Why Coaching Works — Timeless Wisdom for Modern Problems
“A coach can’t change you or do the work for you. So what good can a coach do? Isn’t it just an admission that there’s something wrong with you, that you aren’t smart enough, tough enough to change? Wouldn’t therapy be a better option?” These are legitimate concerns that someone recently expressed to me. She wasn’t sure how or why coaching works.
I was happy to explain why coaching works. The traditional thought is that therapy is for healing and coaching is for achieving excellence. However, I believe that drawing a line between the two creates a barrier to progress, because we are connected beings. My approach as a trained therapist and coach is to merge both disciplines into practical steps each individual can use to make progress at their own pace. This has worked extremely well for my clients.
Often coaching is not a matter of teaching clients, but rather helping them learn how to learn again. John Whitmore, author and founder of the GROW model of coaching, puts it so well,
“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is more often helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
The key to both healing and excelling is nurturing the ability to keenly listen to your body wisdom. It knows what you need and when you need it. I often tell my clients, “Your history is not behind you, it’s inside of you!” It’s a learning tool you carry with you daily to make the best decisions by comparing new information to what you already know.
To make this more memorable, let’s use timeless aphorisms to illustrate why coaching works…
Two heads are better than one. We only see a very narrow field of view because of our perspective. A well-read, well-traveled coach has gained many different perspectives she can share with you. Your interaction with her gives you an opportunity to interrupt your unconscious pattern of behavior and consciously choose your next step.
Make hay while the sun shines. Opportunities won’t wait for you. Too often we don’t feel confident enough. However, if you make a commitment to growth, you will be ready. A coach can help you be prepared physically, mentally and emotionally to leap when the right opportunity appears.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Sometimes we have no idea what to do. A dispassionate coach can calmly assess where you are compared to where you want to be and help you break the big goals down into baby steps that keep you moving forward.
Do not put too many irons in the fire. At other times there are so many things we try to do all at once, we do nothing well. A coach can help you realize which ideas are priorities and attainable. This clarity streamlines your efforts into actions that make a real difference.
A rolling stone gathers no moss. Momentum is a wonderful thing! As things begin to roll, you get excited and this accelerates your progress. Your coach’s continued encouragement and real-time feedback keeps your momentum going through gentle nudges and course corrections.
Every tide has its ebb. We love life’s ups, but we often get stuck in life’s downs. When things go wrong, discouragement and negative thinking can make you want to quit. But your coach can keep you accountable and help you to turn the situation to your advantage by seeing the good that can come out of it.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. As you dream big, it’s natural to become discontented with an aspect of your life. That’s what causes you to work toward change. However, discontent can spread into areas of life that you really don’t want to or need to change. A coach can help you pause, reassess and reconnect with your values. For example, she’d help you appreciate what you do have, so you’re not, for example, sacrificing your cherished family for fame and wealth.
Wonders will never cease. We can’t afford to lose our sense of curiosity about ourselves and others. A coach will help you start thinking in terms of questioning everything so that you learn something from every situation. How is your body reacting? How do you feel about it? What’s really happening here? What do you want to happen? What obstacle do you see? What led up to it? What could you have done differently? Questions…that’s how we keep our eyes and hearts open.
The long and short of why coaching works is that a person who invests in a coach, is consciously investing in themselves. It’s an act of saying I want to grow. I matter. I can make a difference. If you want to become a coach yourself, there are still a few spots available in the next Embodied Coach School course that starts January 21, 2022.