I’ve been maintaining a consistent presence on my new website and social media lately, and I can’t help but notice that the coaching space is particularly loud. There is so much advice to be taken–you can read differing opinions on one same topic in one minute, and be on a completely unrelated topic the next. Maintaining anyone’s attention for more than a minute is truly a big ask. I want to take a few minutes to speak to this gap and help do some of the work for you in determining what kind of coach you should be looking for.
My clients are not looking for a pot of gold. And I am not a coach pushing promises of success beyond their wildest dreams. Typically, my clients have experienced levels of what society brands “success.” Often they are in a high-level leadership position, or have started a business or two of their own. They are individuals who may appear to have everything they need, but in real life things are much more complicated. While I am an “executive” coach, I have found the way to affect real change is by dealing with the whole person.
The correlation between size of paycheck and amount of happiness is zero. For individuals who have spent much of their adult lives pursuing concrete material goals, it can be a shock to the system to realize how far on the back burner they have pushed everything else. While I firmly believe that the concept of work-life balance is a myth, it is often these non-work related areas like family, spirituality, and fun that need to be addressed the most.
Failure is more than platitudes and inspirational quotes. Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. I just pulled these two out of the inspiration well, and there are lots more of them down there. I like them, they contain truth. But part of the reason we use sound bites like these to talk about success and failure is because it’s so complicated. At its simplest, failure is not functioning correctly. Sometimes we accomplish something but don’t feel as good as others seem to expect we should. Sometimes there is something hampering your ability to function correctly and you just don’t know what it is. Again, the complex reality of the situation trumps society’s simplified expectations.
It’s going to take a lot more than five minutes or six steps. Because the Internet is such a loud place, there is a lot of demand for (and therefore also a healthy supply of) quick and easy answers. Six Steps to Turn Your Life Around, a 5-minute read, and BOOM! Honey, I’m home. Everything’s great. I think by now we’ve learned this doesn’t work for diets, doesn’t work for investing, and definitely doesn’t work for coaching.
I look for clients that are seeking a professional one-on-one coaching relationship. My clients need to be willing and ready to ask themselves tough questions and do work that is often difficult on a personal level. They have to be ready to be held accountable to the concrete goals that we set together. They must understand that coaching is personalized work. We can offer general advice that will be positive for most anyone, but true progress is made on the individual level.
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