Truthfully, it is embarrassing at times how excited I am about my clients’ victories and how jazzed I get by their client stories. But my happiness is not the reason everyone needs a coach, it’s about your victories and success.

Why should you have a coach? What the heck do you even get?

The short answer is you should get progress.  Whatever progress looks like to you. That may be more clients, more happiness at work, or more life outside of work. But whatever it is you should progress toward your dreams. There’s so much to the long answer and I get really revved up when I talk about it, but let’s try to walk through it, shall we? You get accountability, objectivity, honesty, a sounding board, a safe place and a teammate. A coach keeps your goals in front of you, calls you out when you avoid them, and lets you restructure them if necessary. A coach walks you through your fears while providing you safety, security, and a person to lean on. Accountability gives you time to focus on what you said you wanted, make sure you still want it, and keep your vision in front of you. Your coach gives you HONESTY. Not just a lack of dishonesty, that should be a given, but TRUTH so you face the hard stuff. A coach brings that truth and security by being on your side.

Perspective and objectivity are critical when you get stuck in the weeds. A coach has had experience with others on the road where you are. This may be your first time signing the very first client or hiring the very first employee, but it isn’t your coach’s first time. Yes, we have skin in the game. Your success directly impacts ours. We count on your referrals and continued success. So yes, we have skin in the game. But we don’t have as much as you do and we’ve been here before.  This objectivity lets us help you see beyond today, if for no other reason than we force you to set time aside to look down the road. A good coach gives you space to talk through your challenges and focus your dreams with a gentle, guiding hand.

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Perhaps my favorite part of coaching calls is being the safe place for my clients. I am a sounding board as my clients talk through their ideas, hopes, fears, and challenges. It is delightful to listen to them circle around and discover the answer just because they have relaxed and know they are in a safe place. I love reflecting back to clients what they have told me, because often what I hear shows them something they hadn’t yet heard themselves. Sending a client from an appointment energized and confident is my perfect day.

Your coach should also give you focused work on strategic planning, engagement restructuring, and team growth as you need it. The bottom line is you drive your coaching engagement. Your stresses and needs are where the focus should be, with your coach helping guide the journey so you don’t become overwhelmed.

But you can’t swing a cat* without hitting a coach? How do I pick one?

It can be overwhelming.  You’ll want to pick the right type of coach and you want one who you are excited about working with. There are life, business, executive, and even gratitude coaches. Then there are a million designations and certifications you can get online and elsewhere. It can boggle the mind.

I believe personality and connection are just as important as type and designations, perhaps more so. You are creating a team and embarking on what may be a long term relationship. Aside from just liking your coach as a person, you need to like their coaching style, trust them, and be ready open up to them. Trust your gut on this one. What does your coach love? Listen to them describe their favorite type of client, and a favorite project they worked on. You should hear their tone rise and perhaps their speech cadence will increase. Remember, you are looking for a coach who is describing you!

There are wonderful coaches with and without designations. The International Coach Federation (http://coachfederation.org/) is the go to source for coaches with excellent coaching credentials. There are a myriad of designations for styles and types of coaching, so research carefully before you put too much stock in a particular designation. That said, it is perfectly acceptable to use a coach with the experience you require and no coaching designation. Full disclosure, that’s my category. Research the coach’s background and be sure they have the skills you need.

Referrals from colleagues are a wonderful way to get a sense of the best coach for you. In the end remember you are picking a team mate, someone you want to trust and confide in. Find a coach who helps you make progress, no matter how you define it.

I would love to help you move your practice forward. Don’t hesitate to contact me for a free first consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

*No cats were harmed – or for that matter swung – in the writing of this blog post.