The Hardest Part of Coaching
We know firsthand what an enriching and rewarding experience coaching is. At the same time, we’ll admit that there are times when people get frustrated with the coaching process. Without understanding its challenges, some people may lose sight of the many benefits of coaching. Some may even give up on getting coached altogether.
Does this mean that the coach is bad at their job? Or that the client is uncoachable? Not necessarily.
In fact, with just a cursory understanding of the potential challenges of coaching, it’s pretty easy to turn a difficult process into an effective pairing. Here’s what you should know if you’re looking to work with a coach:
1. Do the heavy lifting
Coaches are trained to ask a lot of questions. They’re also trained to see problems and pitfalls faster than their clients—not because they’re smarter or better than their clients (most coachees are highly successful entrepreneurs, execs and creatives), but because they have an outside perspective that allows them to see blind spots more easily.
When this happens, resist the temptation to let your coach do all the heavy lifting. Answer their questions fully, give them all the details, go all in and see how your results improve. The more you put into coaching, the more you get out of it.
2. Seek your own answers
Rather than holding you accountable, a great coach will give you the tools to hold yourself accountable. It may surprise you to know that your coach isn’t tied to a specific outcome for you, nor are they focused on giving you all the solutions to your problems. An amazing coach will help you identify your roadblocks and clear the way so you can achieve your goals yourself, even after the coaching experience has ended.
3. Be open to change
Those who are reluctant to get coached likely don’t see a need to change. They may think that the outside world needs to change, not them. What they fail to realize is that they are 100% responsible for their results.
Ask yourself, would you be happy if you were in the exact same place in five years from now? What would be the cost of not making a change?
Embracing change during coaching is crucial. Holding onto past thinking patterns will keep you stuck.
4. Don’t expect empathy
Empathy can feel good sometimes. When someone else feels what you’re feeling, you may feel validated. But a great coach won’t empathize with you. That’s because if they start feeling exactly what you’re feeling when you’re down, they’ll feel down too and won’t be able to coach you effectively.
Think of a coach as a lifeguard. If you’re drowning at the edge of a pool, it’s their job to keep their feet firmly planted on the side of the pool, reach in and pull you out. If they were to jump in the pool and drown alongside you, they wouldn’t be able to help you.
5. Trust your coach
The benefits of coaching begin with trust. If you’re not willing to trust your coach completely, the path forward will be filled with roadblocks. A lack of trust can come from many places, but most often it comes from a fear of being seen as too vulnerable.
Thankfully, a coaching relationship will address the fear of being vulnerable and will help you see how vulnerability is a superpower, not a weakness. The more we open up to the most important people in our lives, the more we can learn, grow and find peace.
The benefits of coaching start with YOU
Some of this may sound like tough love. And that’s exactly the point: as coaches, we make you face hard truths when necessary, even if it may be uncomfortable. By shining a light on your blind spots and showing you how to move forward, you’ll feel far more in control of your own coaching process.
That’s the hardest part of coaching—accepting that it’s up to YOU to make the most of it. But the hardest part also goes hand in hand with the best part: once you realize it’s up to you, you unlock the absolute best benefits of coaching.