There was a time when the only people who had personal coaches were famous celebrities or those who were in dire need of counseling for different issues; physical fitness, financial planning, or everyday life. But in the last few years, having a personal coach has become much more common. Today, coaches specialize in career development, personal development, health and wellness, and so on. But what should you expect from a coach?
People may need the help of a personal coach for several different reasons. Some need help in getting over a personal tragedy like the death of a loved one or a nasty divorce. Perhaps you want to start a business and need a business coach. Or you’ve decided you need a career coach. There are also those who just want to build confidence and maximize their strengths. It is IMPORTANT to understand that coaches are NOT doctors or therapists. If you suffer from depression and having thoughts of hurting yourself, please see a medical professional. Coaches ARE individuals that will help you develop goals, help you stay accountable through processes they can teach you, and help you celebrate your WINS; yes even the little ones!
In all these cases, a personal coach can definitely help a lot, provided that you choose the right kind of coach to work with. For example, personal coaching that focuses on financial advice would certainly be very different from coaching that centers on relationships, or developing your career. There are coaches in just about every area.
If you are considering working with a personal coach but have no idea what to expect, here’s a typical scenario of how coaching works. The first contact is a get to know each other call or face-to-face. You will know right away if the two of you are a good fit. Don’t work with someone that you already sense you will not enjoy working with. Listen to your inner voice … trust that instinct! AND don’t take it personally if the coach isn’t ready to work with you.
If you both mutually decide you are a good fit for each other, then you will discuss what sessions are complementary, if any are offered at all, the coaches fee structure, the number of sessions you are committing to, and finally a signed contract between the two of you. Then begins the sessions to identify your goals and why you want to get there. If you already have very clear goals that you want to accomplish, all the better. But if there are still some gray areas, your coach will be able to help you. A good coach has many different process that you can be taught to use between sessions to keep you focused.
Keep in mind that you will have homework between sessions. Homework!? You’re kidding right? No, believe it or not, your coach will guide you toward achieving your goals, but it is your job to do the work. Only you can do the processes or exercises determined to help you achieve a goal. The effort will have to come from you. So if you are thinking that having a personal coach is like having someone do all the hard work for you, you’re mistaken. A good coach will keep you accountable to yourself, guide you, speak frankly to keep you honest to yourself, and will help you achieve your objectives but you will have to take each step yourself.
But the cool thing about a coach, is you are NEVER by yourself. My clients are like my family; a large extended family. I love hearing how they conquered fears, the epiphanies in the middle of the night, or the sobering reality when they realize they have a ways to go. I’m there with them … every step, but my goal is to get them self sufficient by teaching them processes they can use themselves … to not need me as a coach for the long haul. That should be every coaches goal … in my opinion anyway.
So if you need help with basic life skills as they relate to your personal development: goal setting, time management, decision making, prioritizing, problem solving, and organizing, then find someone you can work with. The long term benefits of learning to master even a few of these areas will help you become able to accomplish so much more on your own without having to rely on a coach or anyone else.
However, be aware that there are personal coaches who are so good at making decisions and solving problems that the person they are coaching will eventually become dependent on them instead of learning to make sound decisions on their own. Obviously, this is counterproductive to the whole idea of working with a personal coach, which should be able to help you stand on your own. My goal and so may other coaches is to teach you to be confident in your abilities to stand on your own; to face your future full of excitement and enthusiasm!
If you are considering a personal coach, look at the coach’s ability to actually do the things that they are supposed to teach, you should prioritize the way they instruct and encourage their students. You want to work with someone who can push you to your boundaries and to the best of what you can be, without actually doing any of the work for you. Yes, you read that right … to be effective, you MUST do the work and your coach provides tools and accountability. Besides, it will be all that much sweeter when you reach your goal! You already have the map … you just need the decoder ring!