What I miss about having a professional coach

I was wrapping up a coaching call this week, and we got into a meta discussion about coaching. My coachee was wondering how my relationship with them compared to the relationships I’d had with my coaches. So I started thinking about the things I’d appreciated about the different times I’d been lucky enough to have a professional coach.

If you’re wondering about working with a coach, maybe knowing what they can leave behind with the people they work with will help you decide whether having a coach is for you.

Being listened to like you’ve never been listened to before

You probably have people in your life you can talk to: your friends and significant other are prime examples. The way a coach listens is different; we are professional listeners.

I remember feeling truly heard when one of my coaches reflected something I’d said back to me, and tied that back to something he’d heard me say months before.

Getting the time and space to work on myself and my future

Even though our culture seems more open to self care than it has at any point, a lot of people feel too busy or too guilty to set aside time to work on themselves.

I remember relishing that time and the structured approach my coach brought to bear on the problem of “future Tim”.

Finding and accessing different perspectives within myself

You are the expert in your own life; nobody knows what is going on in your head and heart better than you do. Likewise, no one knows how your hopes and dreams would look from alternate perspectives better than you.

I remember feeling stuck with what I thought was a particularly different decision, and my coach asking me how I might have seen the same decision at an earlier point in my life. The slight change in vantage point was enough to make what I wanted to do in the situation much clearer.

Consistent reminders of the power I have over myself and my reactions

There are lots of things you can’t control, or can only have a marginal or indirect impact on.

I remember feeling really stressed out and powerless about an organizational change at work. The questions my coach asked me helped me take my focus off of the questions I couldn’t answer about 6 months in the future and think instead about the things I could do in the days and weeks ahead.

Your coach should help you move more quickly, thoughtfully, and intentionally

I hope this is helpful for people who are trying to decide whether coaching is something they might want to try. I’d be happy to talk more with anyone who is interested, send me a DM on Twitter.

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