10 Shocking Revelations from a Personal Coach

Working as a personal and career coach, I've learned more about human nature than is likely revealed on a therapist's couch or in psychology textbooks.

The most profound epiphany for me is how people will pay good money to prepare for positive change, but when it comes to actually  changing, only a few can walk through the door.

Those who do walk through are the people we observe and think, “I wish I could do that. How were they able to accomplish so much and be so successful?”

You can be one of those accomplished people, and I'm going to tell you how.

But first, a plug for the work of coaches. I'm a coach, so of course I'm going to be biased. However, I didn't even know what coaching was until the last few years when I went back to school and got my coaching certification. I have friends who think what I do is new age malarkey.  That's fine. They have never been coached.

When I discovered the power of coaching for myself, I wanted to become a coach. I wanted to offer others what had been given to me.

If you don't know about coaching, here's a very brief explanation. Most importantly, coaching is a partnership.

The client has a goal or issue they want to work on. They want to move past something that's holding them back, and/or they want to achieve something that propels them forward.  Usually it's a combination. The coach is the facilitator of self-discovery, massive transformation, and action for the client.

The coach asks the probing questions, offers challenges, fosters mind shifts, and serves as an accountability motivator. Think of it as a personal trainer for your life or career, but where you are determining the roadblocks, strategies and goals.

With a coach, you can achieve great things much more quickly and effectively, because someone is helping you stay on the path.

If you don't take the actions, the coach is going to ask you to explore why and challenge you to dig deeper.

I have had clients who have gotten to that point. They have determined what they think they need to do to get where they want to go, but when the time comes to take the actions, they stop dead in their tracks. What's up with this? How can we move past the “I should be doing this” mindset to the “look what I've accomplished” declaration?

Here are some surprising things that I've learned about personal growth and change and how to move past what's holding you back:

1.  Inertia is the most common roadblock. People just don't like to get out of their metaphorical cushy chairs and take action. I guess another word for this is laziness. We don't want to be lazy. We know we want to lose weight, find a more fulfilling job, clean out the garage, or whatever we dream of achieving.

  • Unless we are suffering or there is some huge motivating factor, most of us just accept the status quo. A coach doesn't let that happen.

2. Fear is the next most common roadblock. Inertia can happen all by itself, but fear is often the culprit. Change creates anxiety. New situations, actions and behaviors are uncomfortable until we get accustomed to them. Sometimes fears arise when the coach helps the client uncover and address hidden limiting beliefs or past hurts that have been crippling.

  • A coach can help a client dissemble limiting beliefs and safely move beyond them.

3. Some fears need therapy. If fears arise for a client that are deep-rooted or related to past trauma or issues, a coach will refer a client for therapy. There is a difference between limiting beliefs and psychological wounds. A coach can help a client challenge limiting beliefs to see a situation in an entirely new way. But a trained therapist must work with a client who needs real healing.

  • If you are someone who has issues that need resolution, seeking the support of a good therapist is the most forward-moving step you can take — before you work with a coach.

4. Sometimes what you think you want is not what you really want. I can't tell you how many times this has happened in a coaching scenario. A client comes in wanting to make, say, a career change. They are convinced they need a new career. Through the process of coaching and the self-discovery involved, they ultimately realize they don't want to change careers, but perhaps desire more flexibility in their current job or they want more responsibility, or whatever.
coaching career (1)

  • A coach helps you uncover what you really want before you take action, so you don't start down one direction, only to discover a dead end.

5. You don't have to bite off more than you can chew. One of the main reasons people stop taking action is that they over-commit themselves. They say they want to lose weight and start with a drastic celery stick and carrot juice diet. After a few days of that, a juicy hamburger is far more motivating than your skinny jeans.

  • A coach helps you decide what you can realistically accomplish in between sessions. There isn't pressure for huge goals, just steady forward movement.

6. Everything is easier when you have a partner. Whenever you do something challenging, it is always less stressful when you have a friend or support person there to help you and cheer you on. Imagine having a support person who is trained not just to cheer you on (though that is a big part of coaching), but also to ask questions and listen in a way that helps you know yourself better so that you can create the perfect strategy and actions for growth.

  • A coach is someone who gently holds your feet to the fire and encourages you to take those actions.

7. One thing leads to another. When a client goes through the coaching process for one goal or issue, they almost always open doors of self-discovery for other areas of their life and work. I've had a client come to me with a career goal, and during the coaching process they discovered their relationship was preventing them from moving forward. The coaching shifted from work on the career passion to working on relationship intimacy, and then back to work on the career.

  • So many areas of our lives are tangled and interconnected, and a coach can help you examine all of the pieces.

8. Your own intuition is more valuable than any outside advice. This is one of the premises of coaching. You won't find a coach giving advice during a session about what's best for the client or what actions the client should take. A coach trusts and knows that the best decisions and ideas come from internal motivation, not external prompts or suggestions.

  • Coaches expect their clients to be fully responsible for themselves, their lives and problems, because responsibility permits choice and authentic action.

9. Weak, helpless people don't hire coaches — strong people do. There is a perception that people who can't do things for themselves hire a coach to help them. This couldn't be further from the truth. Generally, people who hire coaches and stick with them are those who are eager to seize life by the horns and make profound, positive changes for the better.

  • A coach is not a crutch. Hiring a coach is a big, bold, fearless decision.

10. Coaches want to work with coachable clients. Perhaps there are coaches out there who work with anyone and everyone, even if  the client isn't really coachable. But for most coaches, this is not acceptable. People get into coaching because it is their passion to help others move forward and make extraordinary, life-altering changes.

  • Trying to coach someone who isn't willing to take action is like being on a treadmill — you get nowhere fast. Most coaches have the integrity to let go of an uncoachable client.

Does anyone really need a coach? The short answer is “no.” Coaching is for achievers who desire to be coached. It's for those who are tired of fence-sitting, equivocating, and stagnating.

Coaching is not for those who can't bear a little discomfort, a little stretching beyond limits. It's not for those who are clinically depressed, unable (or unwilling) to take action, or who are distracted by a serious life challenge.

A coachable client is one who is ready, willing, eager, and excited about the coaching journey and the amazing outcomes it produces.

Comments

  1. Wow, Barrie! These are such lovely facts. I really like the one about being fearless enough to hire a coach. It is indeed a brave step and sometimes, the most important one.
    .-= Prerna´s last blog ..Five Simple Instant Energy Makeovers for Busy Souls =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thank you Prerna. It does take some fearlessness. Many people aren’t aware of what a coach does, so they are skeptical about the process. Most coaches offer a complimentary session so that a client can understand the power of coaching.

  2. Christopher Lovejoy says:

    Barrie, I enjoyed reading these insights into life coaching. I’d be willing to read a case study of success with this type of coaching, with an overview of what made this success possible.

    Christopher
    .-= Christopher Lovejoy´s last blog ..The Seven Deadly Sins =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That’s a great idea Christopher! I will have to do a case study with one of my willing clients.

  3. Tess The Bold Life says:

    I was working on a big internet marketing project a couple of years ago. However through the process of coaching I discovered it wasn’t my passion and therefore I was stuck and beating myself up. Sometimes we are so close to the problem we can’t see the bigger picture. I’m grateful for the coaching that broght me where I am today.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Feeling Jealous Shine Your Light On It… =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That’s a great endorsement for coaching Tess. Usually we are too close to the problem and can’t see through the murk to get to the meat of the issue or desire. A coach helps you focus on one slice of the issue at a time until you have the whole pie in front of you.

  4. Barrie,

    It’s clear that setting meaningful goals is a complex task that really requires contemplation and reflection. Many high aspirations people hold can seem too lofty, and it can be scary to approach a goal that will drastically change our life. I think everyone should have a coach for the sheer fact that most general people in our life don’t provide the encouragement and accountability that a coach provides. Really having support through big changes is crucial to following through and sticking with it. A coach can really be a guide to help people achieve more than they expect. Thanks!
    .-= Joe Wilner´s last blog ..What’s your Gratitude Cycle- Here’s how to be more grateful =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Joe,
      Of course I agree wholeheartedly! Have you been coached before? It sounds like you have and that it really helped you. I’d love to hear your experience.

  5. My husband is a life coach, too – he graduated last June. His course included lots of pro-bono coaching sessions, and I volunteered to be a coachee for one of the other students.
    Before my first coaching session I was scared to death – of what, I wonder now?
    It’s been an amazing experience. The best part, for me, was to see that I could come up with all the solutions. I didn’t have to wait for someone else to give them to me. Coaching is a great way to gain confidence, reclaim your power, and tap into your intuition.
    “A coach trusts and knows that the best decisions and ideas come from internal motivation, not external prompts or suggestions.” Amen.

    Thanks for this brilliant post, Barrie.
    .-= Cristina´s last blog ..Tiny Digs 15 Great Tips to Supersize Your Small Space =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That’s a great story Cristina. For anyone who can’t afford coaching right now, seeking out a student coach is a great way to get the benefits of coaching for free. Student coaches are required to do some pro bono coaching. You can contact any of the coaching schools and ask about it. I studied at Coach U, but there are many schools. Check out the accredited schools associated with the International Coach Federation mentioned in my post.

  6. First, I love your photo on this post!

    And, my favorite in your list is #8. Answers lie within our own observations. We may not be able to see them right now, which is why we hire a coach…to help clear out the weeds and trees that are blocking the way!

    Lastly, do tell – has blogging led to more coaching clients for you? You have one of the most memorable “brands” I’ve come across 🙂
    .-= Marci´s last blog ..Coaching Kids on the Sidelines of their Sibling Squabbles =-.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Marci,
      I love that photo too! I love that she is holding up ten fingers for my ten points. Thank you for your nice comments. Yes, blogging has brought me more clients. Blogging is another means of coaching for me too. I love sharing information and watching others grow along with me!

  7. I really enjoyed this post, and everything you said makes complete logical sense to me!
    .-= Wendy Irene´s last blog ..New Blog Friends =-.

  8. Love this post – everyone who is considering getting a personal coach should read it! In fact, I think I’ll recommend it to my own clients! Thanks so much for sharing your worthy insights.
    .-= Lisa Sansom´s last blog ..Maybe I’ll move to Costa Rica! =-.

  9. Here is what ive noticed with others, including my self. I am a mentor, an educatiinal coach and tutor for a private highschool and privatly as well. What i have noticed is alot of emotional blocks that cause stumbles along the way. Some where along their path, they recive training, either from parents or society in general, that imprint on their minds that they can not accomplish much of anything. One of the biggest ones is that being succesful and earning money will turn me into a bad person. They associate money with evil. When really, money is nuetrul and will only amplify whats already in us. Being a physics and engineering major that i am, it fits in perfect for coaching and hping get past that road block. The other road block…. Repeating past failures. Our schools are putting sooo much pressure on the younger generation, that im affraid in the next 10 years, you are going to see a huge uproar of anxiety attacks and depression. Their brains are not being aloted the time to process. Thats where i come into to try and help.