What’s wrong with coaching?
A lot! Where do I begin my rant?
Sometimes, I don’t even want to be called a coach, because the industry is full of people who are interested in easy income or a flexible lifestyle, rather than making a real difference…
Social media is full of ‘experts’ and self-made millionaires sharing their blueprints for success – and you can have it all too! If you pay the price…
Before I start working with a client, I always invite them for a coffee with me, so they have a chance to get to know me in person, and I have an opportunity to understand their needs, so I can serve them better. But most importantly – this casual meeting allows both parties to check if I am really the right person to help them.
Yet time and time again, I see people who need help in some area of their life and business but have not sure kind of help they need, or even worse – they have already invested a lot of time, effort and money into various courses, training, coaching, self-help tools, but are still struggling to implement it in reality, and translate it into business results.
So when they arrive for the meeting with me, they are not sure anymore what questions to ask, and how to assess if I am really going to help them to achieve the results they want, and if I am going to deliver what I say I do.
What most concerns me, is that some ambitious, driven individuals, who are willing to invest their time and money into their personal and professional development, are often taken advantage of by ‘laptop lifestyle’ coaches or inexperienced therapists, who are often only interested in making as much income as possible out of someone else’s misfortune.
As coaches, therapists, consultants, counsellors, or any other professionals making the living out of helping others, we should be interested in enabling the client to help themselves, and not to make them dependent on our services or emotional support for the long term.
It is morally wrong, in my opinion, to make the client dependent on our support or services we provide, so they continue coming back to us anytime they stumble across the new challenge in their life or business. Unfortunately, it is often the successful business model of many coaches – provide temporary relief and effective solution that only works short term, inject a boost of motivation, while also building the relationship to be the first point of contact for support, and voila – here’s your income covered for the rest of your life. Welcome to the world of personal development addicts, training course collectors, and life-long therapy.
So here I would like to share some insights from my experience that I hope will help you not to fall into the trap of this self-help addiction, and find the right support that will enable you to help yourself and make an impact.
Make sure your coach is:
1. Genuinely interested in helping you.
Of course, that is obvious – but how do you know that? How can you make sure that this is the person you can trust with shaping your personal life and professional journey, your mindset, and – your financial investments?
- Do they charge you for their time and effort or the results you get out if it? Can you contact them outside of your arranged session times if you need to?
- Are they flexible in adapting to your needs and circumstances? Is it going to be an equal partnership, or you just need to follow their terms and conditions?
- Do they take time to understand your pains and hopes BEFORE working with you, and do they tailor their services accordingly, or just try to sell you the existing off-the-shelf solution or service?
- Why do they do what they do? What’s their story?
2. Measuring your progress and the impact of their work.
No two individuals are the same, therefore coaching experience should be a learning journey for both parties, and coach should seek constant feedback to measure your journey, and adapt their approach along the way as required.
- Do they have a system to fully evaluate your situation at the begining and at the end of the programme?
- Do they clarify what you want to get out of each session, and do they check that it has been achieved at the end?
- Do you have an input and say about the choice of tools and techniques they are using, with the open channels of feedback and communication flowing both ways? Are they flexible in changing their ways, when the technique used doesn’t deliver the desired outcome?
- Do they have a holistic approach to your development, ensuring that the process has a positive impact on all areas of your life? For example, you might approach them for help with career progress, but if they only focus on helping you to achieve your professional goals without taking into consideration the effect it has on your health or relationships – don’t work with them!
You don’t need an entire team of business coaches, nutritionists, personal trainers and meditation experts – a good coach should have a holistic approach to improve all areas of your life, providing you with additional resources for the areas outside of their expert subject.
3. Giving you the tools to help yourself.
This is the most important aspect of your personal development experience. It is important to realise that it is YOU who need to make the real change and take action, and your coach should be an enabler, not the problem solver.
- Do they keep you accountable for your own commitments and intentions, and encourage you to take action?
- Do they provide you with tools and resources that help you to put your learnings in practice and make the difference?
- Do they help you to develop resources you need to take action? Do they address your barriers and limitations to performance first? Common things such a lack of confidence, any fears or phobias, anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, ability to regulate your emotions or cravings, can often prevent us from achieving our full potential, and should never be left unaddressed.
Good coach will work with any challenge you bring into the room, and will turn your vents and emotional outbursts into valuable insights.
The questions you should have answered during your first discovery meeting:
- What tools and techniques are going to be used, and how do I know it works?
- What are the benefits and disadvantages of different techniques and approaches used?
- How do we communicate throughout the programme?
- How exactly the programme is being delivered? Where? How often? How long?
- How progress will be measured?
- What happens if it doesn’t work?
- What are the next steps?
Most importantly, at the end of your first meeting with your coach, you should feel that you have a say and choice in all above-mentioned points, and have clarity on where you need to be focusing your effort and energy right now, to get the results in the long run.
If you have any doubts – always go with your gut feel… Your own intuition can be the best guide in life if we just know how to listen to it.
Hope this helps!
Evelina is a Learning and Development Coach and Trainer, helping business owners and executives to translate their vision into practical, daily steps. Sounds good on paper? Have a call and find out for yourself!