Pass the Tissues

Pass the Tissues

When someone is emotional and does cry or shed tears in the coaching session, we can either pass the tissues or not.

There is a reasonable amount of debate around this. Some say passing the tissues invalidates the process the client is going through or can be an act of assisting the client to ‘clean themselves up’ or ‘pull themselves together’ - an invitation to stop crying. This reasoning is generally based on the concept that crying is acceptable and healthy, and it is up to the client to decide when they are ready to stop crying.

Others feel that passing the tissues is a nurturing thing to do and it shows compassion, empathy and support for the client. Some suggest asking your client – but this all depends on whether the client does a lot of crying or not. Personally I would rather let the process flow naturally than start setting up conditions or expectations by asking a client “if you cry should I pass you the tissues or not?”

So we have passers and non-passers. I’m a non-passer but I always keep a box of tissues on the table where we are working. Clearly if a client is online I can’t pass the tissues, so they can get them for themselves if they wish to.

The reason I prefer not to pass the tissues is because for me it interrupts presence, which is very important in coaching. Additionally, if the box of tissues is placed on the table or nearby so that the client can reach them, by passing them I feel like I am eroding their power to act for themselves.

I think it’s up to the individual coach to decide what feels right to them, but food for thought around passing the tissues. And remember it’s really good practice to always have tissues, whether you place them where they can be seen and reached, or you pass them, at some stage during your coaching career they are going to come in handy.

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