What Coaching Is And How To Know You’re Ready

by Feb 1, 2021Leadership Development0 comments

Coaching is a common tool for people to use these days outside of the sports arena but you may be wondering what coaching is exactly. If we’re not talking about a sports coach then why in the world would someone hire a coach? Personally, before they brought coach training to my organization, I had no idea what coaching was or why it would be worth the money.

Like many of us, I’ve had mentors and therapists and sponsors and champions but never a coach. Boy oh boy I wish I had found it sooner! It was clearly life altering because here I am launching my own coaching business. If that’s not a testament to its power then I’m not sure what is….but, I digress. So, let’s explore what coaching is and then I’ll provide a quick checklist to help you know if you’re ready for it. 

What coaching is not…..

It’s not therapy

Although the work is deep sometimes, it’s not about unpacking the past to explore. Since the intention of coaching is to make serious progress on goals, it’s more about the things that hold us back. Often those things (internal dialogue, limiting beliefs, insecurities, etc) have come from something in our past but the coach should stay focused on the current and future. The current is how it’s a barrier for you and the future is about ways to overcome that. 

There may be some scenarios where the things of the past truly need some unpacking and the coach would refer you to find a therapist to work with. 

It’s not mentoring

The point of having a great mentor is to get where they are. Most clients are not looking to be a coach someday. So being a great coach is not about the coach’s experiences and how they were overcome but about what the client wants to achieve. The great thing about coaching is that there’s no need to have specific experience with that goal or industry. 

It’s not consulting

Similar to mentoring but oftentimes a consultant is hired from the outside of the company to come in and really find ways to make change. There may be some back and forth when finalizing a plan, but in general you’re paying a consultant for their VERY specific knowledge about what you’re trying to accomplish. 

If it’s none of these things then what is coaching?

“Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” 

International Coaching Federation

It’s a system and process that allows the client to get focused time to look at where they want to go and how to get there. The coach provides external insight into the client to shed light on barriers and blind spots. The “partnering” piece is really the powerful piece. The experience is hard to describe but the results people get are a testament to its power. Executives and individuals all over the world are using the power of coaching to decrease procrastination and increase goal achievement.  

If the coach isn’t telling you how to change then why not just set my own goals and work through them? 

It’s about making all-encompassing progress and not just checking off another goal. Studies show that coaching can improve:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-confidence
  • Leadership style
  • Interpersonal relationships (inside and outside of work)
  • Managing conflict

These areas of improvement have a ripple effect long past accomplishing a single goal. And as we start building self-awareness, we can more easily continue on that path for constant growth.  

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” 

Timothy Gallwey

Before you jump online and start looking for a coach…..make sure you’re ready to make the most of that investment. It’s an investment that’s worth more than its cost but you should always be wanting a return on that investment. What coaching is for you will depend on how much you’re willing to work.

Are you at a place in life that allows for learning? 

If you’re in the middle of a divorce or other life-altering season then it *might* not be the right time. This isn’t a black and white area because there are coaches out there who even specialize in some of those major events but I would say that if you don’t have the energy to get through a day then you won’t have the energy to focus on making these changes. Again, it’s not black-and-white so make sure to be honest with your potential coach about where you are in your journey. 

Do you have goals you’re working towards? 

I’m always an advocate for growing but if you don’t really have a goal you’re working towards then it might be hard to come up with objectives for your coaching. It’s a fair amount of money to spend only to have random, top-of-mind conversations. 

Are you ready and willing to do the work? 

Your coach will not be dictating or driving you to action so you have to be ready to do the work. That’s the work required inside each session as well as the work you want to accomplish between sessions. Because so much of the progress you make is around deep development of self, it does take a lot of energy, effort and focus. If you’re not ready for that commitment then maybe postpone getting a coach until you have the energy. 

If all of that sounds exhilarating then you’re probably ready to find a coach and get to work. There’s many places and ways to find a coach and the best first step is to set up a consult to confirm that personalities and values are aligned. 

What’s your most difficult barrier when you embark on a new goal? 


Interested in working with me? Shoot me a message and we’ll set up a free 30-minute consult

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About The Author

Hey folks! I’m KD and I’m glad you’re here. Disruptor, leader, mom, coach…I’ve had many titles in my life but mom and disruptor are my two favorite. I’d like to think that I’m raising 4 more disruptors to join my lifelong cause of changing the abundant oppressive systems that still exist. Whether that’s corporate culture, LGBTQ+ rights, educational equity, or generational trauma, it’s all powerful and needed work. Check out the freebies and read more about me here.


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