I know that many of us have started the New Year with a sense of expectation and the enthusiasm to make some positive changes in 2013. It’s a nice metaphor to think of the year ahead as a blank canvas, ready for us to paint the next chapter of our lives and create the picture we really want.
We have been at this place before, full of great intentions at the start of the year, only to find that after a few weeks (or even days) our enthusiasm has started to dwindle and we haven’t followed though; we feel worse about ourselves than we did before we set the goals. Not only is this discouraging in the moment, it creates neural conditioning in our memory, educating us to expect that when we set goals, we don’t achieve them. Each time we subsequently set a goal we not only have the present resistance to deal with, there is also the previously reinforced behaviour to overcome. Not an empowering position to be in.
If you don’t want to feel like a failure again in a few weeks (and I’m sure you don’t) I highly recommend that you find a reputable coach to support you in achieving your outcomes, this year. I wouldn’t be without a coach in my life. For many years, now, I have worked with the best in the industry and have achieved some life long ambitions with their wisdom, support and commitment to holding me accountable for my decisions. One of these goals was to write a book. For years I had made excuses why I couldn’t do it but after finding an excellent writing coach, Mindy Gibbins-Klein, I had my debut novel, Changing the Channel, written and published within the year. My second major achievement was to leave the security of full-time employment and setting up my training company. Could I have achieved these goals on my own? My answer is definitely, no. I just didn’t have the confidence to realise my talents and start to achieve my potential, without the support and expertise of my coaches.
Maybe you are already a high achiever and don’t feel you need to pay someone to help you progress in your career or business. If that is the case I would ask you to consider why the greatest sports stars all use coaches. Take Tiger Woods, for example. He is currently 3rd in the world but has stayed at the top of the golf rankings since 1997 and is worth an estimated $500 million, still making in the region of $59.8 per year, according to Forbes.
Why would Tiger Woods need a coach?Because he can’t see his swing. We all have our own blind spots, no matter how successful we are, and it is invaluable to have an expert point them out to us and help us overcome them.
‘Time is money’ and a coach can help us save a great deal of both, reducing our learning curve from years to weeks. If you are really serious about maximising your potential, both personally and professionally, you can’t afford not to make this investment in yourself.
Let me clarify exactly what a coach does. It is a title that is used liberally at the moment but people aren’t always clear about the worth of the role. Coaches are personal or business development experts who enable their clients to tap into the resources they don’t know they possess, both internal and external, so that they can let go of the negative beliefs and habits that have held them back in the past and actually achieve the goals they desire. The coach doesn’t have to have to have experience of the client’s industry or role (that would make them a mentor); they are working with psychological tools and creating strategies to raise confidence in the clients’ ability. This empowers the clients, as they know it is they, not the coach, who have achieved their goals. If the coach is giving advice, that is not coaching; this falls, once again, into the area of mentoring, or consulting. To use the Tiger Woods analogy again, the coach doesn’t take the swing for him; he enables Tiger to develop the best technique possible, so that he can win the championship.
So, now you have seen the value of investing in a coach, how do you find the one that is right for you?
I believe the best way to find a great coach is by word of mouth. Coaching is a relatively new industry in the UK and, unfortunately, there is very little regulation. There are some very reputable qualifications and some that don’t stand up to scrutiny but we all know that just because someone has a certificate, it doesn’t necessarily make them good at that role. Some of the best coaches I know don’t have formal qualifications but were apprenticed under industry leaders, such as Anthony Robbins, and have attained a level of expertise that cannot be gained from intellectual consideration alone. Speak to people who have used a coach and have achieved the results they wanted. Ask for tangible evidence such as, “I increased my revenue by 50%,” or, “I used to comfort eat all the time but my coach helped me change my negative relationship with food. I lost 10kg six moths ago and have kept the weight off. I have a completely different attitude to food, now.” Find at least three coaches that you feel you could work with before you make a decision. Look at their website, read all their testimonials and consider whether their style resonates with you. A coaching relationship is very personal and you will need to feel that you can trust your coach to support and challenge you. It is a bonus if you like them but it is more important that you respect them, so that you will be able to swallow any uncomfortable developmental feedback they give you.
To make your final decision, I am going to make what might seem to be a strange suggestion. Choose the coach who will stretch you a little financially. The reason being that you will be much more committed to getting return on your investment if it causes you a little pain. If you don’t believe me, think of all those Groupon vouchers you haven’t redeemed because they didn’t cost very much.
We have many demands on our time. If your coaching sessions are just a, ‘nice to do,’ instead of an, ‘absolute must,’ the chances are you won’t follow through when the pressures of life take over.
A fee that makes you slightly uncomfortable will make sure your commitment to coaching has a high priority. The return you will receive on that investment will be invaluable.
So, leaving you with some food for thought, I wish you every success in seeing your goals realised this year. May it be an exceptional, productive, successful 2013 for us all.
Author: Felicity Lerouge