Let’s imagine that you’ve decided to get a coach. Most likely you feel a little stuck in some areas of your life. You may be overwhelmed by how much you do and how little gets done. You certainly need to prioritize what’s important and what you can let go of. You already tried everything you can do on your own. Now it’s time to take it to the next level – use the services of a professional. You think to yourself: scary, but exciting!
There are few things as universal as coaching which can be applied in all of your relationships, both professional and private. Doesn’t the quality of your life depend on your communication skills and the understanding of others?
As the term coaching has been used way too often to describe different services, most of us confuse it with what should be called mentoring, training or consulting. Coaching can work beautifully with and be complemented by the services of any of the above, but on its own it focuses on client’s empowerment rather than problem solving. Take a look at the below graph to see how they differ based on the level of intervention.
What would it be like to work with a coach?
What you will find quite quickly, usually during the discovery session (which is organized before the coaching starts to set the rules of the relationship) is that you won’t get too many answers to your questions. You will get something way more powerful and impactful – the gift of independent thinking and finding answers on your own, with a little help and guidance of your coach.
The coach will work with you using the techniques that encourage more curiosity and insight. They will ask questions that may take you out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. They will truly listen. The focus will be on you.
At the heart of coaching – the way I see it and work according to the CTI method – is the belief that everyone is resourceful, whole and creative. You don’t need to be fixed! What you need to do is to let go of some of the blocks within you and gain a better understanding of your values to be able to live the way that will satisfy you. Since we are all unique the solutions are different for everyone and you wouldn’t benefit from the ready answers from the outside.
A good coach can show you rather quickly what a transformation this relationship can bring. Even though it’s not a therapy, you will feel much lighter and at ease with yourself.
If all of this sound too good to be true it’s because I didn’t mention the underlying condition: you need to be open to challenge yourself and committed to change to take your life to the next level.
How long does it take?
I believe that the role of a coach is to make himself redundant – as to assist you in removing the blocks that stop you from reaching your potential. It usually happens that clients decide to get coaching in one area of their lives, and as the relationship develops they work on other issues that emerge with time.
It is advised to commit to a a limited number of sessions – such as a 3-month or 6-month long schedule – where you could meet twice a week for an hour or once a week for 30 minutes for optimal results. It all depends on what you would like to work on though!
How to find a good coach?
Be clear in your mind what it is that you really want. There are so many ways to coach that you certainly won’t have a problem finding something that appeals to you. How will you know the coach you chose is right for you?
- Ask for recommendation – do your friends or colleagues know someone they could recommend? Can you get coaching through your work?
- Connect on a personal level – as in any relationship, you need to feel comfortable with the other person and the relationship should be easy. There will be enough challenges to work through that the chemistry between you two is essential. If you don’t feel it, look again.
- Look for a good mix – do you need some mentoring or consulting? Is pure coaching enough? Many professionals combine coaching with some additional services directed to different groups. My focus is women who want to balance the demands of career and private life without missing out on their potential. Others work with small business owners, executives, teenagers or offer life coaching.
- Check credentials – it may be wise to check if your coach has been professionally trained. It’s not a prerequisite, however oftentimes the bad reputation of coaching comes from those who use it without knowing what the process should entail. The most known international body is called ICF (International Coach Federation), you can also check European Mentoring & Coaching Council.