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When Hiring a Coach is a Great Idea

Some scenarios in which investing in coaching makes uniquely great sense

Year endings are a time when people naturally take stock and look ahead. As one year ends and a new one begins, the timing is right to both look back on the challenges and successes of the past and to think about your goals for the coming year. Having a coach is an excellent idea for everyone, regardless of what month it happens to be or what you’re up to in life. Yet the mere prospect of a new year on the horizon could incentivize you to hire a coach to get clarity on your goals for the coming year and to create both a clear plan of action and support strategy.

If a new year alone doesn’t propel you to invest in coaching as a support structure, consider that there are other contexts in which hiring a coach makes uniquely great sense.

You are taking on a new project.

Any new project will likely require new skills, strategies and approaches. There could be lots of unknowns and new territory. Incidentally, “unknowns” and “new territory” are perfect playgrounds for coaching! You may have a clear picture of what you are looking to create and how to go about creating it.  Then again, you may not. In either case, a coaching relationship can offer additional support.

Your coach will challenge you to generate a clear vision of what you intend to produce, and you will learn for yourself why this project is meaningful to you. What is the significance of the project to you and for your life? With that clarity, you can work together to make a plan, identify and use all available skills, resources and support structures and form an effective system of accountability. In these ways, coaching will help you to execute your project with vision and purpose. You will also have the advantage of being held accountable by your coach as you move through the milestones of your project. With coaching, new projects are likely to be completed faster and without some of the typical pitfalls causing sabotage, such as lack of motivation and burnout. 

You are in transition.

Powerful coaching can help you in many ways during transitional periods. Perhaps you are in the midst of personal transition, such as becoming a parent, going through a divorce, moving, becoming an empty nester or embarking on a new romance. Maybe you are in professional transition, in the form of looking for a job, starting a job, assuming new responsibilities or charting a totally different career path. It could be that you are in more than one transition. Maybe you chose the transition(s), and maybe you didn’t.

In any and all of these scenarios, coaching is useful. A good coach will partner with you to make peace with the past and look ahead to what is next for you. In the coaching relationship, you will be challenged to distinguish your default habits and predictable patterns, so that you can clarify for yourself how you’d like it to go differently in the new phase you are entering. With that clarity, you can begin to design your life intentionally and put in place any necessary support structures. Most importantly, having a coach during a transition will support you to take control of your life and will teach you that you get to say how the transition and new venture go for you. These critical awarenesses and skills will make a difference for you now and for the rest of your life.     

You are a new manager of people.

Perhaps you have a new position or additional professional responsibilities requiring you to oversee people for the first time (and even if not for the first time, you’ve never managed these particular people before). You have measurable goals for your team to achieve that you’ve set yourself or that have been set by someone higher up in your company. How will you create the collaborative team culture you want while meeting or exceeding all performance expectations? How do you go about ensuring that every one of your direct reports is invested in his or her role and bringing his or her highest and best to the job? What are the best ways to communicate expectations while building relationships and trust?

These questions don’t have clear-cut answers, since they depend on so many variables. That said, a coaching relationship is an effective space in which to explore and answer the questions. Moreover, with the support of a coach, you can practice implementing the solutions and strategies you generate. You can work with your coach to distill the team culture you want to create and the one that will maximize everyone’s potential. And then you can engage with your team, learn what works and what doesn’t and continue to partner with your coach to hone your optimal managerial and leadership style. 

You are looking to create a more fulfilling life experience.

Sometimes a coach can help to create the elusive work-life balance that will have you enjoying your life more consistently. Coaches typically decry the very concept of “work-life balance” (in fact, if you google “work life balance is bullsh*t”, you’ll get a surprising number of hits), so perhaps the better moniker is “integration.”  In either case, what this looks like will differ from one person to another, since we all have different values and priorities.

This is the first place a coach can be useful in this arena. With a coach, you can distill your core values and priorities. This sounds simple, but the truth is that people don’t typically give themselves time and space to explore what really matters to them. Consequently, their lives can be dictated by external forces and obligations, as opposed to created intentionally. With values clarified, you can work together to design a life that is aligned with what you care about most. Perhaps your coach could support you to organize your life, implement a more effective and satisfying schedule, and create space for experiences you currently don’t give yourself time to enjoy. Coaching will give you permission to create the life you really want and the tools to build and live it.

These are just a few situations in life when working with a coach can be particularly helpful. There are countless others. Notice at least two commonalities in all of these circumstances: 1) there’s some gap that is being addressed and 2) it’s a conversation about the future.

Coaching is a powerful support structure, and working with a coach could be the thing that helps you achieve your goals with clarity, power, speed and purpose. If you’re curious, most coaches will offer a complimentary first session so that you can experience for yourself the value it could bring to your life.

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