Mills: Pros and cons of coaching

Personal and professional coaching is not just becoming more common, it has become a mainstream way of increasing one’s success in life.

Personal and professional coaching is not just becoming more common, it has become a mainstream way of increasing one’s success in life.

Whether is it career coaching, life coaching or executive coaching, the value has been well documented.

Whenever I provide coaching, I am very respectful of the personal risks involved for my clients.

What I mean is that receiving coaching requires one to be vulnerable, to share private information and to trust that the coach will not judge what he/she hears but rather use it to help move the client forward.

For those new to coaching, entering into a coaching agreement may seem like a leap of faith at first. It is.

That is why it is important that you do your homework before you choose a coach.

Finding a coach who has been professionally trained is critical.

He or she will understand the importance of setting up a safe environment that honours confidentiality, reserves judgement and encourages personal growth.

The success of the coaching relationship will depend on the qualifications and competence of your coach as well as the dynamic between the two of you.

Each coach will have an individual style and you will want to find someone whose approach is compatible with your personality.

The key things you can expect from a good coach are: to get more focus, new information and/or perspectives on issues you may have been grappling with for a while, someone to hold you accountable for your own progress (or resistance to it) and, a cheerleader of sorts, who will celebrate every small and big success with you.

Getting focused is the foundation of coaching.  It can help you to cut through a lot of information, data and emotions to get to the heart of whatever issue is pushing you to make changes in your life.

That is why the front end of a coaching arrangement will typically involve a personal questionnaire, self assessments, and a lot of talking.

Taking the time to gather all this information upfront is important because it helps both you and your coach to understand your behaviour within the bigger picture of your life.

It also provides a rich source of data to promote understanding of certain behavioural patterns—both positive and negative.

Next you will identify what you want to change, typically with two or three things is plenty to start.  Your coach can help you to refine your coaching plan, set clear goals and create checkpoints for your progress.

The coaching process from here is a combination of ongoing reflection and action.  The coach’s job is to keep you moving through that process in a supportive way that also holds you accountable.

It is surprising how much of a difference it can make when there is someone to report in to who is cheering you on.  Successful coaching is built on trust and requires a personal commitment to making positive change from both parties.

It is a true partnership.

The benefits of coaching are just touched on here and every coaching arrangement is unique.  One thing is common though—successful coaching can be a life altering experience.

My own experience, both as a coach and as someone receiving coaching, has proven that time and again.

The subject matter in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional advice.

Laurie Mills is a certified coach and human resource professional. Her company is Lighthouse Professional Development Consulting Services.



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