Coaching - Is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
No I’m not going to spin off a list of statistics or convince you that you should get a coach (although feel free to hit me up if you are keen – too cheeky? too soon?)
Truthfully though, I’m writing this because I want to shed some light on what coaching is – outside of the version of it that typically comes to mind (sports coaches etc) when we hear the term - purely based on my experience. I am no artist, but today I’m going to do my best at painting you a picture (with my words).
The gorgeous soul next to me in this picture is my Coach and she’s been an important part of my life for nearly 2 years now. You know what, when I found her I didn’t even know I wanted or ‘needed’ a coach. The irony still doesn’t escape me actually, I am quite the Christmas Grinch yet had agreed to go to a Christmas Planning workshop with a good friend, and low and behold this chick who was taking it was probably the coolest person I’d ever met (in that moment I became a little bit of a fan girl – in what I hope was a non-creepy way) and signed up on the spot to attend another 3 workshops over the course of 2 months; I simply needed more of what she was offering – and I didn’t even know what that was yet!
At that point in my life I had been to numerous personal and professional development workshops and programs and lost count of the hours and dollars I had invested into myself. There was just something about Helle (please bear with me, this will make sense soon) and the energy she had about her, what she was doing with her life that resonated with me in a way nothing else had before. Then, after a couple of workshops I realised what it was; she was basically living the life I dreamed of living….. and (now this is actually the most important part!) I’d become sick of dreaming about it and wanted to make it happen.
So I figured the best way to make myself get what I wanted was to find out how she had got there herself. Don’t get me wrong, I had no desire for a cookie cutter life…… we are entirely different people and so as much as I saw elements of my future in her present life, it was just elements and I knew early on that even those elements would be my version of them!
For all the time and money I had already invested, I hadn’t been able to make the progress I desired towards my goals (I tend to want to run before I can walk, so slow progress to me felt like no progress)…. So I took a giant leap into the deep end and began my coaching journey. Not surprisingly, what I thought was going to be the focus of my first session totally didn’t eventuate as is often the case – through her curious questioning we quickly disappeared into the most interesting of rabbit warrens that was my life. She called my BS and from then I was hooked.
Every now and again we will both have a bit of a chuckle about that first session….. Especially if she wants to remind me how far I have come. I have grown more and achieved more in the 2 years that I’ve had a coach then I feel like I did in the four years prior! It has been an incredible journey of sometimes painful realisation, but holy shit has it been worth it!
The best part of having a coach is that you always remain in the driver’s seat; they are basically one of those people who make maps – yet even better because it’s a map of your future they are helping you develop. They are not there to do things for you or tell you what to do, and so when you make a decision it’s your decision, and the sense of empowerment that comes with that was a massive breath of fresh air for me. Once the map has been created a quality coach becomes your own personal Navman.
The beauty of having a Nav is that you’re the one plugging in the destination, it then suggests a number of ways to get to the destination, while you select which option you want. Then, as you drive along, you are the one driving, so even if the next instruction is to turn right (based on the option you chose) you are the one who chooses to turn the steering wheel, or not.
I’m count myself extra fortunate because, in Helle, I found a Coach and a Mentor. The difference is subtle, yet very important!
A coach – is a sounding board, they will help you design your own map, they know how to support you to navigate the terrain once you have identified your destination, and they haven’t necessarily been there themselves.
A mentor – is someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and is therefore able to tell you what to do to achieve said goal because they have the map, they’ve travelled the road, and they are an ‘expert in their field’.
A good coach will help you achieve in life. A good mentor will help fast track you (aka, learning from their mistakes) to achieve something they have already achieved.