thank you.

  • I really liked the way this article is written, it is very true and I also felt that this coach, Sylvia Nicolas, is passionate about her work. Thank you for this article

  • The idea is really good. It’s a way that would make sharing and help in a more fun way. Well done Sylvia ?

    • Glad you like the idea. I will be hosting an event in April in Madrid with complete strangers. If I pop up to Austria this year will try to organise one there too.


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