I’ve always been a bit skeptical about coaching, I mean ever since I realized that it applied to something other than sports. With my years in academia, I would always think, how is this person who doesn’t have a higher degree in this field going to help me move forward? Can they know more than me?
My first brush with coaching came attached to a leadership class that was part of my MBA, all included so no need to um and ah about the idea. It came at a time of a great deal of loss in my life, where everything seemed black and the 360º assessment as part of the course just lead me down a path of further despondence towards my life and my career.
Poor coach that had to deal with me at that time! I was convinced coaching was a waste of time, that it would make me feel even worse, and the only I agreed to do the session was because I’d essentially already paid for it. Not an ideal client by any means.
I don’t remember full content of the first session, but I do remember coming out feeling a glimmer of hope I hadn’t felt before, a tiny slice of empowerment that suggested, I might just crawl out of this ok. It was a huge leap forward from where I was just an hour before.
Over the sessions apart from feeling better, I left with new ways of framing my issues: Was the reason I was being passed over for a promotion (despite my hard work) due to my ineptitude or to the fact that the job wasn’t a good fit with my values? We also worked on actions, real concrete steps and solutions to the issues I was dealing with and together we made things better.
So some years later, in an altogether different situation (much more positive, now grappling with several new initiatives and ideas of my own while trying to live a balanced life) I decided to get a coach again. This time I was looking for a team member in my solitary crusade rather than the supportive problem solver that had helped me so much before.
Someone to listen, be curious, to help me reach my own conclusions and then translate them into action. And more than anything someone who would help me get over the voices in my head telling me that I was out of my league.
You create your own challenge, your coach is your champion, your supporter, sometimes your voice of reason, and you can rest assured they will help you take action
Sometimes it’s worth having someone on your side. You may already have someone to listen to you without bringing their personal issues to the table and who will give you a kick up the ass to get things done when you need it. If you do, congratulations, if not a coach might be for you.
It turns out that in the beginning I was asking all the wrong questions, of course you need someone who fits with you and your needs, but the chances are a PhD or other qualifications are not going guarantee that. The coach’s professional profile might be what attracts you to one or another, but it will be their skill at listening and the chemistry between you that makes you stay.
Excellent coaches know how to listen deeply to what you’re saying (and not saying), they ask you difficult questions in a non-confrontational way and they understand what you want to achieve so they can help you choose your next steps to get you there.
What it is you want to achieve can be anything from getting yourself out of a hole, to taking your business to the next level, to refocusing your career and finding the motivation to focus and send out all those job applications. It may be related to leading your team, to finding more time to read, to devoting more time to your family.
You create your own challenge, your coach is your champion, your supporter, sometimes your voice of reason, and you can rest assured they will help you take action. You’ll probably have some fun along the way as well!
If you are interested in getting a coach, you might be interested to know I’m offering symbolic prices (i.e. very low) while I’m getting the Co-active and ICF Certification.