1.) It’s all about sports.
Nope. Coaching comes in many forms, and sports coaching is only one. Even when I tell somebody I’m a transformational life coach, I’ve received the question, “For what sport?” Man! It seems in our society sports has become so pervasive the mind scrambles to conceive of anything that coaching could accomplish outside the athletic arena. The only sport I could coach effectively would be competitive dog snuggling, or perhaps competitive reading. I’m a killer with the books.
2.) A coach tells you what to do.
Double nope. If a coach tells you what to do, find a new coach. The basic tenet behind transformational coaching is that we are all inherently capable. We have the answers right there inside of us. Finding our own way, with the skilled assistance of a professional mirror (aka coach) for our underlying behaviors, is how we earn our empowerment. If I were your mother I’d spend all of my time telling you what to do (which is why I’m not a mother!). As a coach, I help you discover your own path.
3.) A coach has all the answers.
This is one of the hardest lessons to learn as a new coach, and one of the hardest lessons to teach as a coaching mentor. If you had a professor who gave you all the answers before every exam, what are the odds you’d come out of that class having learned a damn thing? In coaching, there are no wrong answers! The only requirement is that you dig deep and take a risk. Sometimes that risk is simply verbalizing one simple step toward discovering an answer… which may lead you to a bigger question… in which case you dig even deeper to find another golden nugget. It’s fun! Like a treasure hunt into your own heart!
4.) A coach will yell at you. (Memories of 9th grade volleyball…)
No professionally trained coach is going to yell at you. Or even voice displeasure. This is your life. A coach is here to hold you accountable. There are some versions of coaching which actually assign you ‘failure tasks’, as I call them, like running around the block four times if you fail to meet your goal. For many people this works. If anyone ever suggested that I run around the block four times as punishment for my procrastination… my response would be an ungraceful touch of sarcasm with a dollop of condescension. But that’s my ego’s dirty laundry. More versions of coaching believe that parental forms of punishment have no place in coaching. Discussing your reasons for an action step not being completed is the only accountability that takes place in my world. We’re not twelve, people…! (Oops. There’s that sarcasm.)
5.) Coaching is superficial. Only therapy has depth.
So completely untrue I can’t even begin to uncover all the reasons in a blog entry. Transformational Coaching results in profound changes to a person’s behavior, strategies, and life. I have a master’s degree in psychology but I have chosen not to pursue psychotherapy for my life’s work. The reason for that is the energy. A person has to be three things in order to be a coaching client. They have to be present/future focused. They have to be self-correcting, meaning they can actually see how their behavior is affecting their life and the life of those around them. And they have to be self-generating, meaning they have to know that in order to change or achieve, the answers and solutions are there within them. All of these factors are energizing for me personally. If a person can’t own all of these factors, if they are constantly focusing on past harms, if they are completely oblivious to the destruction they are causing themselves or others, or if they have no ability to formulate an action step in their life, then they are a fast referral to a psychotherapist, which I believe could truly help them. Transformation can happen in an instant. Permanent, lasting change resulting from profound, deep insight can happen in any coaching session.
Coaching is courageous work, and I am so honored to be that partner for those working to turn their spark into the raging inferno of their life’s passion and purpose. Thank you for listening!