Over the last two weeks, almost all my individual clients have had moments I describe as a ‘coaching crisis’. I’m not talking about a mental breakdown. I’m talking about the moments in which people decide there’s an issue so urgent they want to talk it over with someone else – they want and value an outside opinion, and their friends, family and regular confidantes just won’t do.
Forgive me for saying so, but I love these moments. I don’t love that clients enter looking (and perhaps feeling) a little distressed. I love that they exit feeling relieved.
Here are 5 reasons why an coach can help you resolve your crisis of the moment:
- A coach has no preconceived notion of what the outcome should look like. A coach doesn’t bring a solution to the problem. Rather, a coach should help you explore and expand your thoughts, your feelings and your solutions. We’ve all had the friend, partner, colleague or acquaintance that wanted to immediately problem solve for us, as soon as we described a scenario we were dealing with. A coach doesn’t have to do that, and more importantly, shouldn’t do that. There are moments for observations, but most often, a coach creates a safe environment in which you can wrestle with a problem or situation without fear of repercussion.
- A coach doesn’t have to avoid asking the tough questions. Avoidance is a common coping strategy. In general, people seek out moments that create pleasure / happiness and seek to avoid pain / unhappiness. A coach should ask the tough questions, bring experience and knowledge to bear on the situation and, most importantly, support you in working through the problem at hand to arrive at a solution that is right for you. When done correctly, this process takes situations that formerly caused stress and re-frames them in a more positive light.
- A coach isn’t judgmental. We all have our own issues – those things that trigger us. People respond differently to stimuli or events. What may cause me anxiety might not bother you at all. Often, our responses to specific incidents developed when we were young. For example, someone may have learned to deal with anger by raising his/her voice, while another person may cope by shutting down. A coach doesn’t cast a judgment on your strategy for dealing with a specific issue. It is the goal of a coach to help you assess whether the strategy you’re using is working for you and, if necessary, help you identify and use a different strategy.
- A coach is another listening ear. There are always going to be moments when we doubt ourselves and need validation of our ideas, strategies or judgments. Coaching sessions are a great place to chat it out, bake the ideas the rest of the way or even ask someone to challenge your thinking. A coach can play the role of temporary business partner, colleague, investor, or family member to allow you to explore deeper your thoughts before moving to action. Preparation almost always improves outcomes.
- A coach can say the words you’re trying to say or the words you need to hear. So many times I find myself repeating my clients’ words back to them. I might paraphrase them, but they’re definitely my clients’ words. It’s the act of hearing the words come from someone else that matters. Just as frequently, clients will respond to me, “Wow. That’s it.” (Secretly, when they do, I think of Glenda, the Good Witch saying, “You had it in you all along.”) Validation. It feels good to have someone else say what we’re thinking, to agree with us, to support us. However, sometimes, I have to send the messages my clients need to hear to ensure they are aware of and have worked through all facets of the situation. It’s much better to hear those words for the first time in a safe environment (where you can get a ‘do over’ and ask for advice or help) than to hear them when dealing with the actual problem.
So if you’ve never had a coach, because you think you’re too smart or perhaps you just didn’t know what a coach could do for you, take a minute and re-consider. You may be surprised what comes out of the relationship – accelerated action, more powerful strategies, greater personal satisfaction, the sky’s the limit. You decide what you want. A coach helps you get there.
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr’s Creative Commons – axlape