You’re ready to make a significant change or to improve some part of your life. But you’re struggling to do it on your own.
You’re finding it challenging to stay on top of “all the things” to know or with motivation or mindset to reach your goal.
Whether the changes we want to make or the goals we want to achieve are related to our health, career, finances, business, relationships, or some other aspects of our lives – we know it takes effort to make progress.
Striving for achievement, we read articles, download apps, buy books, courses, and products.
Following blogs, chatting in forums, joining clubs and organizations, and attending conferences are other ways we might try to move closer to our goals.
Sometimes you find all the information you need and take action without help from others. But you can probably name at least one important goal you haven’t met – even after trying different ways to accomplish it.
If you suffer from impostor syndrome, are uninspired, would like more guidance, and are ready to move to the next level or make a transformative change, but don’t know where to start -you might consider hiring a coach.
Let’s arm you with some info to help you decide if a coach is right for you. After looking at what a coach does for their client, we’ll dive into:
- Why hiring a coach can be a smart decision
- When a coach is not the answer
- Things to look for in a coach
- How to make the most of a coaching experience
What is the Role of a Coach?
Even if you have never played a sport, you know coaches help prepare athletes to meet a goal successfully. The job of a coach is to teach, demonstrate, analyze, encourage, motivate, and more.
Coaches who help you meet financial, life, or business goals have a similar role.
They ask questions, help you identify goals, uncover your fears, work with you to create a plan, and structure a process to assist you in being successful.
But don’t think a coach will tell you what to do and how to do it. You’ll work with your coach rather than being their student. While you’ll learn from them, you’ll be an active participant in the process.
Is Hiring a Coach Worth the Money?
When you can find almost any information you’re looking for on the internet, and with people being able to DIY more things than ever, you might be questioning the value a coach can provide.
If you can save money and try to figure out how to meet your goals yourself, shouldn’t you try that?
While you can certainly work toward your goals on your own, there are several reasons why paying for a coach is worth the money.
Working with a coach can:
- Help you discover what’s holding you back and find the motivation to move forward.
- Challenge your assumptions; help you find truth and meaning.
- Identify ways to capitalize on your strengths and manage your weaknesses.
- Increase your awareness and clarity to help you make better decisions.
- Clarify your priorities.
- Aid you in creating processes and structure.
- Keep you focused.
- Answer your questions quickly.
- Provide you with honest and personalized feedback.
- Challenge you to think differently and explore new options.
- Help you move out of your comfort zone to make changes and grow.
- Make you more accountable.
- Support you and boost your confidence.
- Improve your work-life balance and relationships.
- Help you achieve your goals sooner and set new goals.
- Save you time and money!
While we may think we know ourselves well enough to put together our own plan, don’t overlook the knowledge, skills, and experience a good coach brings to the table.
Because a coach can assess your abilities and limitations – real or perceived – from the outside, they can provide suggestions for how to increase, address, or remove them.
When Coaching Might Not be the Answer
While hiring a coach can be a powerful solution to help you solve issues or attain goals, it’s not a miracle fix.
Hiring a coach is likely not worth the money when you:
- Want someone to listen to your problem and explore your feelings. You may need a therapist instead.
- Don’t believe you need to change, nor do you want to. For results or change to occur, you need to want it.
- Lack goals, ideas, interests, or understanding of your strengths or weaknesses. You and your coach need a starting point.
- Aren’t willing to be vulnerable or take risks. Trusting your coach and a willingness to move out of your comfort zone are absolutely necessary for results.
- Won’t take the time or make the effort to do the work. Action on your part is essential, without doing the work you’ll get nowhere fast.
- Are looking for someone else to tell you what to do, solve your problem, or implement change. Coaches help you discover the answers and determine strategies and action steps, but they don’t do the work for you.
- Need specific technical training. Coaches aren’t classroom teachers. Find a course or hire a trainer to acquire specialized knowledge or skills.
- Have unrealistic expectations. The coaching process can be transformative, but there’s rarely an overnight success story. You get there by taking several steps along the way.
- Are pessimistic the coaching process will work. Don’t believe a coach will be committed to your success? Unwilling to fully trust their process to attain your deeply desired goals? Then coaching is not for you.
If any of the above applies to you, a coach won’t be worth your money.
What to Look for in a Coach
It’s essential to spend a reasonable amount of time and effort in finding the right coach. It will pay off in the end.
You want someone who has the knowledge, skills, experience, and abilities necessary to assist you in reaching your goals. You also want someone you like and respect.
A good coach might not need to be an expert in a particular field depending on what you’re looking to achieve, but some experience is important.
Recommendations from others may get you off to a good start, but keep in mind, their coach may not be the best coach for you.
Also, remember that online coaching can be just as beneficial as in-person coaching, so don’t limit your search by location.
Once you’ve researched and created a list of potential coaches, set up a time to get to know them in person or via Skype or phone call.
Most coaches will offer a free introductory session to help each of you determine if you might enjoy working together.
Following sections adapted from, Making The Most Of Your Time With A Mentor Or Coach on Life Zemplified.
Interviewing Your Coach Candidates
Choosing the right coach is part chemistry and part process. It’s your life; you don’t want to spend valuable money or time investing in someone who’s not the right fit.
To help determine if you and your potential coach fit together well, ask pointed questions.
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Don’t waste time on coaches who behave as if you are lucky to sign up with them. You want to know if they can help you reach your aspirations, not theirs.
Explain to your prospective coach what you want to achieve, and ask what he or she could do to help you attain it.
Most of all, ask about their coaching process, philosophy, and core values. If you hear anything there that doesn’t align with your beliefs, they’re not the coach for you.
A few other points to keep in mind:
- You want a coach who will assist you yet hold you accountable, not a buddy that will let you slide
- A coach that makes you feel bad about yourself is abusive, not helpful
- Coaches should be able to explain with specifics how they can help you, not just throw out flowery words about why you need them
Get Vulnerable and Build Trust
You’ll need to reveal information about yourself with your new coach so they can learn the real you, such as:
- Where you currently spend your time and money
- Which of your daily habits help you, and what ones get in your way
- What growth methods you’ve been successful with (or not) in the past
- If you have a support system
- Have you worked with a coach or mentor in the past
- Your preference for taking in information and receiving guidance
Making the Most of Your Coaching Experience
Would it surprise you to learn, most people who hire coaches don’t prepare to be coached?
Remember, you have an active role in the relationship too, and the more prepared you are, the better.
Not doing some candid self-assessment before investing in coaching will only make it harder and more time-consuming for both of you. And more costly for you.
Know what your bad habits are and know where you need help.
Ask others for input if possible, with questions such as:
- What one thing do I do that you wish I would change?
- What do you hear me complain about the most?
- Where do you see me getting stuck the most?
- How would you describe my organizational or productivity habits?
Identify Your End Goal
You will achieve far more if you know what your desired result looks like.
Be realistic and ensure you are specific about what you hope to achieve. The answer “I want to make more money” is not a goal—it’s a daydream.
Ditto for “I want to be the president of the company this time next year,” when you’re only two years into your career.
While there may have been someone who has achieved the latter, it’s not a realistic goal for the average person.
An accurate, realistic, and measurable end goal might look like this:
“Within six sessions, I want to identify which of my business ideas I want to pursue, create an avatar of my ideal customer, determine the services I’ll offer and the fees to charge, figure out a social media and marketing strategy, land my first paying customer, and learn healthy ways to manage the stress of being an entrepreneur.”
Reap the Most From Each Session
Your time and funds for coaching are not limitless. So, once you’ve identified your primary goal for coaching, look to what you want to accomplish each session.
Estimate the number of meetings you need or can afford. You may not have a clue, but attempt to plan your sessions, with one specific mini-goal per session.
This can aid you in discussions with your coach at your initial consultation. You may ask for feedback and learn how realistic your expectations are.
Working towards specific goals for each session can laser-focus the process.
For example, if you’ve decided to deal with your biggest habit – say “procrastination” – in session three, you won’t need to talk endlessly about it in meeting one or two.
Coaches Do Not Come With “Get Rich Quick” Guarantees
A coach’s job isn’t to “fix” you. Instead, a coach can help you remove blockages, so you’re free to proceed towards your goals without further obstruction.
She can help you strategize, analyze, and come up with a viable plan you can put into action.
Remember, coaches do not do it for you: They help you by providing tools and direction to achieve the goals by yourself.
Identify Your Communication Preferences
Are you more comfortable with telephone, Skype, or in-person sessions? Do you prefer hard copy online or audio information?
Whatever your learning and communication preferences, make sure your coach is on board with them.
Learning in a way that feels natural to you—one that stimulates your brain and helps you retain maximum knowledge—is essential to getting the most out of your coaching sessions.
You’re investing a significant chunk of your time and possibly your money into your sessions.
Don’t think in terms of “tweaking” or “fine-tuning,” think in terms of making transformative life changes.
Your coach should guide you in a systematic, realistic way, so every step feels manageable.
Don’t scramble at the last minute before each coaching session. Ideally, at least a day in advance, review the topics you would like to discuss.
Tap into your thoughts and feelings from your last session.
- Were you:
- Consider how you are currently feeling:
- Did you achieve or make progress on your goals from the last session?
- If not, what got in the way?
- Make a list of your desired discussion topics and highlight your absolute priorities.
- Identify what can be tabled to the next session if you run low on time.
Be ready for each session and arrive a few minutes early if it is an in-person meeting. Get comfortable. Bring a notebook and pen or pencil. Or if your taking notes on a computer or tablet, make sure it’s charged.
Review your list of topics and questions and be ready to make the most of your meeting.
Work Your Plan
You can analyze and strategize endlessly. But, if you don’t take action on your coach’s suggestions, you’ll just be throwing away time and money.
Remember, the work is up to you. Your mentor or coach doesn’t do it for you.
If you find yourself procrastinating, discuss it with your coach right away.
Figure out if there’s something they can help you with. If something isn’t clear to you or if your old fears are getting in the way, tell your coach.
These things can be dealt with; it doesn’t matter what’s causing an issue; you simply need to commit one hundred percent to take action. Then put your nose to the grindstone and do the work. You will reap the rewards.
Taking charge of your life includes taking charge of your learning and growing. Be prepared to fire your coach if he or she is not helping you do that.
Find a coach who will move you out of your comfort zone, and help you grow with guidance and support. Someone you’re comfortable with who is willing to guide you and be proud of your development.
Investing In Yourself By Hiring a Coach
The right coach can facilitate your learning and development, nudge you in the right direction, and help you level-up. They are a partner beside you, to help you realize your potential and become who you want to be.
Coaching can massively cut down the time to reach your desired outcome because you won’t waste time running in the wrong direction or focusing on the wrong things.
In addition to saving time, the money you invest in coaching can effectively protect you from spending more money because of obtaining results much faster than what you could achieve alone.
Not everyone needs a coach nor wants one.
If you do, know that investing in yourself by putting money towards a coach could be one of the smartest investments you make.
When you pay for coaching, you’re declaring you are worth the money, energy, time, and support necessary to be an achiever of goals and dreams.
Finding the right coach, making the most of each coaching session, and working the plan you develop together will help ensure you made a wise investment.
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Vicki and Amy are authors of Estate Planning 101 – a Crash Course in Planning for the Unexpected -coming soon from Adams Media.