What is coaching anyway? (Part 3)

I’ve shared my thoughts previously on what coaching is from my perspective, and also in the words of some of my fellow coaches. Now I thought I’d share probably the most important perspective: what coaching clients say about coaching.

I have been working with clients in arrange of situations: people who want to get promoted or change roles but aren’t quite sure how, people who want to make some kind of change but are swamped with their work and family commitments, people who are weighing up two or more options in some area of life and want help creating a framework for decision making, people who are searching for what they would love to do, and people who have a long-held dream that for many reasons haven’t been able to move towards.

Many of my clients are new to coaching but have a hope that maybe this could help – they are sick of having the same thing on their ‘to do’ list without seeing any movement, they are sick of telling their family and friends about the issue, or they are yearning for some encouragement and fresh ideas about their situation, from someone without a vested interest in any particular outcome.

And I can honestly say, that the vast overwhelming majority are surprised by just how helpful it can be.

They say things like:

“I have much more trust in my own ability to make this decision now”

“I have really shifted my focus, and am working in a new way now”

“I feel excited! I know what the next steps are”

“It feels great to get started”

…and what I especially love to hear: “I don’t feel so alone anymore”

I think that coaching helps create a team for people who are trying to work on something by themselves, and are stuck with their old ways of approaching a situation. As Barbara Sher says, ‘isolation is the dream killer.’ The sessions give a constancy to the issue, a regular patch of time in a busy week to reflect and consider the issue. Clients respond well to having someone ‘on their side’ who accepts them exactly as they are: as real, flawed, busy people who are well intentioned but who (just like me!) don’t always do their homework, as people who have multiple commitments and interests, and who sometimes feel overwhelmed, shortn of ideas, scared and alone when it comes to the things that are most important to them.

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