What sort of coach are you looking for?
Coaches not only have different types of training and approaches; they also have vastly differing styles. This should also form a part of your selection process and will depend on your preference, your situation, and the sort of change you are looking to make.
On one end of the spectrum is someone like your mother (that’s a cliché, there are all sorts). All-nurturing, all-forgiving, indulgent, loving everything you say or do, so you keep going as you were. On the other end of the spectrum is a drill sergeant (also a cliché - things are not like in the movies). Pushing you beyond form and concept so you forget who you were before and you panic at the thought of reporting back or the next interaction. Both of these are grotesquely oversimplified to illustrate the point.
A coach is somewhere in the middle, probably more towards the accountability side. There are situations where you need a more nurturing, stabilising presence, and there are situations where you might need someone to (re)light a fire in your heart, or under your, shall we say, feet. You contract with a coach for a reason, and getting support for change and being held accountable are key parts of that. Some of this will likely take you to the edge of your comfort zone and that is perfectly ok. It is not a bad sign; this means you get pushed (as you wanted to, that’s why you are doing this), and for some people the growing edge might well be allowing support, and that is a good thing to work on, too.
Everyone is different in what works for them, and every situation is different. And, as are you, your coach is a person with a style that has to do with who they are. They have a preferred 'band' on that spectrum that they operate in, while they flex depending on where you are, and where you need to be. If you have specific preferences (or things to be aware of in your personal history), it is a good idea to talk about this upfront with your prospective coach.
You will get a sense of who and how your coach is by having that first exploratory conversation, and by checking out their writing, their videos etc. on social media. Don’t get hung up on each individual post, but get a feel for the 'vibe', for the read thread. They might be quite formal, or quite casual and conversational for example. Both can be very effective, but not everything will work for you, and that is perfectly fine. You’d want to go with 'this resonates', but also 'if this person calls me out on something I can stick with the uncomfortable conversation'. You want to change something (or figure out what needs to happen next), and this means things are going to have to shift. Your coach’s job is to support you through this. Make this selection process a part of your exploration and increasing self-reflection.
Your change journey has already started, and this is very much a part of it.
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About Christine Locher
•Experience in high-pressure business environments and in international leadership roles (top five consulting).
•High "BS-o-meter" paired with deep compassion.
•Book author (2018) “The Decisive Edge – how exceptional leaders act on their values, intuition and integrity to make better decisions and increase impact”.… Read more
Located in Kingston and London.
Can also offer telephone / online appointments.
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