Coaching is a powerful technique of supporting an individual unlock his or her own potential. This can be done in partnership with a professional coach who offers a safe space that is non-judgemental and 100% confidential, guiding a coachee (person who wants to be coached) as he talks about his thoughts, beliefs and actions, through a series of meaningful questions. It is very empowering and motivating for the person being coached to realise what depth of possibilities are hidden within his or her own mind.
However quite often people are confused about coaching. Besides mixing it up with counselling and mentoring, there are some common myths about coaching that stop people from using this unique and meaningful tool that can help them make a positive change in their personal and professional lives.
Here the top 5 myths that I wish to bring up and shatter –
#1 “I am an expert in my job, what would a coach know about my industry?”
Very often working professionals, specially experienced people who are experts in their field scoff at the thought of going to a coach who knows nothing about their job or industry. That’s true, as coaches are not supposed to be subject experts. But what they can do is help these professionals move up to their desired next level of growth, help them set new targets, work on those new challenges and build the requisite skills that they wish to succeed with.
#2 “Coaching is only for those who have issues in their work or life!”
The stigma around coaching can exist both at work places and in individual situations. Mental health is often not talked about openly, with coaching being perceived as a performance management tool for under-performers at work and ‘losers’ in life. Everyone needs a coach ~ Bill Gates. Coaching is not only for problem-solving but also to improve our everyday lives. In fact people seeking coaching aren’t the ones with something wrong in them – in fact something’s right about them to enable them to be self-aware, know what is missing in their life and take concrete steps towards achieving it.
#3 “Anyone can coach, it’s just asking a few questions.”
Yes, coaching is about asking questions. No, it can’t be any random question. Coaching is about asking the right, meaningful question at the right time, where a coach gives his 100% attention to the coachee, making him feel comfortable and safe, enough to be able to unlock his deepest belief, revealing a whole new world of emotions and possibilities. Coaching can often feel therapeutic, though the objective of coaching is to set and achieve goals.
#4 “Coaching is expensive.”
That is relative. Think about the money that one spends on personal trainers to achieve physical fitness, then why can we not invest money for exercising our minds. People resort to alcohol, drugs and doctor visits in order to ‘deal with life’ and take care of the stress that builds up. How about investing that money in coaching to feel empowered and take charge of your own life so there is no stress in the first place?
#5 “Coaching is a long process.”
Very often we see coachees getting impatient with the coaching process of coming up with their own answers. It does take time to understand where you stand, to accept the situation, to acknowledge the challenges and to come upon a workable solution. “Why don’t you just tell me what to do?” is the common complaint heard, but with this kind of a thought-process would change really happen? Coaching takes as long as it takes, to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. The aim of coaching is to make the individual think for themselves, to build momentum for them to come up with their own solutions and a time frame for it. And while the time frame might be a year, you might only need a coach for the first 4 months to build that momentum and mindset, till you can run with it on your own.
By shattering these common myths, let’s break the coaching taboo and use this powerful tool to improve our lives and those of people around us.