In our own version of “MythBusters,” we would like to debunk some of the common misconceptions about professional coaching. It used to be that sports coaches were the only kind of coaches around, but a new kind of coach is permeating life and work. But that doesn’t mean people understand what today’s coaching is all about.
Here are 10 myths of professional coaching.
1. Coaching is always face-to-face.
Sometimes coaching happens face-to-face, but much of today’s professional coaching is done via phone or video. You don’t have to sit across from your coach in an office or coffee shop. It also means you’re not limited to the coaches in your hometown. A world of coaches is open to you.
2. Coaching is too expensive.
Some coaches are too expensive for you, but some are not. Online coach marketplaces help you compare prices among coaches so you can find an affordable coach. Plus, coaching students who have received training but need hours for certification will bring value and cost less.
3. Coaching is another word for mentoring, counseling or consulting.
Actually, coaching is different from all three. Mentoring and consulting are more about pouring in, while coaching is more about drawing out. Counseling is more about exploring the past in order to heal, while coaching is more about envisioning the future in order to accomplish goals.
4. Getting coached is asking for help, and asking for help is weak.
Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or wimpish or wrong. Asking for help makes you brave and admirable and strong. Asking for help is admitting what is true about everyone—breaking through in any important way requires more than you presently have.
How could you improve your work and life?
5. Getting coached is for unsuccessful people.
Doing anything great requires more than your current reserves. To see the world differently, to imagine an alternative future, to hold a new perspective all require something more. That’s why successful people have coaches. Just ask Elon Musk and Metallica.
6. Coaches are unqualified quacks.
Some coaches are quacks, but there are unqualified quacks in every profession. It’s easy to launch a website and print business cards and declare yourself a coach, but as modern coaching matures, more coaches are being trained and certified through credible coaching organizations.
7. Getting coached locks you into a long-term relationship with a coach.
There are all lengths of coaching relationships, from a single session to a few months to even years. Starting with a coach doesn’t mean you’re locked into her for life. With today’s choices, you can coach for a season, then move to a different coach. Coaches understand this is the way life works.
8. Life coaches are the only kind of coaches out there.
Life coaching is a major kind of coaching, but there are other kinds, too. For example, there are coaches who focus on: work, leadership, strengths, relationships, recovery, health, spiritual formation, parenting, adoption, performance, confidence, and many more. You can find different kinds of coaches on online coach marketplaces.
9. No one really knows what happens in coaching sessions.
Although different coaches operate their sessions differently, coaches who follow the International Coaching Federation’s way of coaching will generally do four things: understand what the client wants to accomplish, ask powerful questions, form action steps, establish accountability and support.
10. There’s no way to test the service.
It may sound scary to jump into a coaching relationship without testing the service, but most coaches offer free discovery calls. You can meet the coach, learn about qualifications, ask questions, and see if you’re a fit.
Hopefully we’ve cleared up some myths.
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