Busting the myths of Coaching

Thu 08 Mar

The start of a new year is a common time to consider investing in a Coach. There is a generalised optimism that accompanies the fresh slate of a brand new year. It is a time when a lot of us reflect on how we want this year to be better, brighter or different from the last. I see a spike at this time of year from new clients wanting to decode, unpack and strategise their goals for the year ahead. So for me, this is the perfect time to separate the good, the bad and the ugly!

I will preface this by saying that the myths I bust below and the advice I provide about Coaching is from my philosophical position as a qualified practitioner. It is designed to provide a starting point for conversations with your future Coach to help you ascertain if they are the right fit for you. In the end, it comes down to the relationship and connection you have with your chosen Coach, and the quality of the outcomes of the Coaching conversations.

Myth 1: Coaching is a regulated industry. Quite frankly, any cowboy can don a hat these days and call themselves a Coach. Currently, the Coaching industry is unregulated and it is very important for you, the potential client, to do your research and check in with your Coach about what training they have had, what frameworks their approach is built on and who they are registered with or accountable to.

Myth 2: All Coaching is the same. Every field has differing frameworks or approaches.  Finding a Coach that is the right fit for you is twofold. Firstly, you need to have a good and relaxed relationship/ rapport with this person. More on this later... Secondly, you want to find a Coach that is a good fit for your goals and your philosophical standpoint so make sure you ask about their areas of specialisation and their approach.

Myth 3: Registration with a professional body ensures competence. Just because a Coach is registered, even with a well-known body, does not necessarily make them competent. Granted, for one registration body, a Coach will demonstrate the hours of training they have had and also supply a log book of time spent actually Coaching. But this does not guarantee skill. It guarantees time spent and the two do not necessarily correlate.

Myth 4: If I source my Coach through a well-known organisation, I am guaranteed quality. Nope! The same rules apply as I have mentioned above. Check with the Coach themselves about their credentials. I actually know of several companies who offer 'Coaches' that are not formally trained as Coaches. Granted, these professionals do have great experience in their field, but being an expert and being a Coach requires different skills.

Myth 5: The Coach does the work. Sorry folks! The client does the work. A great Coach will facilitate problem solving, shine light on previously untapped resources and unlock inhibiting patterns and beliefs, but it's what the client chooses to do once they leave the Coaching conversation that leads to change.

Myth 6: Coaching is like Counselling. Counselling, traditionally, focuses on the issue as it occurred in the past. It is a backwards-looking technique with the client often rehashing details of the past, what didn't work or what went wrong. Conversely, Coaching is forward-looking. It provides the facilitation techniques to build a desired future. This may include analysis and acknowledgement of the issue to learn about the structure or what has kept it in place in the present, but the focus is on 'so what now'?

Myth 7: The Experience/Reputation of a Coach matters more than how comfortable I feel with them. Nope. Nope. Nope. Imagine sharing your vulnerabilities, challenges or beliefs with someone you weren't comfortable with or didn't feel safe with. Choose a Coach who you feel comfortable with (it may take a session or two to really resonate) or you'll always have your guard up!

Myth 8: My expectations will be clear to my Coach. I only wish this were the case in all our interactions with people! The short story of this myth is to be really clear about your expectations, no matter how small you think they are. You will have expectations and these can be simple, such as 'I expect a chair and a private room to be Coached in', to complex expectations such as 'I expect my Coach to have the answers and provide solutions'. Ask yourself what it is you want and communicate this with your Coach.

Myth 9: My Coach will lead each session. I don't need to prepare. When we see a Coach, it might be to work on a long term goal, or to work through a specific challenge, or improve in a certain area. It is helpful to know what you want out of a session. A good Coach will ask you this at the start of the session so that the conversation can stay focussed.

Myth 10: Coaches charge standard fees. Coaches vary wildly in the fees they charge and vary what is included within their fee. Some Coaches charge one fee for those wishing to access their services privately, while they charge a different fee if a company or organisation is paying for the sessions. Ask your Coach about their fee structure and also remember that more expensive is not necessarily better!

In conclusion, finding the right Coach who is a good fit for you is an excellent investment of both your time and your money. Quality Coaches have the skills to propel you forward, access resources you didn't know you had and even help you to decide what your focus is or where you want to take your life, career or relationships.

Abby Elizabeth Rees is the director of PunkPDs. This article originally appeared in The Punk Edition, issue 10.