How working with a coach is different than trying to apply self-help advice
I wanted to dive into this topic as it is quite common for people to try to apply self-help advise from books or online without success before deciding to reach out and work with a coach to overcome their challenges.
Most people are extremely overwhelmed by the amount of self-help advise they are consuming from internet, books or workshops. Often the amount of overwhelm is greater when reading a tonne of advice than the amount of overwhelm generated by the challenge itself. This happens because we can access a tonne of information about everything. It's easy to believe that that information will help us to solve our challenges. In some cases, it may help but some challenges are more complex than we think so finding the root cause can be very difficult.
Let’s take a common example:
Someone feels challenged around communicating assertively at the workplace and ends up taking on too many tasks. This person is also finding it difficult to say 'no’ because they are afraid of being judged by others, perceived as lazy, difficult or risk losing their job.
What the person does next is identify that communication is the challenge. They are willing to find ways of improving their communication, so they go on to Google or read a few self-help books - searching for the right answers. On the internet, they find endless free advice such as '5 steps to a successful conversation', 'The key to excellent communication', 'How to communicate effectively' and the list continues. After reading all this information they apply 1% of it or none! Consequently, the person feels, even more, overwhelmed, frustrated and powerless and has very little hope that they will overcome this challenge.
So why does the free advice you read on the internet or in self-help books fail to give you effective solutions to your challenges?
If we continue the thread of the above example, it may on the surface look like communication is the real challenge when what lays underneath is the fear of being judged or rejected by others. Those fears will block any human from speaking out for themselves, set up personal boundaries or say 'no' when needed. In this case, the inability to communicate assertively is just the tip of the iceberg so the free internet advice or books are unlikely to help. They may be tempted to work on what they notice at the surface level (behaviour), try hard to use their free will, but this may not get them very far. What they need to do is identify the root cause of their behaviour.
Fears are deeply rooted in us, they are difficult to identify and change. Most likely they are showing up in many areas of life, disguised in different forms of unhealthy behaviours.
How is working with a coach different from trying to apply the self-help advice?
- You will have dedicated and professional support tailored on your own needs. A coach will work with you from a neutral space focusing on your agenda and needs. The approach of the coach is different from client to client and is not one size fits all!
- The coach will be able to support you in this challenge by noticing conflicting statements and blind spots. We all have our blind spots and having someone neutral alongside whilst you navigate your challenges will help you see a broader and clearer picture.
- Will help you understand 'why' you are doing what you are doing. Understanding the why will eliminate any trace of blame or shame that you may have towards yourself or others
- Will enable you to access your personal power and change your narrative. We are all making up stories and meanings about situations in our lives but some of them are toxic and unhelpful. We can, however, change the story with a more useful one and generate positive emotions.
- Working with a coach will bring out the best of you whilst shining a light on things that require attention and shifting. This may generate a little discomfort for you but is not greater than the amount of discomfort you experience by not working on your challenges and remaining stuck in the same situation for years
- You will be able to match your actions with your own personal values. This means you will no longer do things because others are doing them but rather create actions that feel truthful and important to you. This may feel a little weird at the beginning if you are used to searching for answers in the outside world rather than trusting yourself but is well worth it! This will boost the trust in yourself and the sense of autonomy.
- It is cost and time effective. Trying to overcome certain challenges and notice the blind spots by yourself is difficult and energy consuming and may take years. Working with a coach will help you pinpoint the issues and punctually work on them by taking small and actionable steps in your day to day life.
- You will normally see results after the first session and will be able to massively improve different areas of your life within two to three months. You will not save time or money rumbling around on your own trying to figure out ways forward.
If you did everything you could by trying to apply a tonne of self-help advise and not getting the desired results, then it may be good to reach out and start working with a coach.
Your life will absolutely change for the better!