There are many reasons to hire a coach. Before we review the most popular motivations, we need to examine what a coach will do during the coaching process. The International Coach Federation (ICF), the foremost authority on setting high coaching standards, has a precise definition of coaching. The ICF defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential." Simply, your coach is your partner who helps you develop awareness of your natural strengths. Your coach is your advocate and the person that will hold you accountable to your commitment and your actions during the coaching process.
1. Hire a coach when you are stuck, and you feel like you are walking (or running) around in endless circles. You view your life as a routine that never seems to move in a new or different direction. It is the same thing day after day. Its comfortable to be complacent, however, you know that there is more to life. This is the time when you know you should make changes in your life. A coach can help you get off your merry go round and begin to move toward change.
2. Hire a coach when you need clarity, and you need to decide what you want to change. This is the time to determine what area (or areas) of your life that are not creating happiness or fulfillment. Take a personal inventory. What do you enjoy? Is it time for a career change or is it time to change companies? Is it time for a personal life change (style, eating, exercise)? Is it time for a relationship change or time to save a relationship? A coach will help you determine what it is that you really want. Together you can decide what will create happiness (or more happiness) in your life.
3. Hire a coach when you need direction and need to determine how to begin creating your long-awaited changes. You and your coach will design a workable plan to carefully build the action steps that you need to move toward your goals. You and your coach will progress through each effort in the coaching process, essentially bringing you closer and closer to your goals.
4. Hire a coach when you need support, and you start to feel overwhelmed. Overwhelm leads to a sense of loss of control. Change is scary. Stepping outside of your personal boundaries is not easy. Your coach is part of your support system. Your coach is your advocate. Your coach will assist you with navigating through the tough times, the overwhelm, and any self-doubt.
5. Hire a coach when you need motivation and are losing steam to continue. During the process of achieving your goals, we sometimes lose sight of the finish line. There are times when our expectations move faster than our progress. You may become discouraged if your goals are taking longer to achieve than you initially thought. Your coach will motivate you to keep going. Your coach will keep you focused and will use coaching techniques and methods to give you the renewed motivation you need to keep going.
When you decide it is time to begin the coaching process, find a coach that you can easily connect with as a partner. Compatibility is the key to a successful coaching relationship. One of the best ways to find a compatible coach is to take advantage of a complimentary session. You will know within the first 20 minutes if the coach is someone that you believe is a great fit. You want a coach that not only listens but really hears you. You want a coach that will challenge you and really makes you think.
You should also find a coach that has experienced formal training. Not everyone can coach successfully. Ask the coach about their education and credentials. Coaching is an investment. You have already decided to invest in yourself by beginning coaching; now, you need to make sure that your coach is worth your investment. A great coach will know the difference between coaching, therapy and consulting. A great coach will never tell you what to do. A great coach will never infuse themselves into the coaching session. A great coach will never bring their issues, opinions, values or beliefs into your coaching session. The coaching sessions are all about you. Your coach will help you bridge the gap between where you are to where you want to be. This is your life and your journey. You will learn, grow and change. It may not be easy, but if you are committed to doing the "heavy lifting," you will be rewarded with clarity, direction, inspiration, and much happier life.