Fair question. While coaching has been around for decades, many people are not familiar with how it works. As there is increasing overlap between professions, I have tried to lay out what coaching is according to the governing body, the International Coaching Federation. I have supplemented this by personal experience being coached and as a certified professional coach.
This post addresses:
- What is coaching?
- Does it work?
- When to hire a coach?
- What to look for
- How to get the best results.
What is coaching?
Have you ever been asked a powerful question that opened up a new perspective or an easier approach to a situation? Maybe the question allowed you to see an elegant solution that had been hidden from view. If you have experienced this you know that profound shifts can occur in a short period of time with masterful coaching. Coaching is a highly effective short-term service that focuses on a specific goal and mastering personal change. One of the reasons it is so effective it that it guides you to discover and create solutions that work best for you, rather than tell you what should work. Some of the hallmarks of powerful coaching include:
- Powerful questioning to open up new perspectives and solutions
- Insight to see and release blocks
- Accountability to keep you moving
- Non-judgmental support
Does it work?
Yes. The ROIs are huge. Wellness programs have an ROI of 300% and professional coaching has an ROI of 597% A meta study of coaching clients found the most common benefits are: greater self-confidence, enhanced relationships, more effective communications skills, better work-and-life balance and an improvement in wellness. When to Hire a Coach Look for a coach when you are committed to investing in yourself and making profound changes.
- Ask yourself: what will happen (or not happen) in 3 to 6 months if you keep doing the same things?
- Don’t worry if you have no idea HOW to do it. Leave that to the coach.
- If you can’t find the or energy time for it, hold off.
How to Choose a Coach vs. Another Professional
1. Make sure the approach fits your goal. State your goal and ask how their programs work. Many practitioners use a hybrid approach.
- If you seek clarity, creating a way that works for you and support mastering changes, coaching is probably a good fit.
- If you want to get to the bottom of why you do something, try therapy.
- If you want someone to diagnose your problem and tell you the solution, then let you implement it, look for a consultant.
- If you want support and advice from someone who has been there, look for a mentor.
- If you want industry expertise, hire an expert.
If your challenge is something you have not been able to solve analytically or rationally (such as relationships or life changes), you may get better results with mind-body approaches that allow you to hear your heart. Additionally, style can vary widely. Some coaches are ball-busters, whipping clients into shape. Others are more scientific. I know some softies who want a ball buster and vice versa. My style is supportive and straightforward. I listen, focus on what’s important and love you every step of the way.
2. Choose a coach you trust. Being honest is necessary for the process to work.
3. How important is it that the person has been through something similar ? For some, shared understanding is important. However if the coach only draws on their personal experience, this is more mentoring than coaching. A good coach will focus on your experience with open curiosity.
How to Get the Best Results
1. State a clear goal at the outset. Focus on 1 goal. Most coaches will have some type of intake form.
2. Be vocal. If something isn’t clear or a suggestion doesn’t resonate with you, be honest about why. It’s your program.
3. Do the work. Change happens in real life.
4. Be honest instead of perfect. No one expects you to be perfect and pretending will rob you of lasting results. The point of coaching is to get around roadblocks. So be honest about what you are experiencing and curious about what you’re doing. Taking the perspective of a non-judgmental observer will help.
5. Prepare for each session. Reflect on what worked and what challenges you are facing. Choose a topic for the session. If you have any further questions on whether coaching, or coaching with me, is right for your personal situation, please contact me here.