Breakthrough The New Frenzy: What Is Coaching?

What is coaching?

Everyone and their mother is a coach these days, creating this “ick” factor when you think of coaching. It’s not regulated, meaning you can be a coach with little experience or education.

On the one hand, that barrier to entry is empowering for people who want to kick off their business or start a side hustle, yet for the people being coached, it’s not clear, especially when the price tag is almost the same as a Gucci Purse.

So when you’re an emerging leader, and you’re looking for extra support to help you get to that next level, you want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Consider the coach’s communication skills, ability to establish rapport and trust, and commitment to fostering self awareness and self confidence. This ensures that your coaching experience is worth the investment and tailored to your specific needs as you strive for that next leadership level.

You might have questions like:

  • What is coaching?
  • How do I know if I’m hiring a good coach?

In this article, I will answer those questions for you. I am a student with the Co-active Training Institute, so my perspective will be based on that training.

I’d also encourage you to read my other articles :

So, what exactly is coaching?

Coaching definition

Laughing together in a coaching session, building rapport and a strong support system.

Coaching is about creating a space, a relationship with the coach, where the focus is entirely on you. It’s about being present with your current reality while taking steps to move you towards your goals and dreams. Coaching differs from other modalities and tools because the coach isn’t giving you advice, sharing their experiences, and telling you what to do. They are specifically trained in self-management and asking you questions, so they don’t do this.

Instead, they are asking powerful questions, challenging you to seek the answers within. This can be quite a shift if you’re not generally a reflective person. It can feel uncomfortable, messy, and really challenging at times. That’s the point.

Coaching aims to help you go inwards, to activate your inner resources instead of seeking them externally. It involves building rapport with your coach and establishing a connection that fosters trust and openness, contributing to self confidence.

I can guarantee you have more answers than you think, and it’s just about learning to listen and to trust in them. Developing self awareness is a crucial aspect of coaching, and it goes hand in hand with building rapport and self confidence. This isn’t to say that mentorship, consulting, and getting external feedback are bad things. Those tools are also incredibly useful. However, it’s not coaching.

How do I know if I’m hiring a good coach?

What is a good coach for you might not be a good coach for me.

Why do you want to hire a coach?

So, Step 1 is to figure out why you want to hire a coach?

What problem do you hope they can help you solve or gain clarity on?

  • Are you stuck in life or work and need a space to comb through it?
  • Higher or more consistent sales in your business.
  • Or it’s more about accountability around your health and wellness goals. 

What kind of a coach do you want to hire?

Step 2 is thinking about what kind of a coach you want to hire?

Is it necessary for you that they be certified as a coach?

I’ve worked with both certified and uncertified coaches, and they were just different. Certified coaches tend to have a more professional flow and structured approach. Uncertified coaches tend to fall back on their experiences more.

Going through the co-active coach training program, I’m learning how many skills there are to learn as a coach. Things like different tools for working with clients, active listening and mirroring, and creating a transformative coaching experience by designing your relationship at the beginning and going through a specific sequence of events to cultivate that.

Do you want them to have been through what you’re experiencing?

Many of my clients relate to and hire me because of my experiences. They know I get it because I’ve been there, too, and something is unique about shared experiences. 

  • My journey with mental health issues includes anxiety, panic attacks and burnout because I want to work with someone who gets it. 
  • I’m a yoga teacher and energy worker, so I include that in my coaching sessions or recommendations for the next steps.
  • I’m a CPA who built and led finance/business operations teams, so I understand finance and business operations leaders’ struggles
  • worked in tech, so I understand the environment and hustle that goes along with it.
  • As a women professional and business owner, I understand the conditioning and learning curves that come with navigating those areas.
  • As a business owner, I understand what it’s like to make inconsistent money, run into cashflow issues, or need help finding ways to grow. 
  • I’m a high-level professional who lived in Toronto, so I understand the identity shift it takes to reinvent yourself in an entirely new direction.

I’ve also hired coaches with different backgrounds because I wanted new perspectives. I liked the challenge and for them to challenge my thinking. There isn’t a right or wrong answer; the key is to ask yourself what will serve you the best. Building self confidence in your decision-making process is vital.

How much experience do you want them to have in coaching?

Newer coaches are excited, with a strong desire to help since they are new to the industry. They are also less expensive because they are growing their business, want to get more experience and clients.

Experienced coaches will have more experience and tools in their toolkits. They’ll be less afraid to tell you how it is and challenge you. They might have a proven method or have had a lot of clients go through what you’re going through.

And what else is essential for you in a coach?

What else is important for you? Sample coaching session, coaching approach, accountability.

It’s okay not to have all the answers, and be bold and ask a potential coach many questions. Effective communication is crucial in establishing a strong coaching relationship.

Here are some things you might want to ask about:

Sample coaching sessions

Some coaches offer sample sessions to determine whether the coaching relationship fits. Your rapport with the coach is essential, so trust in yourself and the initial camaraderie. Pay attention to how the coach engages in active listening during these sessions, as it reflects their communication skills.

Working together

Ideally, you will design your alliance collaboratively to address your needs for effective communication, listening, and rapport in the coaching relationship. Be proactive in expressing your expectations and what you require from the relationship. Given the cost of coaching, aligning your goals and expectations, while fostering self awareness, is crucial. Additionally, recognize that this collaborative dialogue should persist throughout the coaching relationship, ensuring ongoing refinement and alignment.

Coaching approach

Are they a coach who will listen and help you find the answers through effective communication and rapport-building? Or are they more of an advisor telling you what to do? Or a mentor sharing their experiences with you. None of it is right or wrong, but it’s essential to understand this before going into a coaching relationship.

Accountability and subsequent actions

One of the key benefits of coaching is creating the following action together and accountability so the client sees progress and transformation; however, not all coaches do this. If this is important to you, ask about it. This also ties into self confidence, as setting and achieving goals can boost your confidence.

Notes and record keeping

Some coaches record coaching sessions, some provide an email recap of the coaching session, and some do none of that. Clarify your coach’s note-taking role, along with their approach to record-keeping. This clarification will help you understand whether you need to keep your own notes. The benefit of not having to worry about notes is that you can be fully immersed in the coaching experience, fostering self awareness and deep reflection throughout the process.

Final Thoughts

This isn’t an exhaustive list, so do some of your own research and take some time to really think about what you’re looking for in a coach and what expectations you have. Don’t be afraid to voice them!

Effective communication is crucial in expressing your needs and expectations. I challenge you to get clear on what is important to you, what you’d like to get out of the coaching, and what kind of coach will serve your growth and journey right now.

Establishing a strong rapport with your coach and fostering self awareness about your goals can significantly impact the effectiveness of the coaching relationship. Be bold and voice your expectations to ensure a coaching experience that aligns with your desires for growth and development.

Are you looking for a coach? My focus areas are leadership, career progression, business growth and chronic stress / burnout for emerging leaders. Schedule a connection call with me. Let’s explore the possibilities.

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