Do I need a coach?

It’s perhaps rather an obvious sentiment from me that I believe everyone can benefit from coaching. It would be concerning, as a coach, if I thought otherwise. Working with a coach often offers the only time which we dedicate to our own personal and professional development and growth. Think about it, how often do you genuinely carve out time and space where you work on you and your professional goals? I know that for myself, pre coach, I didn’t (and yes, this coach has a coach mentor!). I pondered my development, wrote the odd idea down, and therefore believed I was working on me; in fact, I was achieving... not a whole lot.


So, do you need a coach? No. Controversial? Probably. Risky, seeing as I run a coaching business? I don’t think so. Nobody needs a coach; you hire a coach because you want one. Your life and profession can survive sure, I managed a good fifteen-year corporate career without a coach, and I did just fine. But it’s what happened for me after I started working with a coach that is of note and underlines why I wanted one. If you don’t want coaching, then coaching is going to do nothing for you, clients who see results work for those results, they want something different.


This blog is going to cover some of the most frequently asked questions from my prospective clients and some of the things I share to help people make an informed decision about whether they want coaching.


What is coaching?

Coaching is a process of personal and professional development, where, through deep reflection you gain a much greater awareness of yourself, what’s important to you and what you need to feel fulfilled and purposeful. In my case I had started to ask, “is this it?” and “what’s it all for?”, I had lost direction and ambition in my career, and I couldn’t understand why, or what to do about it. Coaching has two sides, it supports you learning who you are and who you want to be and importantly it then supports you in action; stepping into change and transition to move you forward, perhaps using targets, goals and milestones.


Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them. John Whitmore


As an industry, coaching is not regulated. This means that anyone can label themselves a coach and begin a practice with no training or experience. Now, I’m proud of my training and accreditations with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Co-Active Training Institute , they undoubtedly made me a better coach; but it’s also worth saying that there are a lot of excellent coaches out there without formal credentials, and that there are many trained and certified coaches who aren’t that great. Ask for recommendations from your network and from coaches - I LOVE recommending those stand out coaches in my network, if I'm not the best fit.


Non regulation also contributes to the lack of common definition in the many labels used by coaches. All coaches are usually working in similar themes: awareness, purpose, fulfilment, direction, choice; their title is often a nod to their niche or who their target client is:


  • Life Coach – it’s a broad field and is about achieving personal life goals. Common threads include relationships, personal wellbeing, work-life balance, confidence, health.

  • Career Coach – “a type of personal coaching that helps people find greater fulfilment in their careers..” Noomii Coach Directory . Naturally career focussed for those stuck – either with what to do or how progress.

  • Business Coach – works with a business / organisation, for achievement of specific organisational goals and focussed results.

  • Executive Coach – Named so for who their client typically is: those in an executive role, or a high potential employee. We are still working in those common themes. The high potential employee is a favourite of mine, especially in the organisational setting, coach early and you have a leader of the future with clout!

  • Leadership Coach - “developing talents and competencies within individuals so that they can work more effectively with others” [1]. This coaching is centred on communication skills and finding or developing your leadership style.


What sort of coach am I you ask? Well thank you – career, executive and leadership. 😊


Of all the things successful people do to accelerate their trip down the path to success, participating in some kind of coaching program is at the top of the list. Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soup


What is the difference between coaching, counselling, and mentoring?


I always like to signpost this in an initial exploration call, it can be ambiguous and bewildering for some not to know what service will be best for you now. I describe each of these services sitting on a line, sometimes they overlap, but their focus is different. Here’s the Start to Thrive explanation…





Counselling / Therapy:


A therapist or counsellor will help you find ways to deal with emotional and psychological issues [2]. I’m really open about the fact I have had a lot of therapy through the years, and my experience was that my therapist and I dug into my past to find where the issues stemmed from and worked to resolve, accept and / or let go. It was very beneficial for me and right for me, and then there came the time where I wanted to look and move past this, and this is when I transitioned to a coach.


Coaching:


A coach welcomes you as a whole person, we recognise we all have a past that has shaped and influenced who we are today, however we are less concerned with what has occurred in the past, or why. Our focus is on you now, here, and where and who you want to be moving forward. Coaching is a forward-facing discipline with an emphasis on momentum. A common myth is that there is no emotion “allowed” in coaching, please dispel this now. We are human and whatever we are bringing to coaching, we are doing so because it is important to us; as such it is entrenched in deep emotion. All aspects of you are welcomed into coaching, the light and the dark, the tears, the anger, and the joy. So much of growth is in self awareness and this is emotional and often difficult, uncomfortable work – be prepared for this when you seek coaching. And trust me when I say your coach will hold you, and it’s worth it!


The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it. Thucydides

A coach does not provide answers, we help you find your own. Nobody knows better for you, than you. Deep reflection, shining the torch for you in places you are blind to, or are deliberately hiding from, holding you, walking with you and cheering you on all the way come hell or high water. Your coach is your biggest cheerleader. Believe me when I say that when you guys find a truth, hit a goal, when you choose how you want to be... you feel the achievement, success, the joy, and the satisfaction; as your coach I am in bits, literal bits, I burst with pride. It’s why I do this. (had to get the tissues out there, even writing it made me blub!).


Mentoring:


This is when you are given advice based on experience and expertise. I mentored a number of people in BMW and at the time, I often believed myself to be coaching, I realise now I was not. There is huge value in mentoring, and I often mentor my clients as well as coach them (only with their permission and a signpost). So, anything that comes from a place of “when this happened to me” or “perhaps you could try this” ... you are in the land of mentoring. And let’s be honest, sometimes we need it. I am still in regular touch with my first coach and as I started out on my coaching training we talked about those early sessions. He is very open that he mentored as well as coached me and thank God he did, there are times when we need that reassurance, and we need hope and at those times the sharing of experience is a very welcome comfort that we are not alone.


Consulting:


One of my other hats is procurement. I will be honest I pondered for a while where this fitted in my new business, and it is a recent realisation that I want to make space for it at the table. It is such a huge part of who I am, I love it, and (blush) I’m very good at it. So, when we talk about consultancy, we are talking about hiring in an expert to tell, show or design for you, how to do something in the best possible way. So, for example, a company may hire me to assess their procurement process, how they buy, and advise them what they need to change and implement to procure more effectively and efficiently. How to buy better, in short. It doesn’t show up in my one-to-one coaching, but interesting coaching can show up in my consulting.



Is coaching right for me?





Remember as the coach I don’t have your answers? Only you can decide if coaching is right for you now. Coaching works when you lean into the experience. When you are willing to try new things, play and experiment; and when you are prepared to sit with discomfort, and crucially when you are ready for action. If you have reached a point where you are no longer prepared to accept where you are now, coaching may be a good fit for you. For me it was when the frustration got too much, when I was so fed up with hearing myself going over and over the same ground, that I knew something must be done for my own sanity (and for those around me)!


Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Neale Donald Walsh

10 Things to expect from coaching


There are so many benefits to coaching, here are just some of things you should expect from your coaching sessions:


  1. Challenge: my role is to stretch you past where you would normally go.

  2. Support: There will be doubt and there will be wobbles, I’m here with you throughout.

  3. Space: We need time to think and to feel, a coaching session is wholly dedicated to you.

  4. Focus: No distractions and no waffling off or making endless excuses. This is great for the procrastinators amongst us!

  5. Reflection: The answers are within us and often we need the right questions and observations for us to pay attention to what they are.

  6. Greater self-awareness: When we know ourselves better, decisions become so much easier!

  7. Clarity and purpose: A coach will help you understand what it is you truly want next and why you want it.

  8. Action: to get what you want; you have to step forward. Here’s more of the discomfort part, there’s no getting away from this one.

  9. Accountability: your coach helps you stick to your commitments. Think about when you have arranged to meet someone for an exercise class for example, sure you’d rather stay on the sofa, but someone is counting on you, you are so much more likely to just do it 😉

  10. Confidence: It’s the most common thing clients want and for me confidence is all about trusting yourself. So, when you have better clarity about who you are, what’s important to you, what drives you (purpose), then navigating and making decisions becomes easier, the second guessing, the doubt and the angst is reduced. And when you are here, when you can see yourself moving forward, making those decisions and changes and feeling the impact of them, then the self-limiting beliefs you have held for so long start to shift too… and softly softly the confidence in what you are doing, in who you are, starts to filter back in.


If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Fred DeVito


What’s next?


If you are now thinking, yes, I do want this, fabulous, because coaching really is transformational. Find a coach and test the click as I call it. You must click with your coach, and your coach must click with you back. As your coach, I am not in the friend zone, but it is such a personal and caring relationship that that little glow needs to be there. All good coaches will talk to you for free as part of an exploration… if they won’t … well make your own mind up. Want to talk to me? I’d love to – you can book a free exploration call here. You may want to talk to a few coaches – it’s a commitment and an investment from you, take your time to make the decision that’s right for you. And perhaps I am not your coach, that’s ok, I want to work with people that seek me out and know I’m for them. If the coach in front of you is not your coach, tell them, and ask them for a recommendation of another coach. I have a little list of other coaches I love and trust, and knowing I have helped someone find their click gives me a kick!


Now I don’t normally ask this, but because I feel this blog may help many people pondering coaching, I want to ask you to share it with your colleagues, friends and network. Here’s the link to it: https://www.starttothrive.me/post/do-i-need-a-coach


Till next time.


Remember you can book a free exploration call here with me

You can learn more about me on YouTube https://youtu.be/B9EiOo-N7qI

And I am on Instagram and Facebook @start2thrive where I post nuggets I hope are of help 😊


[1] Betterup

[2] Counselling – NHS

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