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Life Coaches: Do you REALLY need one?

Updated on December 22, 2010

A Comedy of Coaches

If you have spent any time in mainstream media in the past year you have probably encountered someone taking a pot shot at life coaching for a laugh.

Despite the best efforts of coaches to standardize under a banner like the International Coaches Federation (ICF) people seem to get a comedic kick out of the concept of coaching. Just wait for Rachel Hunter's depiction of an aging life coach in the upcoming TV series Gravity debuting on the Starz network in 2010.

Like most of you, I enjoyed the odd chuckle at the coaching profession. That was until I watched the 40 second video below. Here was Eric Schmidt CEO of Google, the most innovative company on the planet, proclaiming that coaching was essential to the search giant's success:

"My coach has served Google very well!"

One of the most powerful men in business has a coach? This can't be... But wait, there's more! Schmidt adds:

"Every famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody who is a coach, somebody who can watch what they are doing and say 'is that what you really meant?' "

Don't believe me? Take the next 41 seconds and watch the CEO of Google rave about why everyone needs a coach!

If that didn't get you excited about coaching, check your pulse!

Who amongst us has not dreamed of becoming a famous athlete, top performer or successful business person? Maybe your goals are more modest. Perhaps this is going to be the year that you finally lose 10 lbs or run that marathon that you have always talked about. A life coach provides the human accountability to make these goals happen.

Perhaps your personal goals have a professional focus. Starting to wonder why you have been passed over for promotion at work? Are you stuck on the 3rd rung of an 8 step ladder to the top-floor, corner office? A career coach can help you identify your strengths, focus on your core competencies and give you the edge that skips you up a rung, or two!

Or maybe you have targets for your business that you just can't seem to hit. Do you feel like you are working too hard on your business but don't seem to be getting anywhere? This is a classic symptom that your priorities are scattered and you need to get back to focusing on what you do well, ie. why your customers came to you in the first place. A business coach can help you right the ship and point you to the blue waters, before its too late!

Get Coaching, Get Unstuck.
Get Coaching, Get Unstuck.

So, what is coaching?

The first place to check is always with the current authority of the day: Wikipedia.

"Coaching is a practice with the aim of helping clients determine and achieve personal goals. Coaches use multiple methods that will help clients with the process of setting and reaching goals."

First, where was Wikipedia when I had to write essays for Mrs. VanBrennen's 8th grade English class? Second, that definition sounds a little sterile to me. Lets break coaching down to something you actually want to hear more about!

Achieving Your Goals: These goals can be business, personal or professional. Although most coaches specialize in one niche, the basics of coaching are very similar. It comes down to asking powerful questions, chunking big goals to manageable pieces and providing the accountability to make sure you follow through. This is a proven model that gives you the best chance to get unstuck and achieve your goals. It doesn't matter if your goal is a slimmer waist line, a bigger office or a healthier balance sheet!

Have you ever worked with a life, business or career coach?

See results

The Coaching Toolbox: Honestly, I am not sure if the Wikipedia editor was purposely trying to make coaching seem flaky with the "Life Coaches use Multiple Methods" line. The truth is that there is a rigorous methodology to the coaching process. However, if you work with a good coach, the flow will be so natural you would never suspect it!

Most coaches will begin your coaching relationship with a snap shot of where you are today. Think of it as a baseline in an experiment. Your coach will try to get a feel for how you are going about your life, business or career. Its a great way to look back and see real results down the road!

Wheel of Life: This is a super popular tool among contemporary coaches. Its the classic take a big idea (Your Life/Your Business/Your Career) chunk it down into small areas (Health/Finance/Leadership) and create action items you can tackle in each area. It might take a bit of work to set up, but it sure focuses you on what you need to do to reach the goals you are striving for.

Commitments: I am a man with a long-term girlfriend. If anyone should be terrified of co.. commi... committing it is me! But the truth is that coaching works because you commit. Your coach works with you to identify your top priorities. Together you chunk your priorities down and at the end of each session you make the big C-word. In the following session your coach holds you accountable, making sure you accomplished what you committed to! By breaking your big goals into baby-step commitments you get to where you want to be. Its as simple as that.

So, do you REALLY need a coach? I guess that depends, if you really want to get unstuck and start achieving you personal, professional or business goals. Remember: If coaching works for the CEO of Google it can work for you!

For further reading, check out the Resource Box. I am always curious to hear what you are thinking in regards to coaching! Have you ever used a coach? What first got you attracted to coaching? Or is the cost or stigma of coaching holding you back? Do you have a great coaching story to tell? All coaching-related comments welcome!


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    • Jesse Gardner profile image

      Jesse Gardner 8 years ago from Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Thanks for the comment Weez!

      You haven't missed a single thing! But keep in mind that a business coach does more for your business than just "chunking" down big goals. The key thing all good businesses coaches do is get you refocused on the core of your company.

      I am sure you can imagine with a business like Google and all the possible distractions (mobile apps, Gmail, 10^100 Project) how someone like Eric Schimdt could use a business coach to remind him that Google does one thing better than anyone else. And that thing is search.

      A good coach can help even the top executives, performers or athletes achieve more! Thanks for the comment!


    • profile image

      Weez 8 years ago

      Solid article but I don't think the CEO of Google really needs any help holding himself accountable or "chunking" goals down. I suspect when he puts his mind to something, he follows through. What am I missing?