This is a question I get to hear a lot. People usually understand what therapists, consultants, and mentors can offer them. But coaching is a profession full of myths and misconceptions. Most people I meet are confused about what coaches do exactly. But most importantly, they are not sure what coaches can do for them. If you would like to get the answer to this question, read on to discover what value a quality coach can add to your life.
1. Know thyself!
Greeks had it right. Knowing yourself before trying to understand the ever-changing world around us is perhaps the best gift you can give to yourself.
Anyone who runs their own business or works for a company knows how important it is to know your customer. You research customer’s likes and dislikes, their preferences, their profile, background, buying behaviour, which problem they face that your company can solve for them. A lot of time, money and efforts go into that. However, customers come and go. Me, myself and I stay. So how about investing in understanding the person with whom you will have life long relationship – yourself? How many of us stop and think about why do I get up in the morning, what is it that drives me, which values that I hold dear to my heart, what are my needs and top priorities? Most of us are just going with the flow of life and see where our college degrees, skills, and hard work take us.
Understanding who you are is the first step towards a successful, happy life. A skillful coach is your tool to gain clarity about who you are, why you do what you do and what life you want to build for yourself with talents that you possess. Through powerful questioning, you can gain a sober perspective on your strengths and weakness. Becoming aware of what you are naturally good at points you in the direction of the path you should follow in life. Whereas weaknesses represent areas of improvement that you might choose to work on to become the best version of yourself.
2. A coach saves you time
Every adult will go through several developmental stages in their lives. Each transition is characterized by so-called ‘growing pains’: you will be experiencing dissatisfaction in one or more areas in your life. You will be having this nagging feeling of wanting to change something and yet not knowing exactly what. These ‘growing pains’ are completely natural and to be expected. Very often though, people keep lingering in this state of dissatisfaction without having the courage to take proper action or taking actions that are superficial (like buying the latest sports car or quitting their job without a proper backup plan) and do not get to the core of the issue. This trial and error approach might work eventually. However, as a result, the transition stage can go on for months and even years before your chosen approach bears any fruit.
A quality coach saves you valuable time. The sooner you hire a coach and understand who you are, the smoother and quicker those life transitions will be. Professional coach keeps you focused on what really fulfills you and specific steps you need to take to get you there. A good coach takes you out of your head into reality. You now have someone who is supporting you on your journey towards rich and fulfilled life.
3. A coach helps you change your mindset
Very common theme people come with to a coach is blaming others and expecting how others should behave. People tend to blame their parents, relatives, friends, spouses, colleagues, and bosses for something not going the way they like. On the other hand, there is an expectation on how others should behave, how they should treat us, how they should apologize for hurting us, how they should make it up to us etc. If that does not happen, it only deepens our disappointment.
All of the above are positions of weakness. Coaching is not about helping people who clients have a conflict with to change their ways. Coaching is about making the client strong and resourceful. It is about changing client’s mindset to that of a person in charge of his or her own life. A person with a strong inner core who is not dependent on people’s behaviours because they have all the necessary tools to manage their own reactions, whatever life throws at them.
4. A coach helps you being consistent
Consistency is the key to learning a new habit, skill, language, sport. It is by constant repetition that we cement new behaviours. When you are consistent with your actions you build up right momentum to keep you going. Over time, consistent actions become new habits – something that comes naturally to you without even thinking about it. Why then not create a good habit instead of a bad one?
Ideally, your coach explores with you which new habits you want to introduce to your life and supports you in building them, step by step. Your coach checks in with you on a regular basis to make sure that you follow through with actions and there are new actions to be taken every week.
5. A coach keeps you accountable
Is there anyone in your life who is keeping you accountable for the direction your life is going? Perhaps, you promised yourself, that New Year is going to be the year of new beginnings and finally you are going to get that gym membership. However, life takes over and by February end you have fallen off this healthy bandwagon. Anyone is questioning you about it? Your caring family members might try to get you back on track, but somehow their tone makes you feel guilty instead of motivated.
With the coach, you have an opportunity to express yourself fully in an environment that is emotionally safe. A good coach cares about their client and wants them to accomplish goals they set for themselves. Also, your coach is there to discuss obstacles that get in the way, in a constructive and non-judgmental manner. This encourages you to take responsibility for your actions and come up with more effective ways to get to your desired destination.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865
How do you like your ‘somewhere’?