Have you ever thought this or said any of these things?
…A coach is for people who are struggling and need help.
…A coach is for people who can’t think for themselves and need someone to tell them what to do.
…A coach is someone who get’s paid because the client needs someone to talk to.
…A coach is just the latest “flavor of the month” thing that really doesn’t help anyway.
…A coach is a waste of time (and money) and I could be doing something more productive.
Is that what you think? Some people do. People hear this thing called coaching and imagine all sorts of things: a counselor who disguises what they do as “coaching” so the client won’t feel bad, a person who is “incognito” and comes in and helps an employee who is a mess get their act together so they don’t get fired, a person who doesn’t have the credentials or experience to be something else so they label what they do “coaching.”
In reality coaching is some of that and none of that. Coaches do help people. But most clients are the high potential and high value people who are worth the investment. Coaches are thinking partners for people but they mostly help by asking and not by telling. Coaches do get paid. Many of the coaches worth getting paid are certified by the International Coach Federation (ICF) who require a certain number of approved coach training hours, a written test, oral tests, mentor coaching, a verified number of hours and client and charges a lot of money for certification. Sure there are self appointed “coaches” who are not certified (or are self-certified) but a few questions by the wise would be client can sort that out pretty quickly: where did you get your training? Are you certified? By whom? Do you have any references?
Then while pure coaching can be done with virtually anyone on any subject, coaches do tend to have specialties. This is based upon their experience, education and training as well as their passion. My passion has to do with helping leaders be more productive and less controlling. My experience is with leaders in the church and non-profit sectors, from those who want to upgrade their skills, to those looking to transition or lead their organization or church to greater health and vitality.
There's lots of other helping skills out there: counseling, consulting, advising, mentors, teachers, etc. While each have their place, many are dismissed because the potential client is a bit reluctant to admit they need help or can’t see how someone will tell them something that they don’t know already. That’s exactly when the secret sauce of coaching comes in. It helps someone see beyond their current situation and tap into latent wisdom or connect the dots for things they may not know that they know. So it is not about paying someone to tell you something. Through coaching, suddenly the fog clears and the way forward is practically obvious. There is excitement and motivation that replaces doubt and discouragement. Energy emerges to replace weariness. Coaching, good coaching, trained coaching is a serious difference maker to fast forward getting you out of your current place to where you want to go.
The ICF regularly engages research firms to study the use and benefits of coaching. Clients report that using professional coaching improves work performance (70%), improved business management (61%), improved time management (57%), improved team effectiveness (51%). Furthermore clients report that it improved self confidence (80%), relationships (73%), communication skills (72%), life/work balance (67%). Eighty-six percent said that it paid for itself with 99% saying they were “some what” or “very satisfied" and 96% would repeat the process.
Coaching takes time and money and for those who have experienced it they know that it is an opportunity to pause so that their next step will be wisely thought through. They avoid spinning their wheels and are good stewards of their gifts, not to mention their time and money. At the end of the day it saves time in an already cramped schedule and avoids missteps and increases commitment and motivation. Coaching for those who know about coaching is a time to get serious and get moving.
Still think you don't “need” a coach? Or are you ready to get more intentional? Let’s explore the possibilities.
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Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, firstname.lastname@example.org or scottgress.com
"Helping leaders be more productive - less controlling"