The power of a good coach

Change is hard. Good. And necessary. But also hard.

It makes us feel vulnerable. Even when the change is of our own making – even if it’s a positive change ­­– it can evoke feelings of dread, sadness and anxiety because we can’t fully predict the outcome.

So it is kind of counter-intuitive to voluntarily make life-changing decisions. But of course we do, because we instinctively know that making changes is the only way our future will be better than it is today.

It’s at these times, when we have mustered the courage to make a change, that we could naturally do with some extra support to keep us on track and get us where we hoped that decision would take us.

Those are the times when it is helpful to engage a coach.

Of course I would say that because coaching is part of my business. But I know from personal experience that when coaching works, it can be incredibly powerful. I also know that when it doesn’t, it can be disastrous.

Some years ago, I made a life-changing decision. I had done the research, had up-skilled and was completely committed to what I planned to do. It was an idea that I knew could work but I also had enough self-awareness to know that the thing that would most likely stand in my way was my own self-doubt. The capability and conviction was there, so I figured all I needed was a coach to help me overcome the self-inflicted barriers.

Unfortunately I happened to select a coach who was not skilled for the job. Sure, she had all the credentials – certifications and membership of various associations – but she lacked the most basic of coaching skills. The ability to truly listen. Her flippant, off the cuff remarks had the effect of not only killing the idea but totally crushing my confidence. She realised it was a mistake on her part – and we all make mistakes – but this one would never have happened had she truly listened, been client-focused, and cared more about the relationship with her client than whatever prescribed formula she was following.

Fast forward a few years. I plucked up the courage to move ahead with my plan and engaged a new coach. Despite my previous experience, I still believed that a coach was what I needed to support the changes I wanted to make.

The difference? Literally life-changing! I had the same idea. Same conviction. Same (if not worse) self-doubt. But this time, thanks to the support and engagement of the coach, the idea became a reality, the conviction strengthened and the confidence was no longer a barrier. I got to experience the value and power of an authentic and skilled coached, and it changed my life.

The opportunity

When you are next grappling with life changing events or decisions, consider engaging a good coach to help you to overcome obstacles and create the future you hope for.

But make sure the coach has your best interests at heart and you get value from the relationship. If not, move on. Life is short and precious. You want someone who can help your dreams come true, not shatter them before they have even left the stable!

Read more about the benefits of coaching.

Lucy Sanderson-Gammon, MBA, is a consultant, trainer and coach, specialising in organisational behaviour and communications. She is owner and director of Luminous Consulting. Find out more about Lucy's coaching services here.