3 things you need to know BEFORE you start working with a coach

If you are interested in working with a coach, I’d like to share 3 things for you to consider. I’ve been a career development coach for close to 20 years and a business coach for 10 years. Working with a qualified coach means you are going to make a financial investment in preparing for your future. It means the coach you work with has to be a person whose vision and passion aligns with yours. 

Here are 3 things to consider.

What are their qualifications and how long have they been coaching people?

When I began coaching people in 2001 there were only a few of us outside the academic arena who were coaches. I received my coaching certification so I could offer it as an option to clients who used my human resource consulting business.

After I’d been in business for ten years, people started asking me what I did to create and maintain my successful business. They were people looking to leave the corporate world and start their own business.  

A few years later, I closed my human resource consulting practice and began career and business coaching full time. 

I still love helping companies with their training and development needs and public speaking is one of my favorite things to do. I am a blogger and have a YouTube channel. I never met a camera I didn’t like. My main focus is helping folks make their dreams come true, just like I did with mine. In other words I have been there and I have done that

There are some online programs that will certify you as a “coach” in as little as 5 hours of classroom training. That means you get a sheet of paper signed by your instructor and it tells the world you are a coach. The only requirement is that you have “a passion” for what you’re doing and score seventy percent or higher on a test that covers the material you learned. 

What is their process? How do they work with you?

It’s important you come prepared with a list of questions. 

The purpose of working with a coach, regardless of the discipline, is for you to reach a goal or implement a plan.  It’s that simple. What’s not simple is the “how.”

Every coach has a different way of helping their clients. I help you find out where some of the bottle necks and road blocks are and then guide you in creating strategies to overcome them. I am straight forward and honest with my clients. I ask my clients to take two behavioral assessments before we start working together. This helps me get an idea of how to communicate with them. I rarely take notes. I may write on a chart or white board if something they say strikes a chord with me. Mostly, I am a story teller and most of my examples come from things that happened to me during the course of my life and career. 

My coaching sessions are long conversations punctuated with questions and answers. The highest compliment anyone ever paid me was a client who said the best thing I did for him was to cause him to look at himself and his actions. When we began working together he was a high school graduate and in a low level job for over 17 years. Today, he is the vice president of mid-sized company and has a master degree in business administration. When he looked at himself he saw what he needed to do to reach his goals. As the saying goes, “It was simple, it just wasn’t easy.” That realization came through a process of self exploration and creating strategies.

Read the fine print. 

Every coach has their own set of do’s and don’ts. It’s important that you understand and agree to them BEFORE you begin the coaching relationship and what is required of both you and your coach. 

Do they have a cancellation policy? 

What are the ground rules about contacting your coach between session. 

What is their fee and how do they expect you to pay them? In a lump sum, or in installments?

These are all questions you should receive answers to so you understand what’s expected of you and your coach and by no means are they all the questions you should be asking. 

The most important thing for you as a client to consider is your personal level of comfort with the coach and their style. When you create a a productive relationship, amazing things can occur, for you and your coach. A good coach should support you, guide you, and teach you. 

Hope this helps and Happy Holidays to all of you. 

If you’d like more information or have a question about coaching you can contact me through my web site

Oh No! Not Another Post on Goal Setting

I am sorry. I have to. I am tired of watching people get ship wrecked half way to their destination when some up front  planning could go a long way towards them being successful. 

Wanna increase the possibilities of reaching your goals this up coming year? 

Read on.

Does the goal you’re looking at going to have an impact of your life? The late Zig Ziglar once said that if you want to evaluate the level of investment in yourself all you have to do is look at a plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken, he said, made a contribution. The pig, on the other hand made a commitment. 

That example has served me well over the years. If I am not totally invested in what I am about to do I will fail. That voice inside will tell me. “It’s really not worth it.” or “You are fine the way you are!”

For years Joan begged me to drop 50 pounds or so. I have a familial history of hypertension and had a lower back injury that when aggravated caused my sciatic nerve to act up. Ya think that would be enough, wouldn’t you? 

It did not. 

It took failing down in front of roughly forty five thousand people at a college football game and having to disrupt everyone’s plans for the day to cause me to reassess not only the impact on my life but on the life of so many others. 

Setting a goal to lose those fifty pounds suddenly became very personal and reaching it was going to have a positive impact on my life.

Take small bites. I spent a better part of my adult life trying to lose those fifty pounds. If you’ve been there you know it’s really frustrating. You plunk down some hard earned cash for a gym membership or a diet program and you start off great but you just can’t seem to sustain. After awhile you give up. This may be for everyone else but not for you. (Or me either.) 

The problem is not you or how you live or what you eat or any on that stuff. It’s a vision issue. We can’t fathom whats going to happen next week much less next year.  In my case I was never sure what someone who weighed fifty pounds less than I did acted and looked like. What did they eat? Stuff like that. While it was nice to day dream about it I couldn’t get my hands around its impact on my life. 

We live in a monkey-see-monkey-do world. When we have no basis for our goals we look to the right or left and copy what the person next to us is doing because, “Hey, if it worked for them it will probably work for me!” 

Until it doesn’t. 

That’s when frustration sets in and we start to doubt ourselves and why-the-hell-did-I start-all-of-this-anyway!

We give up. 

Call it fate or dumb luck I started to figure out that my weight wasn’t what was keeping me from reaching my goal. It was my behavior. (Eating a bag of Halloween Buterfingers does wonders for the midsection.) Now, I’d spent a ton of money on working with a couple health coaches and a personal trainer so I pretty much knew the “what.” I just needed to figure out the “how.” I tackled one issue at a time and set a monthly or sometimes weekly goal.

I didn’t starve myself or deny myself.  My goal was becoming  healthy. It meant making choices that would help mt move forward. At the end of a  month I’d evaluate my progress. If things were going well I’d keep-on-keepin’-on. If I’d hit a rough patch, I’d take a step back and look at what I needed to adjust. 

Find someone to help hold you accountable. Did you know the main reason we had homework was to make sure we had paid attention in class. It wasn’t to learn anything. It was to reinforce that the real learning came when the teacher held out a book or sheath of papers and deposited wisdom into our growing brains. 

Homework made sure we were paying attention.

I bring this up because as adults our goals aren’t much different than when we were in school. There was an end game then – graduation. There is an end game now – you fill in the blanks. Homework kept us accountable on our academic journey. 

Lemme ask you something? 

Who holds you accountable in the here and now. 

Every Monday, with the exception of holidays, I wait for my phone to ring. Some weeks I answer it quickly and joyfully, and others I let it ring. 

That’s usually followed by a text message: “I know where you live.”

It’s my accountability partner. 

Each week I share my progress towards my goals. They listen to me and give me kudos if I stay on track or, on the rare occasion I’ve been goofing off they help me focus. They know me, know my business and while we like and respect each other, they are not my friend. 

Sometimes they have to ask difficult questions. Accountability partners are the people who aren’t afraid to stick their heads in the lions mouth and don’t worry about getting it snapped off. 

If you don’t have one find one. 

That’s it for this week. 

Talk to you next Tuesday