Believe it or not there’s a reason why a coach is called a coach and not a therapist, a doctor, or a shaman. Remember that, in the old days, a coach was a four-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage that got you where you wanted to go safely and with ease. A great coach will do the same.
And it’s not that a coach doesn’t provide the healing benefits of a therapist, doctor, or shaman, they do. It’s just a different kind of healing. It’s not soul-wrenching or physically invasive or psychically penetrative. Instead, it’s more grounded, more practical, more useful. That’s not to say for a second that the work doesn’t go deep, it does! But the steps to change are clear and simple and measurable. It’s less heady and less emotional than therapy and more in the here and now and fun!
But before we dive into the 5 reasons a great coach kicks butt, let’s clarify the pun in this post’s title. A great coach not only kicks butt and gets his or her client to create incredible changes in a short amount of time but a great coach kicks “but”— that, tiny but powerful, three-letter word that pretty much stops the action. It’s the word that we all use when we feel unsure, hesitant and unconfident and it’s a word that can stop us dead in our tracks and keep us stuck for a lifetime.
If you’ve ever said, “I really want to, but…”? Or “If only I could, but….”? Or “That’s my plan, but….”? you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. So read on to discover 5 ways a great coach kicks “but” right out of the picture while kicking butt:
A great coach supports instead of smothers clients.
Support absolutely does not mean that whatever your client wants to achieve, you pat them on the back, like a proud aunt, or hold their hands in yours and soul-gaze into their eyes telling them you will support them no matter what. It’s not unconditional, maternal support. It’s practical, rational support. What this means is that if your client says, “I want to earn a million dollars, tomorrow,” you help them to set reasonable goals in a rational time-frame instead. So it’s not support no matter what. It’s support that serves your client’s realistic goals. That’s true support.
A great coach stretches instead of pushes clients.
Stretch is not about forcing, coaxing or pushing your client in any way. By offering your clients stretch, what you are essentially doing is saying, “I believe in you AND real change takes some time.” You are basically saying “I know you can do this” by working with your clients to achieve manageable results based on an action plan while supporting them every step of the way. If support is the yin, then stretch is the yang. The two have to be in balance to truly work. Stretch supports your clients to go for the “impossible,” to reach for the stars, to imagine achieving their wildest dreams while taking it a step at a time and being reasonable and responsible every step of the way.
A great coach offers accountability instead of consequences.
Holding clients accountable means they are never alone. As the coach, you are there to hold your clients to their word, to gently remind them to keep going when they want to give up, to praise them when they achieve their goals, to show up for their lives even when they’re not feeling it. Holding clients accountable to their actions and words is the opposite of penalizing or reprimanding, which is fear-based. It’s treating your clients with adult respect by implying, “We are in this together and I am here to support and stretch you to achieve your highest goals. I am here to keep you accountable to your highest self.”
A great coach helps set measurable and attainable goals.
One of the things that humans thrive on is achieving our goals. It makes us feel a sense of accomplishment, capability, excellence. We’ve won, we’ve learnt, we’ve grown. Not everyone in the world wants to achieve goals, though. If you’ve dedicated your life path to Zen meditation then you probably have no goals other than mastering Zen meditation. But most of us love to achieve our goals, why else would we make little smiley faces and check marks when we’ve crossed off everything on our day’s to-do list and celebrate with a glass of wine? It feels good to accomplish things. And a great coach is his/her clients’ number one fan, helping them to set goals that can, and will, be achieved no matter how big or small. This is truly empowering.
5. VISION & VERSION
A great coach sees your grandest vision and the highest version of YOU, for you.
Oftentimes you know, in your heart of hearts, what you truly want your biggest life vision to be and how you want the greatest version of yourself to look and feel. Then doubt creeps in. And that lingering inferiority complex you once had, kicks in, again, and you get stuck in a negative spiral of your own making. Why? Fear of failure. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of success. Plain fear. We all have it. We all do this. What a great coach does for clients instead is, first and foremost, not buy into this. A great coach mirrors back to you the best version of yourself (when all you see is the worst) and holds the biggest vision for your life when you want to call it quits. This is so powerful. It’s the thing that keeps clients focused on the bigger, brighter picture instead of drowning in self-doubt.
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