Coach or friend?
We hear so much about coaching and that it’s a great thing to have access to. So what is the difference between a conversation with a coach and one with a friend?
Well, the conversation could run on similar lines or be very different. Those people that root for us because we have a close relationship with them get ‘on side’ with us and our thoughts very quickly. They seem to know how we are feeling. It’s why we like them and want to be around them. They understand and sympathise. They want the best for us.
The danger in this can be that the solutions they put forward come solely from how they would tackle the issue. It can actually make our problem seem small because they so quickly jump to an answer. These thoughts are not wrong - they can be useful and show they have our best interests at heart.
A lot of times, though, we will ignore this advice and sometimes pursue answers that we want to hear. Many pieces of advice fail. Quite often these fail to make a difference because we have not thought them through enough for ourselves.
A trained coach can understand our challenges and give us their complete attention. They will help us feel comfortable about expressing our thoughts. A great coach will feel, for all intents and purposes, like a friend; a confidant, someone with our interests at their heart. That interest is genuine because it is professional. Our success means they are a success. A coach wants us to achieve goals and overcome challenges. When they help us do this, others are drawn to them.
A second difference is they help us explore our options, choices and actions. When we make decisions based on such exploration we are far more likely to go and put those thoughts into action. A great coach will guide our thinking with their own. They listen to what we are saying whilst tapping into their own personal resources with the single goal of helping us. These resources may be other tools, training, and knowledge but also experience. It’s this that powers their questions and guides our thinking.
A coach does not replace a friend and friends are fantastic for sharing what’s happening to us. Friends can be good coaches but this is a rarity. A coach can really augment the natural help around us. They help us explore options, make choices and take action whilst bringing an array of expertise in helping us formulate our way forward. It’s a way forward that works for us.
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