What is coaching and how can it make a difference?
Coaching is not just for executives or for when things go wrong; it’s not counselling, and it’s not mentoring. So, now we know what it isn’t, let’s explore what it is and what it can do for you.
Why do you choose a certain mindset?
Do you choose excitement over anxiety when doing something new? Remorse over celebration when a great book ends? Do you procrastinate over decision making when you have a new opportunity to consider? Whatever we choose to focus on, we feel but we don’t recognise this by ourselves naturally; by working with a coach, clients will learn to make their own resonant choices about what they choose to have as their focus.
We can often spend a long time considering the viability of things, talking ourselves out of trying things because we believe we can't achieve them. We focus inwards, listening to our inner critic - we don’t even consider the possibilities of what’s achievable if we faced our fear and then just took action and did it anyway, choosing a new perspective or lens to look through.
Overcoming our fears is made easier by working with a coach. An acronym often used is 'FEAR', standing for 'false evidence appearing real', which invites a new perspective with a lot less judgement from either yourself or your coach around your fears. This helps you to examine if the fear is a limiting belief which is no longer serving to protect you. A limiting belief is one which may have formed whilst growing up, maybe quite by accident, which may be holding you back from achieving your desired life. This is 'limiting', as often these beliefs seem like they are facts, truth even, when after further investigation we could find this may not be the case.
Some call it 'playing small' when we fear expanding our horizons and so live a less fulfilling life. All of us have our inner critic which pretends to be on our side, telling us we are not good enough, not attractive enough, pretending to save us from embarrassment. Its important role has been diminished in modern society; back in the stone ages it saved our lives and protected us from danger, but now it can hold us back. We need to learn when to take notice and when to ignore it, acknowledging when it’s just our saboteurs having a party at our expense. When listening to our inner critic, we can miss out on exploring our wider options and living a fulfilled life. Coaching can provide tools or management strategies to help keep our emotions working to our advantage.
You will also learn to connect with your inner mentor or best self, where all your wisdom and clarity lies, allowing you a greater understanding of yourself, recognising your own beliefs, values, and what makes you feel fulfilled, allowing you to have the ability to make resonant life choices. In turn, making it easier to channel your efforts in the right direction.
Working with a coach is not always easy - you need to want to change. Transformative change comes when you're ready to explore and work on what creates dissonance and what stops you achieving your goals. A coach will help you explore what you want your legacy to be, what impact you want to have, what difference you want to make to others, and the world around you.
How does coaching work?
Coach and client create a close relationship based on trust. The coach asks powerful questions leading you into your thoughts to find your brilliance, reconnecting with your self-belief, helping you to grow in confidence, secure in your authentic self, or maybe just helping you to find your mojo or motivation - whatever is missing for you.
Different types of coaching
The most common type of coaching is 'career coaching'. This is different from life coaching in that it’s usually far more practical, focusing on help with CV's, LinkedIn, and understanding the job market, added together with interview practice and preparation, and support finding your desired career to match your values.
Clients also come to coaching to be better leaders of people, to strategise the way forward in business. Leadership and executive coaching centres around enhancing the performance of the individual, thus increasing the performance of the business, in turn increasing the return on the investment made in coaching. Coaches can act as a sounding board, supporting the leaders to create smart plans to succinctly move forward in business. By coaching the whole person in all areas of their lives, they become more connected with themselves, which in turn naturally makes them better people managers and improves work-life balance.
Coaching for women
Some women have unique needs in coaching; they are naturally more self-critical and less self-assured about their own brilliance. Women are often brought up believing they are not as good as the next person. They also have to balance more work, home, children, family, holidays, cooking and cleaning. Before you think it, yes, I know the modern man has assumed a lot of these tasks too. Some Mums give themselves a harder time about not 'being there' for their children, partners or parents than men do; they become weighted down by their responsibilities, forgetting their brilliance. Coaching can have transformative results for women, and they are often astounded with what can be achieved when they work on themselves together with a coach.
A lot of the best sportspeople are acknowledged as having a professional coach to maximise their game, keep them motivated, and keep them focused on their goals - why should anyone in any other role be any different? Maybe it’s time to consider if you could benefit from coaching to help you navigate our modern society.