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Making Change? Can Coaching Help?

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

My very direct friend asked me the other day, “what on earth is coaching anyway?”. I appreciated her question as it showed me how I keep inviting you to hire or refer me as a coach, yet I've never directly answered the question:

What on earth is coaching?

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” This sounds great, yet doesn't really answer the question:

What on earth is coaching?

Let's imagine you have something you want to change in your life. It could be big, it could be small, yet you aren’t able to kickstart it on your own. As I see it, you could turn to 5 different types of people for help: friend, mentor, consultant, therapist or coach.

Let’s breakdown the unique ways they each can kickstart change. . .

5 People Who Can Help Kickstart Change

ONE: A Friend

  • Core Perspective: I like being with you to share experiences and conversation, and hope you like being with me.

  • Key Behaviors: Listens and shares their story, Gives advice, Strives to maintain the relationship, Expects similar behaviors in return

  • Sweet Spot: When you want to hash out common challenges and get insight, approval or reassurance from someone who knows you well.

TWO: A Mentor

  • Core Perspective: I am a model of success and can advise, instruct and support you around how I got here and what you can do to follow my path.

  • Key Behaviors: Gives advice, Shares their story, Assesses goals, Models, Assists in networking

  • Sweet Spot: When you want to learn from and be guided and sponsored by someone who has more experience than you in a specific area.

THREE: A Consultant

  • Core Perspective: I can tell you the changes you need to make to become more efficient and effective, and also provide you with the path to get there.

  • Key Behaviors: Provides expertise in a particular area, Synthesizes information and structures solutions, Enters the relationship with possible answers in mind

  • Sweet Spot: When you need advice and expertise to improve business or organizational performance.

FOUR: A Therapist

  • Core Perspective: I can help you explore past traumas, feelings or experiences and better manage daily life.

  • Key Behaviors: Focuses on problems, Explores past to understand the present, Serves those with dysfunctional issues that are impacting their life.

  • Sweet Spot: When you want to develop cognitive and emotional skills to help you cope more effectively day-to-day and/or reduce symptoms associated with a psychological diagnosis.

FIVE: A Coach

  • Core Perspective: You are the expert and hold the answers to the changes you want to make; I create the space for you to draw these answers out and turn them into action.

  • Key Behaviors: Listens objectively, Collaborates based solely on what the client wants to do, Focuses on solutions and the future, Seeks to serve those wanting to level up or make changes in their life

  • Sweet Spot: When you want to reach specific goals, overcome challenging situations or get ‘unstuck’ in certain areas of your life.

Hopefully this answer the question “what on earth is coaching?

If you're still scratching your head, I've got one more idea to help.

An Experiential Way to Explain: "What On Earth Is Coaching?"

I’m loving my work and the clients I get to meet AND I want to keep improving my skills and meeting new people.

I also know that many people still don’t understand what coaching can do for them (even with the breakdown above).

As a win-win solution, I’ve decided that every Thursday for the rest of the year I will open up a low-cost ($25!) coaching session on my calendar. It’s easy for you or anyone you know to sign up.

No strings attached. No required background or profession. You’ll get some coaching and I’ll get to meet interesting people and build my practice hours.

All I ask is that you come to the session with something you want to work on. We’ll then dive in together for an hour. As an FYI, the type of people I work best with are open, self-reflective, willing to try new things, and seeking to make a change.

I’ve seen over and over that people like you provide the best referrals and my most interesting clients. I would truly appreciate you sharing this newsletter or the link to my calendar for this Thursday offer.

If you enjoyed this blog, join my newsletter for more insights, stories and actions for ambitious nonprofit leaders. And in the meantime, keep up with me on LinkedIn!


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