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Coaching is the Universal Language of Change

Coaching is the Universal Language of Change

Would you go to a doctor who hadn’t completed their qualification? Similarly, a dentist, a chiropractor, or a physio?

The answer is "no," right? Thought so. And frankly, I don’t blame you!

When it comes to your health, you want to ensure you’re in competent hands, so you take the time to check qualifications and experience, and you go with a recommendation.

So, what about when you engage a life coach? Or an executive coach?

These days, you can get a coach for anything. You can get a coach for public speaking, writing, singing, a career transition, a business coach, an executive coach, or if you are leading a team, a leadership coach. You can get a health and wellbeing coach, a life coach, and even a relationship coach…And the list goes on!

Is your coach qualified?

How well do you know your coach’s credentials? Is this coach qualified? Does he or she have experience? In particular, does the coach have experience in the area of your life or career that you are looking to improve?

A lot of people make the mistake of hiring the first person who comes along. Or hiring a coach based on price. I hate to break it to you, but neither of those is the best idea.

Here’s why.

Coaches can very effectively unlock your full potential so that you get the benefits of a real, long-lasting transformational change. But to do that, a coach really needs to get to know you, and vice versa. You need rapport. And you need a coach who will stretch you and help you to uncover things about yourself that you probably didn’t even know existed.

A coach also needs to understand what you’re trying to achieve in life or business, and be able to deliver the appropriate tools to help you get there. This means your coach needs to have a good understanding of what you’re working with in your current circumstances, whether it is a corporate environment, a start-up business, a career transition, a personal issue (like a separation or divorce), or breaking an old habit or pattern (like being indecisive, lacking self-confidence, or having no work/life balance).

A coach works with your mind, your emotions, and your spirit. So,  just as you consider that your physical health deserves the best in the business, you should also be striving to hire the best in the business to coach you.

These days, coaches are popping up everywhere, and everyone is calling themselves a "coach." Some are doing so on very shaky credentials.

This is a very fast-growing profession, and that’s a great thing, because good coaches really can help people to work through change and strive to thrive in all areas. Life is busy. We’re all juggling commitments and responsibilities, and a coach will help you find the time to make you a priority – because once you shift your mindset and behavior, other positive changes naturally occur in your life. If you ask me, everyone should have a coach!

[Related: Are You Coachable? Here's How to Tell.]

What to look for when you hire a coach.

What you’re looking for when you hire a coach is threefold: qualifications and credentials, experience, and a "good fit." If you can get references and testimonials, or even a referral, they will really help you to understand your coach’s particular strengths.

The beauty of a coaching relationship is that it can flow; you can go in and out of it over the course of months or even years, working together in moments as you need to, depending on where you’re at in life and what you’re trying to achieve.

If you’ve never had a coach, then you won’t necessarily understand the desire for this long-term relationship – but believe me, when you find the right coach who helps you tap into your greatest potential, then you start a journey that you never want to stop.

Once you begin to uncover who you are and what you’re capable of, you’ll be left forever wanting to grow, expand, and evolve to be the best you can be. Checking in with a coach from time to time is something that can really create "quantum leaps" in situations where you’ve felt stuck or slow-going. A coach will help you figure out the obstacle and overcome it.

A coach is interested in helping you to achieve whatever it is you want. They are impartial and give you open and honest feedback. They make you accountable for the work you need to do to get where you want to go. You can confide in a coach. And a coach will heartily cheer you on from the sidelines!

What to expect from a coach.

Importantly, a coach will also keep you focused, and will do this by asking specific questions such as:

  • What did you learn from your session today?
  • What steps are you going to take to make this situation successful?
  • What are some different strategies you could have used?

These kinds of questions help you to open your mind, because they require an expansive response, making you think a little differently and tap into what you’re learning.

[Related: When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears]

Delivering positive returns to the economic and social aspects of a workplace.

In recent years, professional coaching has shown a significant return on investment for companies. Recently it was reported that 80% of the Fortune 500 companies provide coaching services to multiple levels of their management teams. These companies report increased sales, increased profits, growth in market share, and increased executive satisfaction when coaches are used.

Now, if that’s not convincing, I don’t know what is!

Within a coaching partnership, a coach can bolster your creativity, encourage fresh perspectives, and provide inspiration through the insightful questions they ask during your sessions and the actionable goals they co-create with you.

Furthermore, after working within a professional coaching partnership, most clients say they walk away with: fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities; enhanced thinking, decision-making skills, and interpersonal effectiveness; and increased confidence in carrying out chosen work and life roles.

All of this is very rewarding work for the coach. To see someone you’ve helped along the way finally achieve that goal? It’s pretty cool.

Every coach/client relationship is different, and this is a job you can learn from when you’re open to seeing the nuances of human behavior and have a genuine curiosity about people and personalities, plus a desire to help.

Want to become a coach?

For many of the reasons I’ve outlined here, the coaching profession is in increasingly high demand. As more people enter the field, it’s becoming more competitive, too. That’s why it’s so important for coaches to have appropriate, recognized qualifications.

In Australia, the industry is largely unregulated at present, so coaches worth their reputation usually have memberships with international organizations – they want to show that they’re committed to the profession.

If you want to become a coach, then coaching qualifications will not only give you the tools you need, but help you understand the ethics of the coach/client relationship, too. It’s non-judgmental and confidential in nature, and helps you set boundaries for yourself so that you don’t end up taking on a client’s problems.

Because of the nature of the work, I also believe that it’s a good idea to have some life experience, professional skills, and experience that you can bring to the table, too.

[Related: Great Leaders Develop Others by Coaching]


Catherine Plano works one-on-one with women to help them reconnect with themselves. In 2012, she launched the I AM WOMAN Project, which is now a global weekly podcast where women from all over the world share their stories.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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