Why work with a coach?
Imagine this with me for a minute: You feel joyful, happy, energetic, and powerful every day. You’ve transformed your mindset, your relationships, and multiple aspects of your life in a way that meets your deepest desires. You are filled with a sense of purpose that gets you leaping out of bed every morning. When you’re at a restaurant, the people around you say to their servers, “I’ll have what she’s having!”
Now, imagine that there’s a person who is trained, educated, and incredibly motivated to help you get to this place.
Would you hire her?
Hiring a coach is making a revolutionary investment in yourself.
If you’re on the fence about hiring a coach, ask yourself these questions:
What value do you place on deep fulfillment and happiness? How would you express that value in financial terms?
How might you gain—financially, personally, socially, professionally—if working with a coach raised your levels of confidence, energy, productivity, happiness, and fulfillment? In other words, might you make back the money you invest in your coach, and then some?
What might happen if you keep living the way you’re living now? What might happen if you don’t hire a coach?
What do coaches do?
Coaches help people reach goals. If you’re at point A and your deepest desire is to reach point B, an excellent coach helps you move mountains, cross deserts, and walk on oceans to get to point B.
In the process, transformation happens. You transform. Your life, mindset, and relationships transform. The energy that flows through you and radiates from you transforms. I am humbled and honored to witness transformation every day.
I am trained in the process of professional coaching as defined by the International Coach Federation (ICF). Backed by ICF ethics and principles, I provide each client with a highly customized coaching experience.
Here’s how the ICF defines coaching:
Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful, and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
Encourage client self-discovery
Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
Hold the client responsible and accountable
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.
I passionately believe that the best answers and solutions lie within my clients. I don’t tell my clients what to do. I do not change them. Instead, I am a catalyst for change. I create a nonjudgmental space for my clients to explore and pursue their own paths. This principle—my clients are their own best and wisest resources—is the basis of sustainable change. This is the essential nature and greatest gift of professional coaching.
During a coaching session, here is how excellent coaches spend most of their time:
Asking questions. Coaches are endlessly curious. They’re experts at asking open-ended, empowering questions designed to elicit deep thought and self-discovery.
Listening. Coaches listen deeply and carefully while their clients do most of the talking. They synthesize information. They detect gems of wisdom between their clients’ words, inside moments of silence, and within subtle shifts in tone and body language.
Holding the goal. A coach’s job is to hold on to the client’s stated goal. To keep sessions on task and to hold the client accountable, a coach must periodically ask, “How does this topic, idea, possibility, or plan serve our agreed-upon goal? If it doesn’t, how will we get back on track—or should we revisit the goal?”
Challenging ideas. Good coaches challenge the status quo. They unearth and question their clients’ assumptions, interpretations, beliefs, and long-told narratives.
Helping clients create a vision. Through questioning and exercises, coaches help their clients build a vision so compelling that it begs to be realized. Along the way to realizing this vision, coaches keep clients grounded in their strengths and focused on what they already bring to the table. Coaches do not ignore weaknesses; they view weaknesses as opportunities for growth.
Creating a safe space. A safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere is the foundation of a successful coach-client relationship. An effective coach is trustworthy, compassionate, tolerant, transparent, and professional. She preserves confidentiality according to the same regulations as a therapist.
How are coaches different from therapists and other helpers?
Coaching involves processes and skills that are similar to those of other service professions. The information below helps clarify what makes coaching unique. Note that these overviews rely on generalizations. Many service professionals combine techniques from multiple “helping” modalities when working with their clients. For example, a consultant might engage in one-on-one coaching with key organizational leaders during the course of a strategic-planning project, or a social worker might integrate coaching techniques into his or her psychotherapy practice.
Therapists help their clients heal from past emotional wounds, manage mental illness, and identify patterns that compromise day-to-day functioning. A therapist attempts to discover the origins, the whys, of clients’ thoughts, feelings, and behavior. While therapists focus on moving clients from past to present (or dysfunction to function), coaches focus on moving clients from a functional present to an optimal future. Therapists’ clients look to them as authorities—as experts on mental and emotional health. Coaches, on the other hand, are not experts who provide diagnoses, recommendations, and treatment plans. Coaches are peers whose expertise lies in implementing the process of professional coaching.
Consultants are content experts who are hired to provide clients with solutions, recommendations, and plans. Coaches, on the other hand, view the client as the expert and thus work to elicit the client’s answers and plans. While consultants often end a client engagement after delivering a proposed solution, coaches generally meet with their clients for the duration of the goal-reaching process.
Professional coaching is not based on competition. Coaches favor win-win situations; either everyone wins, or no one wins. In athletic coaching and training, clients seek to gain a competitive edge. Additionally, athletic coaches are positioned as experts and authorities. Unlike professional coaches, they prescribe plans and create training programs based on superior experience and knowledge.
Mentors show less experienced people the ropes in a particular field or pursuit. They usually share personal wisdom, knowledge, opinions, and paths to success. A coach does not need to have walked in his or her client’s shoes; she does not show clients the way, or even one way, by sharing personal experience. A coach guides clients to find their own way.
Sources for this section:
Schneider, Bruce D., “How Coaching Differs,” teleclass, © 2016 Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.
What are the benefits of coaching?
The benefits of life coaching are astonishing. People who work with a life coach report increases in the following:
financial success (via a promotion, a new job, a new business, improved job performance, etc.)
fulfilling relationships (social, family, intimate, professional…)
feelings of calm
sense of purpose and clarity
feelings of freedom
feelings of inner power and agency
fulfillment and satisfaction
open-mindedness and tolerance
engagement in tasks and projects
perspective on life
commitment to deeply held values
feelings of being supported