In honor of International Coaching Week, February 6 through 12, I am posting a series of short articles about coaching.
One of the first things I learned in my coach training is to work with the willing. Not everyone wants or is ready for coaching. Those who want coaching might not be very coachable. The people who get the most out of coaching have a certain set of characteristics. If you’re interested in coaching, ask yourself the following questions to find out if you would truly benefit (coachable people will answer “yes” to most or all).
Do you have a compelling vision and a clear goal?
Do you know what you want? If you aren’t sure what you want, it is difficult (or impossible) to create it. There’s only so far you can go before you’ll get stuck. If you have a vague idea, spend some time crafting your vision of how you want things to be. When you have a clearer picture, you will be ready for coaching. If all you can think is “I just want it to be different than it is now!” or “I don’t want this!” then definitely spend some time imagining what “different” might look like and how you do want things to be! Coachable people have a specific, positive goal or vision in mind, from a short-term project to a big picture.
Are you future-oriented?
Coachable people are ready to move forward. They may learn from the past and take lessons from the present, but they do not allow themselves to wallow in the existing story. They aren’t so much trying to figure out why things went wrong or how they got here as they are trying to build a new future.
Are you open to change and growth–quite possibly beyond your comfort zone?
Coaching is about creating change. Getting what you want and crafting the life you envision requires change, sometimes quite a lot of it. Change leads to growth; growth leads to transformation. Change can be scary. You must be open to it to benefit from coaching. If you aren’t truly interested in change, then coaching isn’t for you.
Are you open to honest feedback?
Can you learn and grow from feedback? In the process of coaching, you’ll get honest feedback, sometimes from the coach, sometimes from other people, and often from yourself as you plunge the depths of your own knowledge and wisdom. Criticism stings (and we can be very hard on ourselves), but constructive feedback can shape your path in a positive way. Can you handle feedback, accept it, and move forward in wisdom?
Are you ready to work?
Coaching can open doors, create opportunities, and help you chart your path. No one can walk that path but you, and it requires taking action. The work may be spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, or all of these things. If you are passive and expect change to come to you, then you won’t get much out of coaching. If you expect that the mere fact that you are being coached will change everything, you will be disappointed. If you don’t put in the effort, you won’t see the reward. You should be ready for change, and you should be ready to make it happen.
Are you focused on something within your control?
A key to coaching is to be sure that you are focused on something within your control to do something about. You cannot change things like time, the laws of physics, and other people. People waste a lot of energy trying to change or influence things they can’t control (for instance, how someone else treats them). If you focus on yourself and your own thoughts, feelings, and actions, you will be able to make real change in a significant way. Through coaching and vision work, you can then imagine and notice how your individual changes might have ripple effects in those around you and the world at large.
Are you ready to invest time, energy, and money in coaching to get results?
Creating the future you want takes effort and work. It also takes time, thought, energy, and, yes, money. Coaching can be a valuable tool to help you get what you want, but it will only work if you feel your goals are worth the investment. Studies are showing that the return on investment for coaching (in business) is three to seven times the dollar amount spent. Instead of looking at coaching as an added cost burden or luxury expense (as many do), look at your goals and your life and ask this: “Am I worth it?” Coaching is an investment in yourself.
You may not be a good candidate for coaching if one or more of the following is true for you.
- You’re looking for a quick fix or easy answers
- You just want to complain or get validation for what you’re already doing (even if you’re taking no action at all)
- You tend to avoid taking responsibility (“It’s not my fault!”), pointing a finger of blame at other people and things
- You don’t really want to change
- You’re focused on things that aren’t within your control (other people’s behavior and actions)
If you’re willing to let go of these things, you might be ready for coaching.
Tomorrow: Laura’s Path to Coaching and Her Approach