Much has been written about the value of having a coach, mainly by people like myself who offer coaching as a professional service and who are looking to encourage more people to consider having a coach! Obviously I see no harm in this noble aim, however in this article I wanted to reflect on this topic through the eyes of the passenger on the coaching journey, what do they get from embarking on this particular personal development road? After all many other paths for personal development are available including the most popular option of all, doing nothing and letting the University of Life do the teaching. A popular choice as the fees are invisible (but high), and the lessons can be skipped without penalty (or so it appears)…..
Selfish Act – Let’s be clear, the coaching process is an intensely satisfying selfish activity. You should make no apology for this as, like most leaders and family members, you will spend a large part of your life satisfying the needs of others and very little time selfishly considering what you need. This is why the first coaching conversation is all about you. What do you want to achieve and why is this important to you? We spend so little time thinking like this these simple questions can be devilishly difficult to answer beyond the superficial responses of having more time to think, more time to do, more time for this, more time for that, more time for the other…..
Time to Think – The fact is there are 168 hours in each week and there is not a lot we can do about this, so asking for more time is futile. What we should be looking to do is to gain more control over our time and be crystal clear on what we actually spend our time on. In pretty much all of my coaching work we spend time looking at how time is being spent. The usual conclusion is we are getting a pretty poor return for this investment and this is one of the key areas of focus in my coaching. It is really liberating to realise you can gain control of your time and the more you do this, the better quality choices you make and the more productive you become. Of course non of this is possible without….
Clarity of Purpose – Making better quality decisions about how we spend time requires us to have a clear personal purpose, a reason to be, and a clear and compelling destination for our life that is worth all the effort we put into it. Without this clarity we are simply making relative trade-offs between competing demands for our time and, as usual we will deal with the most urgent first regardless of how much this contributes to our purpose in life. Crafting a personal purpose requires a lot of reflective thought and here is where the coaching journey can add some immediate value. Exercises such as the Life-Line and Wheel of Life will help you make sense of why you spend time the way you do and begin to bring into focus what you could, and should, be spending your time on.
Dealing with Others – There are lots of common topics discussed in the coaching work I do, but by far the most common is the topic of dealing with ‘difficult people’. These are people who are not like you and have the capacity to annoy, frustrate, misunderstand and block your good intentions. There are many tools, models and exercises that can help in this area and they all have one insight to share: It turns out that it is a hell of a lot easier to change yourself than it is to change others. So, as a coach. my job is to show different ways to respond to and interact with these ‘difficult people’ and turn them into the asset in your life they can become rather than a drain on your limited energy and enthusiasm. After all without ‘difficult people’ our life would be a breeze and we would learn nothing about ourselves. Their role in your life is to encourage you to expand your capabilities as without them who would you sharpen your sword against?
There are many other views from the coach window still to share, but let’s keep them for future articles. If you are considering a coach and believe I can help, then please get in touch and we can talk about what type of coaching journey would suit you at this stage in your life.