Monday, August 8, 2011

Who Needs a Coach?

Last week, I went over why I became a life coach. Life coaching is a rather new phenomenon, only a few decades old, so many times I end up educating people on what exactly a life coach is and isn't.

The operative word for me is coach. If you've ever played or watched sports you know that the coach supervises the practices, makes sure the athlete is properly conditioned, works with the athletes on the plays and strategies. All of this is done before the game. During the game, they are on the sidelines offering encouragement, working on the strategies and the plays, making last minute adjustments.

Life coaches do the same thing. The difference is that what we do doesn't culminate in a big game, it culminates in big changes to your life. In some cases, I've had clients work towards a specific goal like preparing for a major presenation, or the completion of a business plan or finding a job. In other cases, they are working with me on things that aren't so clearly defined. They want to manage their time better or be more assertive.

In either case, my role is the same. I work with them on plans and strategies for reaching that goal. I encourage them and acknowledge their successes. I also give them some straight talk if I feel they are coming up with excuses and not being focused. Mainly, I listen and help people come up with their own plans and their own courses of action.

I've been told by several people that they think they'd be good life coaches because they like to tell people what to do and they feel they are good advice givers. Ironically, those traits would make someone a terrible life coach! A good coach listens more than they speak and they work hard NOT to give advice or dictate what someone should do. As a coach, I don't develop the plays for you, I help you to develop your own.
  • A coach is not your mother. It's not my job to shame you into a behavior or nag you to death.
  • A coach is not a consultant. I'm not hired to do the work for you. You have to do it yourself.
  • A coach is not a therapist. I can help you reach your goals but I cannot work out any deap-seated physiological issues with you.
Coaching is not a necessity for anyone but it is something good you can do for yourself. I have clients who look forward to talking with me because I am dedicated to them for the time we are together. It's not about the kids, the spouse, the job, for just a few moments it's about them, their thoughts, their plans and their desires and a little me time is always a good idea.

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