How do I know if coaching is right for me?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret to answer this question.
But before I do we first need to figure out if coaching can help with your challenge or dilemma.
What do people come to coaching for?*
  • with a thing to explore – doing something differently, or being different
  • when they are stuck
  • as they are transitioning into a new job or project
  • to think about endings or beginnings
  • because they need a place outside their context – family or organisation – where, over time they would like an external thinking partner or critical friend
  • because they have been sent
  • for a reason they can’t articulate
Sometimes mentoring or therapy might be a better bet than seeing a coach and this letter explains the difference.
Mentors are fantastic for sharing their knowledge and experience with you, they’ve usually already trodden the path you are setting out on and can help you to avoid their mistakes or spot opportunities you’ve missed.
Therapists are a protected profession, there is a high academic and practical experience barrier to become one (unlike in coaching where anyone can call themselves a coach). Therapists help you to explore emotional challenges that feel unmanageable, in a safe way that leads to you developing your own inner resources.
So assuming that your challenge or dilemma is one where a coach could be helpful, how do you know if it’s right for you?
Where are you at with your challenge?
If you’re ready to work on how you can change your mindset, approach, beliefs and behaviours then your investment in a coach is likely to pay off. We can’t change others, only the way we think about and interact with them.
Maybe it’s not coaching that’s not for you
And finally that little secret.
Sometimes when people are dissatisfied with coaching, it’s not coaching that isn’t for you, it’s the coach.
Like until the beginning of this year I was strictly ABC.
Anything But Chardonnay.
Then, I did a wine appreciation course and I’ve learnt that I don’t hate all Chardonnays, I actually like ones grown in cool regions, like Chablis. It’s the warm region ones that have been matured in oak that I’m not a fan of.
The chemistry needs to be right

To explore if coaching is right for you, have a chemistry meeting with at least 3 coaches.

This is where you get to know each other and see if working with each other will be helpful.
This handy guide will give you some questions to ask to check they are legit and to get a feel of what it would be like to work with them. Even then, if after a few sessions you’re not getting anything, try another coach. Although first try ‘talking it through with them, they may be able to change their approach.
I always say that your coach should be someone you can drop your guard with AND they make you feel a little uncomfortable because they encourage you to explore your resistance to change.
*Taken from Claire Pedrick’s Book, Simplifying Coaching: How to Have More Transformational Conversations by Doing Less. Full disclosure, I haven’t read this book. I came across it in some research I was doing on Amazon and read what was available online and saw this list and loved it.

Do you have a question about coaching you’d like answered in a future letter?

You can also see what other’s have asked and vote for one most interesting to you. I’ll start with the most popular first.

Cool stuff I found on the internet this week:

Feel good story of the week – To celebrate the sale of a majority stake in Spanx to Blackrock, founder Sarah Blakely gave her 500+ staff 2 free first class tickets and $10,000 spending money. Demonstrating that you can be super successful while rewarding your employees and making them feel valued.

I love this illustration of where you sit in society depending on the characteristics you identify with.

Pic of the week:

Sometimes just changing the angle a little dramatically changes what you see.
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