So, I just sit in front of someone and have a chat? They don’t necessarily give me any advice but that is meant to help me get better at my job? Erm, you are having, what I believe to be called, a laugh. How is someone asking me questions about what I already know going to help me “grow”?
Having been in the coaching game for 5 years now, this attitude is still fairly consistent in most people I encounter. “Coaching is more popular but I don’t really know why and I certainly don’t have the time or money to find out.” This kind of idea adds to the sense that it is all a bit of a scam. How can someone chatting to me have any kind of profound effect on me and my circumstances?
Well, I will attempt to offer a challenge to that assumption. I like to share why I believe coaching is an absolutely essential experience in terms of helping you develop. It is something that can allow you to grow in ways you may not have even considered possible.
Getting out of your own head
Coaching has one main purpose really, it is to get you out of your head and experience the world from a different point of view. See things from other perspectives in order to open you up to new learnings, understandings and appreciation of other ways of doing things.
Coaches create a safe space for you to explore new ideas and perspectives. They help you challenge your assumptions about the world, which provides you with new ways of approaching challenges you may be facing.
Everyone has their own perspective on the world. This has been created through their own experiences. Whatever your upbringing, your home environment or your school experiences, they have all impacted on how you see the world, and thereby how you experience problems and challenges.
Everything you encounter in life is observed through your own filter based on past experiences. This means everyone brings preconceived biases into situations. This can block your ability to see solutions.
An example of different perspectives
One common challenge that people struggle with is what to do for a career. I hear so often that people have no idea what they want to do. Many people often give up and settle for whatever they have fallen into and never fulfil their potential. Perhaps you were “encouraged” to do science at university but you always felt that it wasn’t quite where you wanted to be. This can cause a great amount of anguish and unhappiness, trying to fulfil a career that you just are not sure you want to do. However, you may feel a sense of duty or guilt about giving it up.
Having a coaching conversation can help you potentially see another way. You can explore what is really important to you and why you feel the need to carry on in something that is not for you. You can explore potential limiting beliefs you may have about other careers, perhaps you grew up in an environment where the arts were not valued but you really want to be a writer. Through coaching, you can identify this conflict. This will allow you to explore actions you can take in order to address this.
Everyone has some form of limiting belief that has been learnt through childhood experiences. These often come into conflict with something you feel you want to do. The result can be an extremely difficult emotional experience that is really tough to articulate. Through coaching, you can identify these conflicts and look at different perspectives on the same challenge. This allows you to take action that will help you move forward and understand yourself on a deeper level.
Coaching can facilitate a deeper understanding of your underlying, subconscious beliefs and how they can affect your actions. Beliefs are neither right or wrong. They are more helpful or unhelpful to you. By opening you up to other ways of thinking you can make a more informed decision as to what action may help you achieve a more desired outcome.
The power of a coaching conversation
A coach opens new doors for you through questions, which helps reframe challenges to help you see them from a new point of view. This can open you up to new solutions or ways of thinking. One of the key skills of a coach is the questioning. The difference in this compared to just telling you how to think is telling people how to think doesn’t really work. It may temporarily work to some degree, however, nothing is more powerful than you, yourself realising there is a different way.
By engaging your cognitive capacity to think and revealing different perspectives through which to view challenges, coaching can open you up to a whole new world of solutions, thoughts and self-belief. It also generates a stronger capacity to think critically and analyse a situation from many different perspectives. This opens you up to new ideas, new actions and ultimately better outcomes.
A reflection of other selves
Think of coaching as a mirror that shows you a different self, many different selves. This may sound a bit kooky but it is actually quite simple. Through a coach’s questions, you can be lead to observing different ways of thinking, different possibilities. This is the power of coaching and why it isn’t a sham.
Most people spend the majority of their lives dealing with incessant self-talk that reinforces their own ideas about the world. This hinders their ability to try new things and tackle tough challenges. By engaging with a coach you can challenge your view of the world and open yourself up to possibilities that you may never have thought were within your reach before.