If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know I try to stay consistent on personal development. Life coaching, rather unexpectedly, has become an important component of that.
To be honest, the idea of coaching always came across as some weird, ethereal thing cooked up by hacks that didn’t have legit psych degrees. For a long time I wondered, “Are life coaches legit?” Do a Twitter search on “life coaches” and you’ll find a lot of people with tacky headshots and way too many letters after their name.
(Some) Coaches are Brilliant.
I always thought it made more sense to get counseling–after all, there are majors for that in college. Misconceptions about coaching probably stem from coaching being a relatively young profession. It also isn’t as heavily regulated as psychology or medicine. I admit to not having known too much about it.
My opinion of coaching changed when I received an email from Cindy Scott, a coach trainer and life coach. She asked if I’d be willing to help her market her practice.
Cindy’s reputation preceded her. I didn’t know her personally, but I knew of her. Her husband is a pastor on my friend’s church staff. She’s also affiliated with organizations that I respect, and her coach training was done by one of the most well-known organizations in the country. I never thought she in particular was a hack!
We worked out a quid pro quo. I helped her start blogging. In exchange, she took me into her coach training program. I was surprised by how valuable it turned out to be. I even got my growth coach certification. That’s right, I’m now a coach!
The Biggest Difference Between Coaching & Counseling.
Coaching is not prescriptive or diagnostic, whereas counseling is. A counselor prescribes a course of action. A coach does the opposite–she asks powerful questions. The premise is that counseling provides help for those who need to remedy an issue. Coaching is for those that are healthy but want to grow further. At any given time, we’re all probably a bit of both.
At first I wondered, “Shouldn’t a coach just tell me what to do? My high school basketball coaches never asked which plays we should run. They would just tell us!”
Why Coaching Works.
Then I realized why coaching works: because I’m adult. Adults learn differently than kids or teens. But adults also underestimate how much experience and wisdom they’ve accumulated. Powerful questions–and the dialogue that followed–made me realize I had a lot more wisdom and decision-making inside me. I needed a coach to draw that out.
What About Money?
If you don’t have the money, my advice is to get the best of what you can afford now. For most of my life, all I could afford was a book a month and use some networking savvy to be a fly on the wall in a room of influencers. Maybe you can leverage a quid pro quo. Or maybe you start your own mastermind group with peers to grow together.
The point is that having the help of a real live person shapes you beyond what a book or course can do. How long should you get coaching? As long as it provides value.
Who Should I Hire?
Cindy’s reputation preceded her. Her passion was contagious, her preparation was evident, her expertise was obvious. She had been coaching for years and had an impressive record of testimonials. If Cindy isn’t available to help you, she might know someone who can. Visit her blog.
The more personal and expensive a service is, the more people make decisions based word-of-mouth recommendations. Coaching definitely falls into this category. Ask people who utilize coaching for their recommendations.
I recommend coaching, especially if you’re past your 20’s. Coaching can help you accomplish more than you thought possible. The skills I learned have become a regular part of how I interact with my clients, co-workers, boss, and even family.
I’ve enlisted the help of coaches in many other facets of life: personal trainers, vocal instructors, music teachers, golf teachers. If you’ve ever hired any of these types of folks, you might be more open to coaching than you realize.
Question: What kind of coach can you enlist today to help you?