This is an amazing thing for me to say, isn’t it?
After all, I am a coach, and I hope that if you are reading this, you, or someone you know, will sign up some day for one of my coaching offerings. So, how can I tell you that you don’t need a coach?
Well, its because coaching is designed to satisfy a desire—your desire to improve your life, your working environment, or both. Coaching—good coaching—can help you to develop better, more fulfilling relationships with others in your life. Coaching can help you to reach deep down inside yourself to find the answers to how you can be the best you can possibly be.
But no one needs that—right?
Well, maybe everyone needs that.
The point is, that if you have been told you need a coach, you are unlikely to be able to take full advantage of what coaching offers you. You are more likely to be resentful and defensive. You are more likely to resist the deep learning that can come with a positive coaching relationship. If you are offered a coach through your work environment, my advice would be to accept it, and use the coaching experience for all its potential value. Be honest and open with your coach. Introduce your coach to the real you—the you that’s been hiding for years behind whatever facade you’ve developed to protect yourself.
If you, yourself feel that you really need a coach, I would ask you to consider whether you are trying to use coaching for a purpose for which it is not designed. Do you really need a therapist to help you deal with deep-seated issues that arose in your past? Do you really need a mentor, who can provide specific guidance regarding your future career objectives? Or perhaps you need a financial advisor or an advanced degree to help you meet specific personal, financial, work, or academic goals?
Every truly successful coaching relationship is built on trust. It is a partnership in which the client determines the direction, and the coach assists the client in getting to the desired endpoint. Although, often you will end up going somewhere you hadn’t initially planned to go, due to the deep and insightful questions your coach asks you. You will see things about yourself you may not have recognized before, as your coach holds up a mirror to help you reflect upon your deepest self. If you want to make the most of your hours with your coach, be honest, be open, be courageous—your coach will hold your confidences in a safe space so you can admit your biggest dreams and your most dire fears without risk of being judged. Be curious—you can explore these dreams as well as any self-limiting thoughts or beliefs with your coach, unlike ways in which you can do that with anyone else you know or with whom you work. Be creative, as you work together to find the best possible you. This could be a you that you haven’t even imagined before, but when you partner with a coach who is helping you to do this, there is literally no limit to how high or far your creativity can take you.
Here’s a tip for making your first (or any) interaction with your coach—or prospective coach—more fruitful: think of yourself or your situation as a metaphor. Doing this can help you get a little distance from the situation you find yourself in. It can help you get beyond the initial emotional attachment you may have to who you are being in this situation, or the situation itself. As your coach explores the metaphor with you, you may be able to discover aspects of yourself or your situation you never realized before. It also allows you to play with the situation a bit, be a little more lighthearted in approach. You can explore possibilities, the “what-ifs” that could change or alter the metaphor. Then when you bring it back to reality you may be able to see it very differently.
For example, on a good day you may feel like the sun depicted in the photo above--rays of light emanating from your orb of energy. On a not-so-good day you may feel like there are blockages to those rays that are prohibiting your ongoing ability to shine. Your coach might ask you where do those blockages come from, and how do you think you might be able to get rid of them? By looking at your situation in a new way, you may be able to see new possibilities of how to handle it.
What do you think of the metaphor idea? Can you think of a metaphor to describe your current life? Work environment? Predicament? I would be honored if you leave me a comment on how you view the use of metaphor. Would it work for you? What limitations do you see?