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What reasons are there to seek coaching?

I hope that you’ve been following my recent series of social media posts on this topic, but if not, never fear! This month’s blog combines the 14 reasons to seek coaching that I posted about.

These are just a taster…. there are WAY MORE than 14 reasons to be coached and mine have a particular bent towards the career/work area as that is the area that I am most interested in.

But almost anything can be coached on.

I hasten to add that coaching is not a substitute for any specific advice or therapy you may need in terms of health (mental or physical), nutrition, fitness, accounting, business, financial, legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric, addiction or anything else along those lines.

Coaching is a forward thinking, positive, proactive process to help you get from where you are to where you want to be!

So here we go (and in no specific order):

Reason to seek coaching, number 1

“Help, I’m in the wrong career!”

You’d be amazed how common this is. The theme I am hearing again and again from clients is that they never got any proper kind of career counselling or advice in school and that they went into a job or career blindly. Maybe they followed a parent into the family business. Maybe they did what their parents or someone else expected of them or suggested to them. Maybe they went into a “good job” for the money or security but found that it didn’t suit them. Maybe they followed their friends into a certain field. Or took a university course as it was the only course that they could get into. Sometimes we hold on to beliefs that are not our own and that could steer us towards something, or indeed away from something. Ever had someone tell you that you didn’t have what it takes to do something? This can spur us on to prove them wrong, or it can enter our sub-conscious and we can start to believe it.

So how do you know you’re in the wrong career? Maybe you’re in the right career, but the wrong company? Coaching will help you dig down into this. What is it you want in a job? What is your current job giving you?

Values are a big factor here. What is important to you in a job? Is it money? Is it creativity? Is it a feeling of “doing good”? If your job isn’t in alignment with your values, its going to cause you some strife.

Your skills and talents are a factor too. If you’re not getting a chance to use them, you can feel unfulfilled and frustrated.

And does it matter when you concluded that you’re in the wrong career? If you’ve started a course and find out its not for you, fine, you can drop out and start another. But what if you are 10 or 20 years into a career? Do you feel that it’s possible to change? Do you feel like you’ve invested too much, just to give it up?

Coaching is not about beating yourself up about the decisions you took in the past. It’s all about looking at where you are now and planning your next move in a positive manner. One of the cornerstones of coaching is that you are “resourceful and whole”. That is, the firm belief that you have the answers within yourself and the capability to change. So, a coach will never tell you (or should never tell you!) that you’re too old, too long in the one job and incapable of change.

Coaching is forward focused. It might look at the skills you have in your current role, and how they can be transferred to another job or industry. It will help you do a reality check of what you need to do to move you towards your new career.

A coach will also test your commitment to your plan and is a super accountability partner. Coaching also involves some review and testing of your plan to make sure you’re on the right track for you.

Reason to seek coaching, number 2

“I have a goal, and I need to figure out how to get there”

OK so you know what you want. Brilliant! Music to a coach’s ears! Firstly, a coach will test out if this is indeed YOUR goal, or if it has been influenced by someone else. Did you mother always want you to become a doctor, or your sports coach want you to join the national team? Do you own it?

Once we know that, then we’re away! Planning the steps to reach the goal. But a coach (other than a sports coach!) will never say “OK, here’s how you do it!” That might be how the coach would do it if it was them heading towards the goal, but it may not (and in fact probably will not) be right for you. The goal is yours, so that plan must be yours, and indeed the reward will be yours.

There are various ways that this can be done. You may have heard of SMART goals or the GROW method or it could be planned organically. The magic of engaging in a program with a coach, is that it gives you a time-frame and an accountability partner. How much more likely are you to do something if you have committed to your coach that you will do it, and you’re meeting the coach again next week? Now that is a brilliant motivator!

Reason to seek coaching, number 3

“My work-life balance is out of whack!”

Oh dear! We’ve all been there I’m sure, and we’ve all had times where work is busy, or home is busy to the detriment of other things. However, problems will occur if it’s an ongoing imbalance.

Coaching will take a holistic view of your life. And again, no one is going to beat you up (metaphorically) for being in that situation. Perhaps you’ve bitten off more than you can chew at work? Or perhaps there is a personal issue at home or in your family which is taking up a lot of your time?

We need to figure out priorities here and what’s important to you. Is it a temporary or permanent issue? What can be done about it? How long are you prepared to tolerate it?

For example, is life hectic now, but after a certain project is finished, things will be much calmer. Maybe its an issue with your personal boundaries and you might want to put a system in place to deal with that. Have you got support? Can you ask for help?

Coaching will examine all these issues and help you come up with a solution that best fits you and brings some balance back into your life.

Reason to seek coaching, number 4

“I’m feeling stuck in my job”

One of the most important functions of a coach is to listen – to what’s said and to what’s not said. A coach may notice your body language, your hesitations, any change in your breathing or your demeanour. A coach will use this to bring awareness to what she sees. And ask you some challenging questions. This will help you sort things out in your head.

We’ll investigate how you feel, but we won’t be wallowing! What’s making you feel stuck? Where do you want to be? Will that be better? How will you feel when you get there?

And more importantly, what can you do to get out of the “stuck-ness”? What steps can you take today, or next week to make things better?

The coach might get you to do some brainstorming to see what options you can come up with. You can then commit to your next steps to help improve your situation and get unstuck.

Reason to seek coaching, number 5

“I need to make some changes in my life!”

A coach will listen to what changes you say you want to make and why. The most important thing here is “Why?” It’s much better to view a change as a positive rather than a negative.

“I want to be healthier” is a positive goal. “I want to lose weight” puts us immediately in a negative frame of mind. So why do you want to lose weight? To be healthier, to improve fitness, to look good? What will that do for you? You’ll feel better, be have more energy, have more confidence. So, this is your why and what you should focus on.

The next step is how? So, it’s your plan, so you must own it, commit to it and it must be realistic for you. Again, SMART goals may be helpful. The commitment you will give in the coaching and accountability of having a coach cannot be overstated and will be a huge motivating factor in helping you make those changes.

Coaching can also encompass other strategies like visualisation – not for everyone to be sure, but a powerful tool for focus (often used by athletes for example) and neuro-scientifically sound too.

Reason to seek coaching, number 6

“I’ve just been made redundant”

Major life changes, especially those over which we have no control, can hit us for six. Redundancy is just one. And it can bring up various issues for us. Having a session with a coach can help you verbalise how you feel about this and plan how to move on. These are totally personal and individual issues and will vary hugely from person to person.

Some people may feel that their confidence has been knocked and feel very nervous and pessimistic about looking for work. Coaching can help work on your confidence, your beliefs, your skills, talents, strengths etc

Others may feel a sense of relief that redundancy has occurred as they feel a break from work may be beneficial to give them some time to think about what they want to do. A new job, a new career, setting up a business, going travelling or whatever. Coaching can help you figure out what’s important to you and how to go about getting it.

If you’re heading for a job interview, coaching can help you prepare for that too.

Reason to seek coaching, number 7

“I’m facing into retirement and I’m very apprehensive about it”

Another major life change and one which has a certain inevitability about it. However, this is something you will be aware of years in advance (unless deciding to take an early retirement) and therefore can plan for.

Coaching is again positive and forward thinking and totally personal to the client. Let’s look at the positives of retirement. Let’s see the opportunities that are there for you in your third act. What does retirement mean to you? What is important for you in your retirement? What preparations can you make to ensure that you get the most out of retirement?

Don’t forget, 65 is young these days and there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet! Enjoy it!

Reason to seek coaching, number 8

“I am returning to the workforce after a break and I’m lacking in confidence”

Well done for deciding to return to the workforce and for being self-aware enough to realise that your confidence is lacking. So here we can look at the practical things like looking for a job, leveraging your network etc. We can look at skills, work values and what type of job will suit you.

We can also investigate the confidence issue. No doubt you’ve been listening to your inner demons telling you that you’re too old, your skills are out-dated, you’ve been out of the workforce too long, no one will hire you etc. To those voices we say “Nonsense!” and “Prove it! We’ll seek evidence to pooh-pooh those voices and help you believe in yourself and recognise all the skills you have, from your previous stints in the workplace, the skills you gained while you were on a break and what you can now bring to a workplace.

(Rearing children or caring for others? That takes some skill! Out through illness? You’ve got coping skills and resilience to beat the band!)

Coaching can help you find your own voice, your own brand, your own skills and the self-confidence to enter back into the job market and the workforce as the authentic and talented you!

Reason to seek coaching, number 9

“I want to move on after my divorce”

Let me be clear. I may be many things, but I am not magician. I cannot put your marriage back together again, or make your ex-spouse behave better (or disappear!). Don’t forget that you can’t control certain events, but you can control your reaction to them.

If you’ve been through a divorce, or any loss or major life change, please consider if you need counselling or any other type of support, be it legal, medical, financial etc.

However, once you’ve been through the legal process, or any other process that you require, you will come to a point where you fell that you need to move on. Coaching can help here, but only when you are ready.

We’ll help identify what is it that you need now in order to build a happy and fulfilled life for yourself in your current circumstances. We may take an overview of various aspects of your life (career, relationships, health, social etc) to help you figure out what is important for you now. We may look at your core values. Values help you make decisions.

You may also be harbouring some self-limiting beliefs and we can help turn those around. You might be seeking the confidence to live alone and make your own decisions, or the confidence to get back out on the dating scene.

Coaching can help you figure out what it is that you want and help you plan the steps, big or small, that you are comfortable taking.

Reason to seek coaching, number 10

“I feel overwhelmed”

A phrase we hear all too often. And what exactly is it? Too much to do, too little time? Take a little breather here. Have some self-compassion. Are you taking on too much? Are you incapable of saying “No”? You know the old phrase; “If you want something done, ask a busy person”. Are you that person? Are you the “go to” to get stuff done?

You might want to think about setting some boundaries (and sticking to them!)

A coach can help you sort all of this out. What is important for you to do? What needs to be done by you? Where can you find help or support?

I often mention Stephen Covey here (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). Check out his time management quadrant centred around what is important and what is urgent. If you are constantly dealing with “Important Urgent” stuff how is that making you feel? Burnt out and stressed is my guess. Covey suggests time is best spent on the “Non-urgent, important” stuff. (And just so you know “Urgent Non-important stuff is generally someone else’s agenda, not yours and Non-urgent Non-important stuff is, well, not urgent and not important so therefore a colossal waste of time!)

Also look at the 4Ds: Do, Defer, Delegate, Delete.

Engage a coach to help you and you need never feel overwhelmed again!

Reason to seek coaching, number 11

“Office politics is ruining my life!”

Grrr! We’ve all been here too! The passive aggressive comments, the stirrers, the slackers, the he-said-she-saids!

So maybe you have a job that you like, maybe even a boss that you like, but co-workers are making your life a misery. It’s a diplomatic nightmare too as you still have to work there so you want some kind of relationship with your colleagues (or do you?)

Your work values, and indeed your core values will help sort this one out. Plus a few other strategies like looking at your boundaries, establishing clear communication channels and looking at how to manage your own reactions and emotions.

What is also helpful here is to concentrate on what you CAN change or control. You may not be able to make Mary come in to work on time, but you can control your reaction to her tardiness! With a plan for you in place, you’ll soon be feeling more harmony in work!

Reason to seek coaching, number 12

“To other people, I look successful, but I feel like a fraud!”

Oh, the old Imposter Syndrome – yes, it’s so common that it has an actual scientific name! It’s a fear of being “found out” or exposed as a fraud. (Also see Dunning-Kruger Effect – where people who are less competent overestimate their ability – ironically because of their inability to understand their lack of competence – its fascinating!)

When I’m watching the Oscars, I often wonder whether the nominees feel that they are worthy and deserving of being there, or how many of them have a little voice saying “How did I get here? It must be a mistake. Any moment now they’re going to ask me to leave!” I was reading Stephen Fry (The Fry Chronicles) recently. When I think of him, I think of someone of massive intellect, talent and confidence, but he gives an account of how, when he started Cambridge, he felt that there must have been some huge mistake and that he would be “found out” and asked to leave!

But to look at the problem above firstly I would ask; What is success? Whose definition of success are these “other people” measuring you against? What do you think success is? Maybe you don’t feel successful because success is something different to you.

Or maybe you are just underestimating your ability and your talents and skills and giving in to the fear and the “inner gremlin” who tells you you’re not good enough. We’ll have a look at your beliefs about yourself and look for evidence to disprove what those little voices are saying. We can work on your confidence to and what to say to yourself when those little voices start putting you down.

I remember reading (somewhere) about a lady who called her inner self-sabotaging voice “Nigel”, so she’d say to herself “Oh there goes Nigel again, would he ever just shut up!” So, with a little help you can get your Nigel to quieten down too!

Reason to seek coaching, number 13

“I am an empty nester, and my life now lacks focus”

This is actually similar to the loss involved in some of the other areas I mentioned; divorce, redundancy, retirement. When you focus has been on something or someone else and that focus isn’t there anymore, it can cause various feelings to arise and in fact possibly a bit of an identity crisis. Who are you now that you are not defined as someone’s mammy (or wife, or employee, or defined by your job) Well, you’re you! Remember you?

Important here too not to beat yourself up for having been so focused on your family. Have some self-compassion. You were doing what was right for you and others at the time. Consider gratitude. Think of all the things you have to be grateful for. Some people would have loved to be stay at home parents, or to be around more for their children, but their circumstances dictated that they couldn’t.

So, I seem to be playing the same tune over and over in my list of reasons to come to coaching, but I am repeating for the sake of emphasis. Values and Beliefs – this is where you are going to find your answers. Who do you believe you are? What do you believe about yourself? You want to be on the positive thought train here, rooting out any of your negative “I’m not worthy” beliefs. And your values: ask yourself, what is important to me now? What are my top 3 values in life and how can I honour them? This will get you back to the real you to refocus and continue with a fulfilling life.

Reason to seek coaching, number 14

“I don’t know what I want, but I just know something’s got to change”

This is surprisingly common too. Just feel a bit meh? Just verbalising your feelings to another human being, who has no agenda and no particular axe to grind can be hugely cathartic. I experienced this myself when I had my own coaching as part of my Diploma. My coach gave me the space to do this in a totally gentle and non-judgmental way, and suddenly I heard myself speak and the answers became clear.

To be listened to may initially be just what you need to gain clarity. Coaches are skilled in this, it takes practice. Yes, you can talk to other people, but are they really listening? (especially in these days of “always on” technology), and even if its someone very close to you, they are going to have opinions about you and your situation and be biased in some way, whether either of you are aware of it or not. In my coaching group we were recently working on the area of unconscious bias and working on strategies so that we as coaches could ensure that we were coming to sessions unbiased.

And you may be biased in the way that you speak to people close to you (Oh I better not tell my mum that I’m not happy in my job as she sacrificed so much to put me through college – This was verbalised by none other than Michelle Obama in her book “Becoming” and related to her early work as a corporate lawyer).

Coaching is a safe, non-judgmental, confidential space where everything is possible, and nothing is written off. The coach has faith in you that you have it within yourself to find the answers you need, and if you are having difficulties, the coach will, through dark magic, help you figure it out. (Only joking, as I said I’m not a magician! – we use coaching tools and strategies as well as powerful questions to help you figure out what you want and the changes you need to make).

So, I hope you enjoyed my whistle-stop tour through a few reasons to seek coaching. I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and questions.

Want to ask a question about any of the above, or see if your own situation is coachable?

Just drop me a message or an email. 15-minute initial discovery calls are free!

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