It’s International Coaching week and so I thought I might write a piece on the benefits of working with a coach to reach your goals. I’m fortunate enough to have been the coach and the coachee and wanted to share both sides of my experience. Let’s start with the basics:
What is coaching?
Coaching is about clarifying what you really want and finding a sustainable way for you to get what you want; coaching is not about having someone else motivate you to do the things you don’t want to do but know you should do.
Coaching is about having a partner who helps you elicit your own inner wisdom and clarity, helps you see where you stand in your own way, and helps you get unstuck; it is not about having a coach give you advice and tell you what to do.
Benefits of working with a coach
There are so many benefits to being coached.
From a careers perspective you will improve your productivity by setting achievable goals and having accountability from your coach. The International Coaching Federation did a survey and found that in addition:
🌟 72% people strengthen their communication skills
🌟 70% of people improve their work performance
🌟 67% of people create better work life balance
🌟 80% increase their self confidence
Why I love coaching people
So that’s what coaching is and what my role as coach is but what I haven’t said yet is how rewarding it is. I love seeing the lightbulb moments or the shedding of a belief that no longer serves the person. I am fascinated by people’s stories, career and life stories and am often inspired by them. As I watch people step out of their comfort zones and achieve things they didn’t believe they could I feel so much pride. Not dissimilar to how I feel watching my own children develop. For me and many other coaches we are drawn to help people develop and we find ourselves doing it all around us!
My own experience of being coached
But I think some of this love comes from having been coached myself. I’m able to empathise with those initial feelings of being stuck, lost, overwhelmed with choice and not knowing where or how to start. I remember the feeling of relief that it wasn’t just me and how empowered I felt to release those limiting beliefs that I’d believed for so long.
Return to work coaching
My first experience of coaching was a year after I’d returned to work after the arrival of my eldest daughter. I was going through the motions at work but I couldn’t find my place in the team. I was frustrated, resentful and was starting to hate a job I’d always loved. So I asked a friend if she’d mentor me, she agreed but asked my permission to do some coaching too. I didn’t really understand the difference but agreed anyway. The first couple of sessions it would be fair to say I ranted! I released those feelings of frustration. Tracey mostly listened which I really appreciated.
Clarity of mind
Then in the third session we did an exercise whereby I had to observe the situation from my own perspective, that of a particular colleague and as an objective observer. I realised that I was creating the situation and was in full victim mode. A lightbulb went off in my head and all if a sudden the fog cleared. With this new information I realised I was making a choice and so I could also choose a different choice. With Tracey’s help I did make a different choice. I chose to upgrade my skills and become a coach so that I could help others like she had helped me.
The hidden benefit of coaching for me
I know if Tracey was reading this she would say that I did all the work, just like I say to my clients. However, as the coachee it really feels like the coach unlocks something within you. It feels like you couldn’t have done it without them. With my coaching hat on I would argue that of course you could…but I recognise that it comes from the fact that when you are in the midst of the issue it’s hard to see HOW to move forward. Once I could see the problem clearly, I could make a plan (with my coach) to move towards my goal. It was an added bonus to have someone who didn’t judge me and who cheered me on from the sidelines. This was one of the hidden benefits of working with a coach.
Since that first session in 2014 I have continued having coaching. Why? Because developing yourself is a lifelong process, once you get rid of one limiting belief, you find another! I haven’t had continuous coaching. I use the skills and tools I have to do a lot of it myself, but sometimes, I am too close to the situation and having a coaching session with someone else helps me get unstuck.