You may be wondering, what exactly is coaching? The answer is surprisingly straightforward.
Coaching is a creative process, where a coach supports you in making a life change. You’ll know you’re ready for a coach when you have a fierce desire to grow, but don’t know where to start.
When you seek out a coach, it’s not because you want fixing, or even for help in reaching a goal. It’s because you’re ready for a thinking partner, someone who will enter into a thought-provoking and creative process with you, and join you along whatever journey you’ve decided to embark upon.
Why it’s good to have a sounding board
One of the basic tenets of coaching is that people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.
You can analyze your own problems easily, but seeing your own thought patterns is difficult, especially if emotions are involved.
Thinking about problems, especially that stir emotions, inhibits self-reflection.Daniel Kahneman
A coach will encourage you to adopt an observer’s mind, to take your story out, turn it around a few times, and start wondering about it. This can be hard to do if you’re emotional, but not impossible. When a coach is there to ask you reflective questions, to be curious, it can help you take a more non-judgemental and non-reactive look at your own story. (This is where the additional tool of meditation can help both you and your coach.)
Because you’re already creative, resourceful, and whole, a coach is only there to ask you questions and reflect back what they hear. Sometimes, people just need a sounding board to talk things through, or a few good questions to uncover new options. By working with a coach, you have a thinking partner who helps you tap into your own resources more easily, so you can make change happen and realize your potential.
It’s about transformation
As humans, we spend a lot of time rationalizing our own behaviour and decisions. Our brains are so busy making meaning out of our problems, it’s hard to see possibilities. What if someone could pull you out of that stuck place and bring about new ideas?
The basis of transformation is a shift in thinking. It’s a coach’s job to figure out what’s keeping you from finding your way forward. We want you to consider the possibility of thinking differently. This is a transformational process.
There’s a lot involved in this process and, maybe somewhat surprisingly, it’s not about problem-solving. We all know how to analyze our own problems. We do it all the time, with our friends, our partners, at work. What’s different in the coaching relationship, is that we start with the understanding that you’re not broken.
Instead of pathologizing what’s going on in your life, we investigate. We’re curious. The coach will summarize and reflect, so that you can hear your own beliefs and assumptions for yourself. Together, we work at bringing awareness into the conversation, so that you begin to see choices and a future that you really want. You become the creator – the artist – of your own life.
What coaching isn’t
IT’S NOT THERAPY
In traditional therapy, you’re exploring the past and pondering why certain things have happened. Coaching is all about the present moment and looking forward.
It’s not mentoring or giving advice
In mentoring, you’re working with a person who is an expert in your field. You’re likely looking to them for advice, direction, or explicit answers. In coaching, you’re the expert, with all the knowledge you need to answer your own questions.
It’s not healing
Remember, you’re already whole; there is no fixing you here. Whatever transformation happens is because of your own resourcefulness.
If I’m so whole and perfect, why do I need a coach?
Being human is hard. It’s a good hard, but hard all the same. What a coach brings to the table is a framework from which you can explore. It allows for introspection and self-inquiry. A coach guides you towards your own answers, a task that’s difficult to do alone. Think of it as a sort of inspirational, creative coupling.
There are a lot of reasons to have a coach in your court. People like coaching because:
- You get to tell your story and create what comes next. It’s not about getting advice, and it’s not about fixing anything.
- It’s not about the past, it’s about right now and actively creating your future.
- It’s about taking small action steps forward. You’ll see incremental progress and that feels good.
- You get an accountability buddy, which is just one more layer of motivation.
If you’re even remotely goal-oriented, this is the kind of partnership you will relish. If you have trouble reaching goals, then this is the kind of shot in the arm that will get over the finish line.
Either way, aren’t you curious about what a coach can do for you?
You may also like:
- A life coach isn’t a therapist, but here’s what they do, at oprahmag.com