Coaching Myths & Facts
Good coaching focuses on an individual's strengths and aims to help the client achieve what they want more of in life and at work. The goal? To help the client identify and achieve their greater goals and to help them live a better life. A good coach isn't there to "fix" anyone, but to help the client navigate toward a more engaged and compelling future.
Myth: Personal coaches can only help you reach personal goals / Professional coaches can only help you reach business goals.
Fact: A good coach is someone who is an expert at helping others create positive change in their lives. For some clients, the positive change they most want may be focused on personal goals such as relationships, time management, work-life balance, stress reduction, simplification, health, etc., but other clients may be more interested in professional or business goals such as leadership, getting a promotion, starting a business, etc. An effective coach works with the client to help them live a better, richer life - regardless of their type of goals.
Myth: Personal coaching takes too much time.
Fact: Professional coaching is a high-leverage activity. Clients can achieve remarkable progress toward their desired future in a couple hours of coaching per month. There is a wide spectrum of how coaching is delivered. Some coaches prefer to meet one-on-one with clients in an office, but most recommend telephone sessions for the ease of use, minimization of distractions, better privacy, greater efficiency, and for (yes, apparently) better connection to the client. Best practices in coaching call for between two and four sessions per month that last at least 20 minutes and up to 60 minutes. A sweet spot for many coaches and clients seems to be three sessions per month for 20 to 45 minutes a session - a minuscule investment of time for the results achieved.
Myth: Life coaches are like having a good friend to bounce ideas off and to keep you motivated.
Fact: Your coach may be friendly, but they are not your friend. Your coach is your advocate. They want the best from you. They will work with you to help you reach your goals and to succeed. Your coach will hold you accountable and challenge you to grow and do more than you think you can do. They may push, pull, and stretch you in ways that may feel uncomfortable. And unlike a friendship, the coaching relationship is unilateral - it is exclusively focused on you and your goals, not the coach, his family, his golf handicap, or what she did over the weekend.
Myth: Professional coaches tell their clients what to do and give them advice.
Fact: Bad or inexperienced coaches tell their clients what to do and are constantly giving advice. Good coaches do not. Most clients realize they don't need another parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker telling you what you should be doing. Instead, coaches help their clients explore and come up with the best choices for them based on where they are and the client's vision for their future. Coaches are experts at the process of changing behavior, which is much more valuable than giving instructions.
Myth: Coaching is expensive.
Fact: Coaching can cost a great deal of money. Harvard Business School's "What can Coaches do for You?" research whitepaper reports some executive coaches cost up to $3,500 for an hour of coaching. While this is an extreme, most personal coaches charge a monthly fee between $1500 to $2,000 a month. What this means is that either there are a lot of really stupid people wasting their money on coaching each month or they are getting results worth at least the cost of their coach.
Myth: Professional coaching is spiritual and relies on "harnessing the energy in the universe."
Fact: I have no idea what "harnessing the power of the universe" means, and my guess is that most professional coaches don't either. When I first started researching coaching, I was under the impression coaching involved lots of chanting, incense, meditation, and other spiritual practices. While there are many great spiritual coaches that may incorporate these practices into their session, most coaches are practical, professional, business people who are focused on tangible results, not airy-fairy mysticism. You can leave your granola and Birkenstocks at home.
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