I have a love/hate relationship with the coaching industry and coaching in general. Having been a coach for over ten years and been coached over eleven years, I have seen the impact first hand of what coaching can do for you.
My gripes came in when the industry took a turn where it fed on the fears and insecurities of individuals rather than focusing on their strengths and potential for growth.
We saw that the industry was constantly telling people how they were somehow “wrong” if they didn’t easily make 6 figures (without talking about the amount of work and back end is takes to make that happen), living the laptop lifestyle (again having a marketable skill, automation, support and delegation are an important part of the success of this lifestyle) and everything that was “wrong” with you was based on energy, feelings, and belief systems.
I fell into it too. I went through a phase of trying to fix myself because I felt that I wasn’t good enough. I was reading all the marketing that was constantly telling me that in order to make me buy solutions so I wouldn’t feel that way. I worked with experienced coaches and newbies – I let all these people into my energy and my consciousness. I would get off a coaching call, feeling a little less like myself since I had taken on the energy of yet another person who was trying to get in my head. Who wanted to frame what I needed to solve in myself and why I needed to work with them.
The kicker really came to me in January this year, when I finally figured out the real reason why I would feel overwhelmed or feel a little depressed. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in myself, there was something wrong with me, or that past trauma was impacting me. It was because I had side effects from concussions that I didn’t realize were impacting me. My brain would become overstimulated in crowds, computer screens made me exhausted and unable to function, and fluorescent lights were energy suckers for me.
It was a sigh of relief knowing this was a concussion issue. What angered me was that I had invested heavily in the coaching industry thinking I had to fix something within myself when in reality, it was a physical challenge from past injuries.
What happened after is where the magic was. As I recovered from the concussions, I became more discerning about where I needed growth and where I needed compassion. I also became more discerning about what type of coaching I needed, what type of support I needed.
Do I regret all that I invested in coaching? No, not at all. It taught me who I really am at the core. It taught me to recognize what resonates and what doesn’t. And most importantly, it taught me how to trust myself. Yes, I could have invested a lot less and made fewer mistakes, but I have compassion for myself because in the end of it all, I gained so much as a person.
The coaching industry has flaws, but there is a real place for it as well. If I hadn’t wanted to grow into the person I am today, I wouldn’t have invested in myself. I strengthened my leadership skills, increased my productivity, learned to work smarter rather than harder, understanding my strengths and weaknesses, I learned to ask for help with more ease, trust others more when I have delegated, I also learned when I needed to leave a situation and know how to assess when to enter a new one.
Coaching is something I believe in strongly. I recommend everyone have a coach on a retainer that they can bounce ideas off, use as a soundboard, be accountable to, and who creates a container to allow your growth. Sometimes (most times), it is best to have someone outside of your normal day-to-day life provide the insights and shed light on your blindspots.
When choosing a coach, I recommend becoming clear on what your goal with coaching is. Then seek recommendations for coaches from people you trust. Know for yourself what is important for your own transformation- if they use tools, worksheets, emotional intelligence tests, etc. You may not know their tool in and out, but asking about their methods should be a part of the interview process. I encourage you to try interviewing a few coaches to find a fit of style of coaching.
Here are some key questions to ask when interviewing your prospective coaches:
- What type of people have you worked with before?
- What type of success have your past clients had?
- Where did you learn coaching techniques? (I strongly recommend engaging someone who has gone through a coaching program and has a coaching certificate. The ICF (International Coaches Certification) is great as well, but not all great coaches have it. Usually corporates, not individuals, are the ones that look for the ICF certification).
- What was their background before coaching? (The industry is unregulated, therefore it is important for you that they bring relevant experience and education.)
- What are their fees? (Remember that you are paying for their education, experience, skills, and talent over the years, so their coaching fees should reflect that experience.)
Everyone can benefit from coaching at different points in their career, but as it is a significant investment in yourself, make sure you find someone you want to work with and who you feel can provide the support you need!