Entrepreneurs and leaders are continually making decisions. When you’re in the driver’s seat of a growing organization, business, or community, your list of responsibilities is a mile long.
Effective leaders are expected to be able to see the big picture and the minuscule nuances simultaneously. On top of that– especially amongst startups and with solopreneurs– they often feel the need to fulfill a dozen different roles all at once.
Perhaps you signed up to be a manager, and what you ended up being was a manager, marketer, sales rep, and janitor.
As a byproduct of constantly juggling competing interests and goals, it’s easy to get stuck. Analysis paralysis can be debilitating. Prioritizing goals with nearly identical returns on investment is nearly impossible. Worst of all, it’s also tempting (and sometimes even encouraged) to neglect your physical and emotional well-being to keep everything moving at Mach speed.
For a while, I thought that experience was inevitable. I assumed that the more responsibility you had as a leader, the more you just had to accept that busyness was your business. But then I discovered coaching.
I’m not talking about the dime-a-dozen self-proclaimed gurus that are all over social media, either. You know the kind I’m talking about. They rent fancy cars and pay models to surround them so that they fit a certain image of success; their only credentials, however, are that they’ve decided they know how to be successful and want to sell you an overpriced course how you can be successful too. That’s not coaching. That’s a scam-artist who has adopted the coach moniker.
Actual coaching isn’t going to sell you on an expensive course that just regurgitates the first page of Google. A real coach is trained to engage in a process of powerful questioning, active reflection, and cocreation to help their clients recognize new opportunities, tap into their own creativity, and have more of those valuable a-ha moments. The result is an average ROI of 788%, according to a recent survey by MetrixGlobal.
Here’s why coaching can be your personal development or entrepreneurial secret weapon.
What is Coaching?
Let’s start with the basics. For a lot of people, life coaching is an opaque concept. There are a ton of misconceptions about what coaching is floating around out there, and there are a lot of folks who give coaching a bad reputation.
When you find a good coach, the International Coaching Federation’s definition hits the nail on the head: Coaching is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.”
To put it another way, coaches facilitate conversations with their clients in a way that allows clients to clarify their goals and values, reframe their outlook, and develop powerful action plans for your personal or professional development.
There’s no pseudoscience or gimmicks to it, either. Coaching only works if the client is willing to be honest, transparent, and authentic. If you put in the work and come to coaching sessions with an open mind, your chances of having a transformational conversation with your coach go through the roof.
Who is Coaching for?
There are about as many kinds of coaches as there are people. Broadly speaking, life coaching is a good fit for anybody. A good life coach will help anybody set new goals for themselves and develop an action plan on how to get there, or reexamine how they might be able to improve their quality of life.
Arguably, those who benefit the most from coaching are folks in leadership positions. I’m biased since I specialize in leadership and executive coaching for people in the B-Corp, startup, and SaaS industries. My biases aside, I love coaching people in leadership roles at these organizations because the potential impact and ROI for them is astronomical.
In my experience, the best moment in any coaching relationship is to see someone having an a-ha moment and recognizing the things that they can do to be a more effective leader. I love these moments because I know that it means that they will be better members of their communities, better managers, and better friends in their personal lives. There is a clear payout in ROI and capital as well, but it’s the human benefit of someone recognizing how to improve their quality of life alongside the quality of others’ lives that I most enjoy.
What is Coaching for?
Ask yourself if any of the following situations sound familiar to you:
- You’re overwhelmed and exhausted, and you have no idea how you’ll muster up enough energy to accomplish everything that you need to.
- You’re having trouble focusing and staying motivated even though there are dozens of things that you know you should be doing.
- You’re not particularly passionate or interested in what you’re doing, and you find it frustrating.
- You’re burnt out.
- You’ve had to sacrifice sleep, good food, exercise, or time with friends and family in order to keep up at work.
- You started a new business venture because you were passionate about a particular mission or goal, but it has since lost its appeal.
- You feel stuck in a rut and don’t know how to innovate or take a new approach to the things you have to do.
- Where you want to be in life feels impossible or too far out of reach to be realistic, so you’re settling for the way things are.
If any of those situations sound familiar to you, chances are that coaching is right for you. If you’d like to set up some time to have a complimentary coaching conversation and explore whether coaching is right for you, you can put some time on my calendar.
What is Coaching NOT for?
It’s important to recognize that coaching is not the same thing as therapy or consulting. For example, with a business consultant, you’re paying for someone’s expertise to help you understand how to do things. They often come in and assess how things are going, and then prescribe specific action steps that they’ve seen work well in the past. With coaching, a coach is seldom going to tell you what you need a do. Instead, coaches will work with you to reframe and reanalyze your given scenario in a way that helps you to generate new ideas and leverage your own expertise toward creating a solution. After all, nobody knows your life or business better than you do!
Coaching is also not therapy. If you know that you struggle with a life-long history of anxiety or are holding onto damaging beliefs about money, then there’s likely some aspect of your past that you’ve internalized and are getting tripped up by. A therapist can help you work through those kinds of issues better than a coach can. A coach will help you focus on the present and what that looks like moving into the future, not so much what you’ve done in the past.