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  • Darci Daniels

Why would you work with a coach?


Your best friend isn't the best coach, unless, like mine, they happen to BE a Certified Coach!

Why would you work with a coach?


I’ve read a lot of articles over the years about why you should work with a coach. Many made good points (some did not), but I decided to come up with my own summary since many I read were either too specific about one category (business management, weight loss, relationships, etc.), or too general and lacking helpful information.


To help cut down on some confusion let's start with what coaching is NOT: coaches generally don’t tell you what to do. They will *sometimes* give advice when asked. Usually, coaches offer insights based on their coaching experiences, training, and intuition, but more often than not they’ll turn it back to what you think and feel. That’s because they don’t know what’s best for you, but you do. This is a guiding premise. A coach will help you unearth YOUR answers. You know what will work for your life better than anyone, and a coach can be a guide to help you get there. Coaching isn’t paint-by-numbers/one-size-fits-all either. While there are “systems” and programs that can help you achieve a specific goal, customized coaching is much more holistic and ultimately, more effective, especially long-term.


Coaching also isn’t therapy, or a substitute for therapy (although it can work beautifully in conjunction with therapy). Certified coaches have been trained when to refer a client, or potential client, to a therapist.


What coaching is, and why you might want to give it a shot:


· A coach is like a personal trainer for your life – some people are sick and need to go to the doctor, but if you’re healthy you may hire a personal trainer to show you what the effective exercises are for you to get to your goal. This is much like a good (life/executive/performance) coach – they’ll help you identify areas you want to work on, map out a strategy and plan, and work with you to overcome your issues to get there. Basically, they’ll help you resolve and reach your goals. Coaches are more action based, and proactive, than traditional therapy. In therapy you talk a lot about the past, in coaching you’ll focus more on the present and future.


· Are you overwhelmed? This is where a coach can help more than you’d think. After all, adding a coaching session to your already packed week sounds like it could make things worse, not better. Nothing could be further from the truth – a whole hour, just for you, and a good coach who can get to the point, plus help you prioritize what you need and give you permission to get rid of stuff you REALLY don’t want to do? Ahhh… that’s the sound of RELIEF. My clients frequently report feeling lighter and less stressed after our sessions, which carries over into the rest of their lives, so they can be more productive.


· Breaking-through to the next level? Do you have a big goal and seem unable to quite get there? A coach can guide you to the answers you need, and the steps to take, to get precisely what you want.


· What if I don’t know what I want? If you’re not stuck but you generally feel dissatisfied, a coach can help you process why. They can help you get clear so you can create a life moving forward that’s more joyful and less stressed.


· Clarity is a beautiful thing! If you’re feeling stuck and confused, a good coach can help get you un-stuck. Or at the very least, help you process why you’re stuck. You decide whether you want to stay there or not. They meet you where you’re at (figuratively, not always literally) and give you permission to be exactly where you are in your life, with no changes necessary. In other words, it’s okay to be you. You’re good enough, as is.


· That said, there’s a reason you’re working with a coach, so they’ll quickly get to the issues in your life that are bothering you. Coaches ask smart questions, often getting to the heart of the matter in the way loved ones can’t.


· Here’s why loved ones have a hard time helping in the same way – their perception of you, your life, and your situation, directly affects their life. It is incredibly difficult to put aside our own biases and feelings to unselfishly help someone we already care about. That’s why a coach is a perfect option. Of course they care about you, but the decisions you make don’t have a direct effect on their life, so they’re impartial in the way loved ones typically can’t be. Also, they’ve been trained to spot their own biases, get past them, and approach helping you from a neutral place. It takes a lot of practice, and not everyone can do it.

(Quick aside – find a coach with training, preferably with a certification from an established coaching program, not just someone who decided they like giving advice and wanted to call themselves a “life coach”. Not all coaches are the same!)


Finally, what’s the difference between a good friend and a coach? (AKA: My BFF gives great advice, can’t they just coach me?) First, see above. Second, I heard one Master Coach put it this way: as a friend, she’ll jump into your story with you, be on “your side” no matter what, and even "help you bury the body". As a coach, she’ll point out why your story is hurting you, show you there are no sides, and help you uncover and examine your fears so you can deal with them and move forward. You also may listen to your coach in a way you don’t listen to your friends, since a coach is a trained professional you’ve hired to help you. It’s funny how you can hear the same thing from someone you love and your coach, but guess who’s voice sinks in? Truly, the best thing about a good coach, both from my personal and professional experience, is having someone who listens and cares without judgement. Your coach simply wants the best for you and to help you live a happier life!

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