Using humor in coaching can be an important tool if used appropriately. It can help diffuse a tense situation and lighten the mood. However, if it isn’t done appropriately, humor can be destructive in a coaching setting as well. No client wants to feel made fun of or feel like their opinions aren’t important. During an especially intense session, humor can help provide a needed break or turn the conversation in a more positive direction.
Coaches need to develop the ability to read their clients to assess not only when and whether to use humor, but also what kind of humor to use. Tone is especially important so that the other person understands when something is said in a joking manner rather than a serious point, especially if the conversation is taking a serious turn.
It is also important to learn how clients use humor to cope or deflect a situation. cope with stress or anxiety by cracking jokes. This could be crucial to a coach’s ability to relate to that client and interact in their language.
Coaching with a sense of humor does not make one less professional. Proceed cautiously to better gauge each client’s reactions to the use of humor in conversations. The positive outcome of these conversations may be really surprising and rewarding.
About Carlos Duno
Carlos is a Consultant at Navix, a leading firm in Exit Planning, and the Owner and Chief Executive Officer of CDuno Coaching and Consulting (since 2004). From 2006 to 2019 he co-owned The Hire Firm, the leading Executive Recruiting and Staffing firm in Northern New Mexico.