Everyone’s first impression of coaching probably stems from what people understand of sports.
But in reality, not even in sports does the coach tell how a player should play the sport that THE athlete (client) is good at.
The coach is merely calling out things seen, raising awareness from an outside perspective for the athlete, to improve their overall game; outside as in the inside.
The littlest things when done right makes all the difference between legend & rookie; accumulated over years of experience, training, practice and dedication, that’s how an athlete attains a level of greatness.
Here’s what most people think about life coaching…
❌ Coaching is about telling people what to do, or giving advice.
❌ A coach doesn’t have to work on his/her own life.
❌ For people who have problems, not for successful people.
❌ Coaching is primarily about helping clients achieve goals.
❌ Coaching is same as mentoring.
❌ Coaching creates a dependency on the coach.
❌ Coaching takes a long time.
All these are so far from the truth.
That’s not to say there aren’t coaches out there that are doing these things in their line of work.
I can’t speak for those coaches and certainly, there isn’t a single industry in the world where there aren’t outliers that ruin it for the actual ones that care & provide a great service.
✅ Coaching is the art of guiding clients in a space of self-discovery. We are facilitating deeper insight, providing feedback through the use of powerful open-ended questions, and in the process uncovering the way forward. In a proper coaching relationship, the client holds all the answers, a coach’s expertise is to draw it out.
✅ If a coach is serious about their work, they have a strong WHY and also a strong desire to swallow their own medicine too. The scam artists out there posing as coaches will not walk the walk and if you dig deep enough, you’ll know to steer away.
✅ Everyone has problems. Even coaches and successful people. Just like athletes, if they were to play the game, coach themselves and do it all themselves, the distance and height they can go in their career would not match that of an athlete with a great coach. That difference of having an outside perspective, is where a coach really shines.
✅ Yes, having goals, direction and a specific transformation is what coaching can do, but not solely. Coaching is also about helping clients understand themselves, who they are, identify the things keeping them stuck that come in the form of limiting beliefs, thoughts & patterns that keeps them where they are, and by drawing attention & uncovering together possible solutions, to move past them.
✅ A mentoring relationship is one where the mentor has a plethora of experience, a lifestyle they’ve created for themselves, and a clear path to how they got to where they are at for which a mentee wants to replicate. As a coaching relationship is entirely client-focused, the discovery has nothing to do with a coach’s direct experience in life; though it may come up from time to time as a basis of discussion.
✅ Coaching is definitely not about creating dependencies & reliance on a coach forever. Can someone choose to keep a coach the rest of their life? Sure, but the prime basis of a coaching relationship is to help a person understand who they are now, where they want to go, & provide them the tools to face the future (whatever that is). A coach doesn’t tell people which next step to take, only opens the avenue for their clients to see the way forward.
✅ Like mentioned above, a coach is creating self-sufficiency. A gifted coach that’s put in the time to hone their skills & craft, will empower their clients to maximize their own brain to figure the way forward themselves. If a coach does not empower, the resistance a client faces stems from both the client’s frustration to think for themselves & a coach’s inability to create self-sufficiency. Dependency is a zero-sum game and can create longer than necessary coaching relationships.
The sad part is, a single bad coach can ruin it for the ones that are taking this incredibly seriously; and by serious, I mean not just for the lives of their clients but in their own lives.
And by no means is this post going to be comprehensive of the coaching industry and the misconceptions out there.
If you have any objections or questions you have about the coaching industry I haven’t addressed, I’d love to answer them all.
You’re more than welcome to slide into my DMs and we can talk from there.
My name is Theophilus Zhuang and I'm a transformational coach who loves speaking about legacy and life purpose. My belief is that life is best lived from the inside and in maximal alignment to for utmost fulfillment. Here you'll find my musings.