How to know if coaching is for you (and choose the right coach!)
Are you wondering how to know if coaching is for you and how to choose the right coach? As well as being an exciting prospect (as you contemplate your life transforming), deciding on whether to go ahead with a programme of coaching can also throw up lots of questions and concerns which lead you to feeling confused and uncertain and end up doing nothing at all! In this article, my intention is to enable you to make the best choice for you, so that you can invest in yourself in the right way, with the right person and at the right time.
What coaching is and what coaching isn't
In a nutshell, coaching brings you the clarity to define where you want to be, the tools with which to get there and the awareness to be able to release what’s been stopping you. It is a talking therapy which is primarily focused on action and change.
Other modalities such as therapy and counselling, on the other hand, support you in understanding and processing things which have already happened and enable you to get to a place where you feel like you want to move forward.
I am a huge fan of therapy and counselling and believe they have an important role to play in our individual journeys.
Whilst it’s important to be clear that coaching isn’t therapy or counselling, I do believe there is a therapeutic aspect to coaching. Particularly when exploring limiting beliefs and what might be holding a client back from taking action or keeping them stuck in a particular behaviour pattern. Also, journaling (a practice I actively encourage my clients to engage in) has a therapeutic benefit to it, as it provides an outlet for unhelpful thoughts and beliefs to be aired.
How do I know if I'm ready for coaching
Often, in a Coaching Taster Session with a potential new client, I will get asked if I think they are ready for coaching. If there is an underlying, deeper-rooted issue which hasn’t yet been addressed through something like therapy, counselling or CBT, then I would normally recommend that that is explored first before someone invests into coaching. Sometimes coaching can successfully run alongside or overlap with other therapies, but as a general rule I would recommend therapy before coaching.
Whilst emotion within a coaching session is normal, and something I welcome as a form of release for a client, if the emotion is overwhelming then it is better handled by therapy first.
Whilst it is hard to know 100% initially, typically, these are some of the experiences or issues which would suggest to me that someone is not yet ‘coach ready’:
- feelings of depression
- extreme anxiety
- going through a serious health challenge
- in the middle of a life change such as a house move
- lack of genuine desire to change
THE BENEFITS OF COACHING
- You discover a shortcut to solutions which will save you time, money, stress and energy
- You find clarity around what you want, how you achieve it and what has been keeping you stuck
- You can finally release and reframe your old thoughts and beliefs which are no longer serving you
- You reconnect with that part of you which knows what’s for your highest good (and stop over-thinking)
- You reclaim your true identity and start to live a more authentic life with real freedom
- You build the courage and belief to make changes which can dramatically re-shape your life
What's holding you back from coaching?
I speak to a lot of ‘coach ready’ people each week who are considering coaching and recognise the benefits, but still feel held back from taking that next step.
The things holding people back from moving forward with coaching typically fall into the following areas:
1. Can I afford it and should I invest in myself?
Are you nervous about investing money into coaching? If so, you’re not alone! It’s a big thing for many people. But what price are you currently placing on your happiness?
I have spent thousands of pounds on coaching over the past 5 years (not without some initial hesitation!) But I truly believe every penny has been a worthwhile investment and has massively accelerated my personal and professional development. I honestly don’t think I would be doing the work I do and working with so many clients now without making those investments.
Coaching provides a shortcut, which in turn can save you a lot of money in the long run. It can save you from making costly mistakes like setting up a business without testing the market. Or spending money retraining only to find out that it’s out of alignment with who you truly are.
When we invest good money into something, we show up. We do the work. We take it seriously. We send out a message to the Universe that this is important. And that triggers a powerful momentum which propels us forward.
It has been a leap of faith every time I have handed money over. But each time I have trusted my instinct that it was the right person and the right time for me to learn what I needed to learn.
2. I don’t have enough time
Are you putting off beginning coaching because you don’t feel you have enough time?
Investing time in your own happiness is not a luxury, especially during these times we are living in. And it’s not a selfish act to focus on your self-development because the impact will also be felt by those close to you.
Even just a couple of hours each week can make a difference. But as a first step, consider what simple changes you can make to free up that time, such as:
- Reducing your social media time in the evening by 30 minutes
- Putting your alarm on 15 minutes earlier each day
- Asking for a little help and support with certain tasks or duties
I also recommend that you consider where your longer-term happiness comes as a priority in your life. And that you consciously give yourself permission to put it into the mix alongside all your other priorities.
3. Waiting for a more ‘perfect’ time to begin
Are you waiting for the perfect time to make a change in your life or career? I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but there might never be a ‘perfect’ time to take action. Sometimes, we just have to take the plunge with the knowledge and conditions as they are, and trust our instinct that now is the time.
What conditions are you perhaps waiting to be ‘just right’ before you take that next step in making a transformative change?
- Are you waiting to see if things in your current work improve of their own accord?
- Are you waiting to see if you’ll be on the next redundancy list?
- Are you waiting for when you have more time, more money, more space?
Of course, some waiting is justified, but I think you know deep inside the waiting which is just procrastination in disguise!
In my role as Coach, I hear about the debilitating effects of perfectionism every day. Clients who have been afraid to act because they didn’t want to make a mistake or feel they need to have all their ducks in a row before they take that next step. If not now, then when…?
4. Fear that it won’t work for you
No coach can 100% guarantee a certain outcome. There are many factors involved in creating change and everyone is at a different stage in their journey. There is risk involved in every decision we take. But let me ask you this. What will happen if you don’t take action? What is the risk involved in trying to figure all of this out on your own? How has the way you’ve been approaching it been working out for you?
Often, I speak to people who have convinced themselves that they are somehow different to everyone else and therefore less likely to derive the same benefits or create change in their life. In my experience, providing you are ‘coach ready’, everyone can be successfully coached. There are common themes which run central to what most people present as their challenges. Often, it boils down to 3 or 4 key issues.
On the very rare occasions where someone isn’t moving forward within a few sessions and we’ve confronted the root causes, I usually refer them on to another type of support professional and we end things there. No hard feelings!
After many years of asking myself “Why am I doing this job? What else would I love to do for a living?” and struggling on my own with self help books, I found Rebecca. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical at first and having worked with a another coach previously I was also very cynical. But I knew I had to try something different, and from my first interaction with Rebecca, I could see the benefits of investing in her coaching program.
I wanted clarity and ultimately to identify a new career path. For the last 15 years I’ve been qualified and stuck in a job I felt disassociated with, and I thought I could never find answers or a way to make a change – but now I have. I don’t say it lightly and it sounds like a cliche – but coaching has changed my life!
How to assess the 'best fit' coach
If you’re considering working with a coach, but you aren’t sure if they are the best fit, here are a few pointers to help you decide:
1. Trust your intuition. Even if it doesn’t make total sense. Go with your gut. It’s the best guide you’ve got and will cut through all the noise of your mind and weighing up all the pros and cons. I have examples where I’ve both listened to and ignored my intuition in choosing a coach and in both cases, it was right!
2. Get on a free session if you can so you can get a sense of how well you connect. You may feel like they are too formal or too relaxed for you, or that you just ‘click’. I believe that we work best with the people we have a genuine connection with (and in many ways, that beats qualifications and experience!)
3. Do they specialise in an area which is important to you? Are they aiming their services at you and the type of change you’re looking to make? There are lots of specialists out there – there’s even a Comparison Coach to help people release themselves from the burden of constantly comparing!
4. Is their approach a good fit for you? Some people like a structured, corporate approach whilst others run a mile from that, opting for something softer and focusing on them more as an individual rather than a ‘one size fits all’. Do your homework and see what’s out there.
Why I choose which clients I work with
I choose which clients I work with for two main reasons. It means that I can focus my energy and give a much better experience to the clients I do work with. And that, in turn, means that they get the best return on their investment.
In the early days of my coaching career, I welcomed pretty much everybody, thinking it was the ‘right’ thing to do. I quickly learnt it was good for neither myself nor the client.
And so now, to assess the right fit, I look for the following qualities:
- an open-mindedness (e.g. to my holistic approach)
- a genuine motivation (of their own)
- a readiness to create change and do the work
- a willingness to take responsibility for their own life
Although my first port of call is, and always will be, my intuition. That and a feeling of connection. Sometimes, you just know.
I hope this has helped you with how to know if coaching is for you (and find the right coach!)
Here’s to your coaching (or healing) journey and finding the right fit!