Recently, I was part of a conversation about coaching. More specifically, it was a discussion about the fact that certain types of coaching are still very misunderstood.

Think career coaching. Confidence coaching. Health coaching. Even certain types of life coaching.

And the whole thing left me scratching my head.

Why? Well, I’m honestly surprised that women might find the concept of coaching confusing.

But of course, I’m someone who has absolutely immersed themselves in coaching in past few years. I’ve engaged an Executive Coach, a Deportment Coach, a Success Coach and a Language Coach. And I can tell you – if I’ve worked with a coach, I’ve seen positive results in the space I wanted to grow in.

My personal experiences more than convinced me on the value of coaching. So much so that I wanted to help others to also live out their potential. I’ve subsequently completed two separate coaching qualifications in the past three years. And today I have the great honour of coaching women myself.
Safe to say that coaching has become a huge part of my life.

But it seems my immersion in coaching remains the exception rather than the rule.

Because coaching for women still appear to be veiled in mystery.

This is despite the fact that women do use coaching in certain parts of their lives. The best example comes in the form of personal trainers. Women are real fans, employing trainers to help ensure accountability and form. Having the trainer either waiting for them or showing up on their doorstep helps them move toward their goals.

And, as all of my favourite personal development experts regularly say – there is no way that women would start a new sport like golf or tennis without engaging a coach.

It seems that women are happy to participate in coaching from a fitness or physical perspective but less so for mindset related parts of their lives.

So today it’s my job, as someone who has experienced both sides of the coaching coin and believes deeply in the power of coaching, to answer all the common questions you might have about coaching. Let’s go.

What is coaching?

Coaching is the opportunity for you to focus on you and your self actualisation. It provides space for you to build your self-esteem and self-compassion in the area/s you want to focus on.

While there might be some contemplation of the past, when it comes to coaching, there is definite focus on the future. The foundation question for coaching is how can you get from where you are now to where you want to go. This contrasts with therapy which tends to dig deeply into the past.

Some styles of coaching may be quite tough – something of a kick in the tail. This style may well work for some of us, but I’m not sure it works for everyone.

The style of coaching I’ve been trained in is solutions focussed. It also maintains accountability while being incredibly encouraging. Think of it as having someone in your corner, cheering you on, while they support you in taking all the steps to achieve your goals. Regardless of how hard those particular steps might be.

No matter the style, the role of the coach is to hold a safe space for their clients to test their thinking. It’s in this space that you articulate your goals and set the actions that feel right for you. And your coach provides the accountability (just like that personal trainer).

What does a typical coaching session look like?

Although I’m best placed to talk about the coaching methodology I was trained in, the truth is that all the coaches I’ve engaged personally tended to follow a similar structure and process. And all of these processes are specifically designed to support the coaching client.

Discovery calls are a natural first step. This gives you a chance to question the potential coach and decide if they might be right for you. Discovery calls usually take around half an hour, although you may come across longer and shorter versions. You’ll often, but not always, fill out a questionnaire before the discovery call.

The first coaching session tends to be a little longer than subsequent sessions, as you spend more time beyond the discovery call getting to know your coach. Coaches generally take the opportunity to confirm exactly what you want to get out of the coaching series. Together, you’ll then spend time setting goals for the coaching series, and discussion the initial actions you might take to reach those goals.

Depending on your agreed actions, your coach may provide worksheets or other resources to support you on your journey.

The following coaching sessions will see you updating your coach on your progress. You’ll also set new actions to keep you moving toward your goals.

Of course, there’s always an opportunity to celebrate your successes in your sessions. And theses successes might come about sooner than you expect, once you have the right support.

It’s worth noting that coaching can be conducted face-to-face, via video or over a telephone call. I’ve used all of these mediums and found them all helpful.

Is coaching right for me?

Coaching is right for you if you’ve identified an area of your life that you’re dissatisfied with and are keen to make change in. You need to be the type of person who’s prepared to take action and to do the work. As one of my favourite coaches used to say – “Coaching works, as long as you do”.

Depending on your goals, this work can be quite varied. Some of it might be introspective. Or it could also be very action oriented.

How do I find the right coach for me?

That’s a good question. No one wants to invest in themselves without a return on that investment. And that return often depends on your connection with the coach.

You can find coaches on-line and through word of mouth. Once you find a potential coach, spend time in their on-line world. Check out their website, blog, Instagram account or Facebook. If you find their style appealing, book in for a free discovery call to see if you click with them. A bit like getting quotes from a trades-person, I’d recommend you book discovery call with various coaches before you commit to a series.

Do you have any specific questions about coaching that you’d like answered? Feel free to pop your queries in the comments section below. Or alternatively, send me your questions via email.



Photo Credit: Haute Stock

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