Coaching? What?

A simple guide on what coaching is and is not.

Coaching is all about the here and now – and about your future.

Coaching is different than counseling, mentoring, or psychological intervention.

Coaching focuses not only on the present but also on the future you envision for yourself. Your past experiences matter exactly as much as you want them to matter.

If you’re willing to revisit past experiences to better understand how you tend to make decisions and to use that knowledge to move forward in the present, good for you. If – instead – you want to focus on the past and ruminate on why things happened to you or on what you should have done differently, coaching may not be a good fit.

The past can never be undone. You can, however, assign new meaning to past experiences in your journey toward your future – if that sounds good to you, coaching might be the ticket.

Coaching is goal–oriented, results-driven, and all about You.

Coaching is all about results. And you – as the world’s leading authority on you – remain at the helm. You will outline a sketch of your next best moves and will later design a plan of execution. You will be the master creator of your plan – not your coach, your partner, your best friend, or anyone else.

Coaching’s intention is to help you clearly identify what’s missing in your life and to better understand how that absence holds you back and what to do about it.

Ultimately, you’ll wrap this knowledge up in a tidy package that takes the form of a goal that you’ll go about realizing.

Coaching improves your mood in the long and the short run, but it’s about so much more than that:

- Coaching helps you obtain the clarity you need and desire

- Coaching boosts not only your energy but also your motivation to turn that energy into action

- Coaching increases your confidence in your endeavors

- Coaching improves your self-awareness as it relates to your unique skill set

- Coaching provides you with the support you need when you need it

- Coaching – through the promotion of joy – inspires you to live your fullest life

Coaching is not advice

Offloading your fears, hopes, and dreams to an unknown party who bills him or herself as a mastermind may not be the best way to move your life in the direction you want it to go. Complete the 30 second exercise below, and find out why this is.

Get comfortable in a seated position, close, your eyes, and conjure up the feeling at the core of your existence that you have when someone else gives you well-meaning advice – about something important to you – that simply doesn’t feel right.

For example, when your job coach (or best friend or parent or anyone, really) advises you to stick with the job you hate because, after all, it pays well; or when someone with only your best interests at heart, steers you away from the car of your dreams and toward something more “sensible;” or when another someone gives you a pep talk about how losing some weight is the answer (when you know you’re great the way you are, thanks very much) . . .

You know the feeling? How would you classify it?

Frustration? Disappointment? Anger? Rejection? A sense of not being heard?

When you take ownership of the big decisions in your life, you control your own narrative and future. You, after all, are the architect of your own dreams and successes.

This, of course, does not mean that you should free yourself from the shackles of common sense or ignore the opinions of friends, loved ones, or bona fide experts. Not at all.

Advice – even advice from experienced professionals – often ends up on the scrap heap.

What typically happens is that the recipient of such advice doesn’t buy in, fails to see the relevance, or believes it’s not the right path for herself or himself personally. People ignore excellent advice for a multitude of reasons, and sometimes it’s because they’re terrified of change, but that’s a topic for another day. . .

Coaching is not a shortcut – it’s a beautiful path toward transformation.

Coaching, however, is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Your coach will not be doing your challenging transformative work for you and delivering it to you on a silver platter. Would you really want someone else to direct your life in the first place? Instead, your coach will help enable you to unlock your own ideas and creative solutions and to delve deeply into your inner strength in ways that were previously unimaginable to you. By opening yourself up in this way, you allow yourself the freedom and space to become truly motivated, to maximize your potential, and to grow outside the bounds of any artificial barriers you may have erected in the past. In the end, you own the amazing journey that awaits you – and all the success and growth it engenders.

Coaching is not for everyone.

Remember that coaches are real people who will share their own opinions and ideas when it’s beneficial to do so. If you have a pressing need to earn a million dollars by the end of the month and your plan forward is to purchase as many Mega Millions tickets as you can possibly afford – for instance – I would be obligated to share my opinion on the matter . . .

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