Ever thought about working with a coach but been unsure if it’s really for you? Here are 10 common assumptions about coaching that may have got in your way.
- Coaching is for people who are self-help junkies/hippies
It’s not. Some read lots of books and go on courses, some don’t. The key characteristic is that they know they are the only one who can make changes in their own lives.
- Coaching is for people who can’t make decisions on their own
It’s not. If you find decisions difficult, you may choose to work on that. You may not. Rest assured that you will be making decisions on your own throughout your work with a coach. No one else can make those decisions for you!
- Coaching is for people who have no friends/family
It’s not. Friends and relatives can be perfect when mulling over certain situations or scenarios. And sometimes, they can, albeit unwittingly, complicate matters. The genuine impartiality and objectivity of a coach provides the space to discuss and explore all scenarios and options without judgement, restriction or fear of upsetting anyone. We don’t flinch and we don’t tell.
- Coaching is only for executives or people rolling in money
Coaches vary in price. Coaching sessions can start at £50 and, to make a sustainable change, budget for at least 6 sessions. Price can be an indicator of experience and/or competence but this is not always the case. Find someone who you feel comfortable with and who you trust. Speak to at least three coaches before you decide who to go with.
- Coaches are “fluffy”
OK, I’ll admit, all stereotypes have a grain of truth. I have met coaches who could evoke that description. However, do not mistake outward appearance or demeanour for vapidity. The best coaches will have those tough conversations and will always hold you to account in a way that a bit of “fluff” would never do.
- Coaching is all talk and no action
It isn’t. Talking is one very useful method of untangling things but it is action that makes the difference. A good coach will always agree actions with you at the end of each session and will hold you accountable.
Also, talking is just one tool coaches use. A great coach will use exercises and tools that will use all your senses. This helps shed new light on your topics and taps in to your natural creativity.
- All coaches are the same
We’re not. Talk to some and you’ll see. The chances are you’ll meet some you like and some you don’t. Coaches are real people and, as real people, can put others off by just being themselves. Only you can decide who would work best with you.
- A coach gives you advice on your life/tells you what to do
They won’t. You are the expert on your own life. Only you can make decisions about what you want to do now and in the future. Beware of any coach who talks about advice, mentoring or training. They are different techniques and, ethically, any practitioner should make it very clear which technique they are using and when.
- A coach has to have experienced your situation
They don’t. Even if a coach is the same age, gender and worked in the same company as you, it doesn’t change the way they will coach you. It may make a difference to you however as you may feel a connection with someone whose background is similar to yours.
- Coaches “analyse” you even when you’re not being coached
They don’t. If you meet a coach socially or at a networking event, they will probably ask you lots of questions but that is usually because they are interested in finding out more about you and what you do. After all, curiosity is a natural characteristic of a coach. You can be assured, however, that they will not be judging your answers or analysing what your “coaching topics” might be. If you feel that they are, they are clearly not the coach for you.
Now we’ve got the myths out of the way, let’s look at some truths:
Coaching is for people who want to change something in their lives and know that they are the only person who can make that change happen.
It is not necessarily due to dissatisfaction with how things are now (although that can be a starting point). It is having a sense that there is even more in life to do, to feel, to give or to be.
It is an investment financially and, more importantly, in your time and energy. The good news is that you will reap the benefits of a good coach for many months and years.
Whoever you work with as a coach, it is the coach’s job to create a secure, confidential environment where you can talk freely and explore your thoughts, feelings and intuitions. It is also their job to set objectives with you and to hold you accountable at all stages of your work together.
Your job is to be you.
Have you got any other questions about coaching and how it works? If so, do let me know!