As a career and success coach who has worked with all sorts of clients at various stages throughout their professions, I’ve seen major differences between clients who have made breakthrough transformations from our partnership and those who simply had a nice experience from our time together. While the latter shows up and goes through the motions of each meeting, tool, and exercise, the former takes things a few steps further by enthusiastically engaging in our sessions and making them purposeful for practical implementation into her everyday life.
Unlike other “helper modalities,” where the helping professional is the authority — like therapy, mentoring, and consulting — in coaching, both the client and coach work together as a team. In other words, the client takes the reins of her own life and collaborates with the coach, who helps guide the process of getting her from somewhere functional to somewhere exceptional.
At the end of the day, those who benefit the most from coaching understand that the power of the partnership is all in the alliance they build with their coaches. So, if you are about to work with a coach, who is sought-out by you individually or by your company, I recommend you ask yourself the following key questions before you invest any time or money.
Question 1: How willing am I to do the work?
When we are making the most out of our coaching partnerships, we’ll find that the greatest transformation and growth happens in between sessions. Why? Because this is when real life happens, making it the best playing field for activation of learned principles, while also observing real world results.
Let’s face it: Our greatest teachers are not our coaches. In fact, our greatest teachers are the challenges, obstacles, and adversaries that we face each and every day. So, before jumping into a new coaching partnership, we need to explore our own personal commitments to applying new materials acquired from a coach and incorporating them into our lives.
While less engaged clients will learn a lot of cool new principles from their coaches, fully committed clients will actually experience life-changing breakthroughs by actively incorporating session take-aways into their lives and using the lessons learned to help guide their future actions.
Question 2: Am I ready to trust my coach with my personal information?
While coaches are great sounding boards to discuss all sorts of situations and experiences, they tend to have a vested interest in helping clients dig deep and raise personal awareness to remove obstacles and unlock potential. This propels people to get from where they are to where they want to be.
So, don’t be surprised if your coach asks about how certain topics relate to you personally. At the end of the day, if something is occupying your time and attention, then it is impacting you at some sort of personal level. Good coaches know that whatever happens in your life ties back to how you feel, how you choose to show up, and whatever you personally believe to be true.
With this in mind, if you want your coaching partnerships to make a meaningful impact on your life, then you need to be prepared for things to get a little personal. After all, change starts with us, so it is imperative that our thoughts, feelings, responses, and experiences remain at the core of all issues discussed.
Question 3: How open am I to challenging old assumptions and exploring new perspectives?
If you’re not ready to accept that your way isn’t the only way, then you will always be in the way of your own personal growth and development. This will make any engagement with a coach not only extremely frustrating, but also a complete waste of time and money.
Quality coaches are highly vested in helping clients look at old patterns and life themes with a new lens. Grasping new perspectives often requires a coach to challenge a client’s old habits and belief systems, as well as hold him accountable for any thinking or behavior that blocks him from productive action and outcomes.
So, if you want to experience transformation, then you need to expect a few of your personal truths to get challenged. Instead of digging your heels in when a new perspective is encouraged, trust that your ability to see a single thing from many vantage points will empower you to make the most conscious choices. Then, you’ll find your partnership with your coach will have a more profound impact on your life.
It’s often said that how we show up in one place is indicative of how we show up everywhere. That said, when you lean into your coaching partnerships with complete openness and full commitment, you open yourself up to the same level of transformative experiences in your life — at work, at home, and beyond.
Nina Cashman is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.