What is coaching?
Coaching is a supportive and awareness-building partnership between client and coach. Coaches help you to do for you by bringing encouragement, reflection and accountability to the mix. Coaching is about you taking actionable steps towards the goal(s) you articulate and the future you envision. You very likely already know the answers to most all of the questions and challenges in your life. And, it is likely those answers are blocked or buried under a lot of unhelpful stuff such as fear, perfectionism and imposter syndrome, among other things. This ‘stuff’ gets in the way of all of us understanding, relating to, believing in and embodying our ability to change and grow on our own terms, with the guidance of our own wisdom and clarity.
Is coaching right for me? Am I ready for coaching?
It may be and you may be! Likely, if you find yourself looking at various coaching websites, including this one, then chances are good that you are curious about change and know that some form of external support and accountability might help you get there. Coaching is a commitment of time, energy, self-reflection and money, among other things. Depending on the issue(s) you want to tackle or the change(s) you want to make, it could be an investment of six months or more. I highly encourage you to interview or have a variety of complimentary sessions with a variety of coaches. Having the right fit between you and a coach is so vital.
Is success or a specific outcome guaranteed?
The bad news: absolutely not! The good news: absolutely not! And in other good news, you are the one who defines what you wish to accomplish in coaching. This can be incredibly freeing and also incredibly terrifying or overwhelming. To bring that level of choice, engagement and accountability to the table also means that as you start doing the work, the original goal(s) and definition of success may be changed or tweaked based on the awareness and learning that’s happening. Because coaching is about you doing for you, a coach cannot guarantee success or a specific outcome on a timeline, but we’d sure like to help you get to where you are successful and to meet your goals.
Will it be enjoyable? Will it be challenging?
Very likely both! Think of a significant achievement or change in your life. Was there some challenge involved to get there? Even if you wanted this change, did it involve growing pains? Looking back, are you proud of your accomplishment? Did you have to put in some extra _______ (time? studying? reflection? money? effort?) to get there? As a coach who has also been coached, I have not always enjoyed the homework assignments, staying up late or getting up early to squeeze in time to do the work, the discomfort around saying out loud that I am a perfectionist, and I could go on and on and on. And, with all that discomfort I proudly earned growth and awareness that I wouldn’t trade in for anything.
What kinds of tasks might I expect as homework in coaching?
Much depends on your style and your overall goals. Some commonly utilized tools and tasks can include
- Journaling & other writing
- Brainstorming and then sorting, narrowing and ranking
- Watching films, interviews, talks, documentaries, etc.
- Listening to podcasts
- Attending lectures, seminars
- Naming & clarifying boundaries
- Interviewing yourself & others
- Self care activities
- Budgeting of time, money, energy, etc.
- Drawing, painting, singing or other creative modalities
- Practice of specific tasks or skills that are a challenge for you
What should I consider when shopping for a coach?
Here are some of the questions I would consider–but don’t just take my word for it– do come up with your own questions based on what is important to you.
- Does the coach’s style resonate with me?
- Can I relate to their story, background, education and experience?
- Do I feel respected by the coach?
- Are they accessible? Approachable?
- Am I comfortable or uncomfortable when talking with them?
- Could they hold my vulnerability in a caring way?
- Do I want to work with a coach whose style and approach is like mine or, do I want to work with a coach whose style and approach is different than mine?
- How might this coach be able to challenge me towards growth?
- Can I envision us working together?
- Is this coach capable of bringing humor and levity to even the most serious of discussions?
- What level of self-awareness do I look for in a coach?
What happens if the Coach & I are not a good fit? Or, if one of us decides the partnership is not working?
If the shoe does not fit and/or is not the right shoe for getting you where you want to go, there is no shame or failure or regret in naming and changing what is not working. Sh*t happens and people change. (That may be partly why you’re reading the FAQ section on a coaching website, right?) In other words, you expected a ballet class and wore point shoes but the coach sent you on a three mile hike up a mountain: a recipe for blisters and unnecessary pain. This is why I begin with an exploratory coaching session. If after the exploratory session one of us decides it is not a good fit, I am available to point you in the direction of another coach or two who may be a better fit. And at any other point in the coaching process if one of us decides the partnership is not working, it is absolutely imperative to talk about and address it. Possible remedies are too numerous and individualized to list here, but know that my goal is your success, even if what we’re doing needs to change or if I am no longer the right coach for you.