5 myths about coaching: debunked
I regularly hear and read comments about coaching that seem outdated or untrue. I truly believe that anyone can benefit from coaching and it’s an invaluable use of our time, whatever our circumstances. As Professor Damien Hughes said in the High Performance Podcast:
“The one thing that we all have in common is we have the same amount of time in our day; it’s choosing where we spend that time and our focus and attention that will determine our happiness levels”
For that reason, I wanted to dispel some of the common myths I hear about coaching:
‘I’m doing well at work, I don’t need a coach’
What would you think if you heard Serena Williams had stopped working with a coach? Or that Manchester City had decided to get rid of their coach after winning the Premier League?
It’s generally accepted in the sporting world that to maintain skill, improve skill and to be at the top of your game you need a coach. Maybe several. However, this is generally a less accepted opinion in the world of everyday work and life. Like all those that excel in their field, working with a coach can help you to fine tune the skills that have already led to your success.
Success, either in the workplace or in life, doesn’t mean that challenges stop. Earning yourself a new title at work doesn’t suddenly make you invincible. Arguably, the more successful you are, the more pressure and responsibility you may feel. Working with a coach can not only help to maintain your success and happiness but it can help you manage any increasing pressures and new challenges.
So, if you feel you’re doing well, now might be exactly the right time to start working with a coach!
‘Coaches are for leaders, CEOs and Directors’
No matter what industry you work in, whether it’s third sector, public sector or private sector and no matter what level you are in your career, you can benefit from a coach. There are numerous options for coaching in the workplace for all levels, either as a team or as individuals.
Alternatively, you may not use a coach for anything work-related. Some may seek the help of a coach to improve their work-life balance or to navigate through challenging relationships.
Ultimately, anyone can benefit from using a coach. If you can improve life outside of work you’re more likely to be a better version of yourself in work and vice versa!
‘A coach will direct me on what to do’
A coach’s role is to work collaboratively with you, rather than to direct you or provide solutions. You are not broken and don’t need to be fixed. When you better understand yourself you are more equipped to know what is best for you. A coach will help you find out what that is.
Initially, you’ll both work through and get clarity on what your goals are and a coach will support you with how to turn up to sessions to get the most from them. Otherwise, your needs alone will determine what is tackled and explored in the sessions.
During your sessions, it will be you leading or directing the agenda. A coach will facilitate you in exploring ideas, challenge you when necessary and help to highlight any blind spots.
You’ve got to be willing to put the time and work in to make a change - you can’t just turn up to a session and expect the coach to tell you what to do.
Remember it’s more useful to be taught how to use a fishing rod rather than just be given a fish! Having said that, in more challenging times, a coach will support you and help you to build and sustain confidence and motivation when it may be lacking.
‘A coach needs to have experience in my area of work to be able to help me’
You might assume a coach should have a similar background to your work, life or relationship experience. However, a coach is not there to provide a solution for you (as discussed above). A coach uses different methods and tools rather than providing solutions based on their own experience (this is where mentoring comes in).
They will be taking a broader view to help you navigate through the area in which you want to focus and to ensure other areas in your life aren’t sacrificed or compromised in the process.
You can see from my testimonials page the broad range of people from very different industries, each of whom have benefitted from coaching in different ways suited to their individual needs.
In some instances, you may feel more comfortable working with a coach with a specific interest, speciality or who has faced similar challenges themselves. Conversely, there are great benefits in speaking to someone out of that arena who can easily remain curious, neutral and objective throughout.
As always, the key to successful coaching sessions is finding the person that you feel comfortable and happy working with.
‘Coaching is expensive’
The perceived cost of coaching is one of the most common barriers to working with a coach. This may be linked with the idea they’re only for CEOs or Directors! There’s no denying there are some very expensive life-coaches, however you don’t have to be running a FTSE 100 company or an A-List celebrity to benefit.
It’s also important to remember that the returns on coaching can far outweigh the costs. Many businesses now spend money on training and development of their teams. Similarly, freelancers will often take part in training or courses related to their field of work. Coaching can be comparably cheaper to training programmes or courses, especially as it is now easy to do sessions remotely without the need to travel.
As we discussed in the first blog, coaching is about improving our cognitive health. The cost of coaching can be comparable to a personal trainer or therapist and can be just as important to your overall well being.
Working with a coach can be used in the short or longer term depending on your needs. Sessions can improve confidence, motivation, direction, clarity, performance and can improve both professional and personal relationships.
The cost, both in terms of money and time, is arguably well worth the investment. What value would you put on sharpening your cognitive health?
What other assumptions do you have about coaching? Get in touch if you want to find out more or have any more questions on coaching.
Thanks for reading and for more on coaching, I’d love you to subscribe to my blog.