How do I know if I’m ready for coaching?


How do I know

if i’m ready for coaching?

I want to put you off coaching. Wait. What? That’s probably not the first line you were expecting to see on this post...but, I’m serious.

Coaching only works when you are ready, willing and able to move forward with your goals. If you’re not. That’s Ok. You’re just not ready yet.

One of the trainers on my coaching diploma describes himself as a ‘gap analyst.’ I like that concept. Someone who looks at the gap in-between where you are and where you want to get to; helping you discover the steps needed for you to get from A to B.

Each step–which you come up with, as the coach doesn’t tell you what to do–relies on action being taken by you. It has to be lead by you. Any mollycoddling of the client has the potential to build a dependency on the coach, whereas coaching done well is about empowering the client to reach their potential.

To tell if you are ready to be coached, ask yourself these questions.

1. Do you have the time to invest in yourself?

This is not always about the physical time. Certainly, I’m a believer in the concept of almost everybody having time, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day.  But this is sometimes about prioritisation. Where does your self-development and desire to achieve your goals rank in your current life priorities? If it’s too low, you’ll probably need to change this before coaching will work well for you.

2. Do you see a gap between where you currently are and where you want to be?

Often it starts with a frustration. It might be that you know you should be achieving more but for whatever reason, you’re not. You’ve tried several things but none have seemed to work, or not for any length of time.

You know roughly what you want–or at least what you don’t want. You don’t want to be in the same position in two years time...that’s a good starting point to then discover what it is you actually want.

When I’ve run Clarity Workshops helping businesses get clear on their vision, one of the definitions I use for vision is ‘The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom’. Visualising the future makes it easier to see where you are now, and the gap that needs filling to get where you want to be.

3. Are you willing to do what’s necessary to get where you want to go?

I remember wanting desperately to finish the first draft of my Sci-fi novella some years ago. I got up at early in the morning so I could start writing at 7am for at least half-an-hour every other day. I was ready and willing to do that and did it for eight months and finally finished the first draft.

It’s hard work achieving your goals. To be coached you have to accept responsibility and to be prepared to put in the hard work and make the necessary sacrifices. That can be anything from giving up several hours per week of being cosy in bed; watching box sets on Netflix; spending time with friends; investing financially. Whatever it is for you, you have to count the cost. If you’re not willing, that’s OK. You’re just not ready yet.

4. Are you willing to be challenged on limiting behaviour that inhibits your growth?

Unless you have an open and honest relationship with your coach, it won’t work. This means being open to being challenged. Coaching involves making yourself vulnerable and hearing things you say reflected back to you that you might not realise you actually thought.

For example, I remember one particular session where I repeated back what the client had said and it was almost like he did a double take–it was on the phone so I couldn’t physically see. He then said ‘did I say that? I didn’t realise I thought like that’.

There’s a verse in the bible that says ‘out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’. Sometimes we don’t know what we think until we hear what we say. This can be challenging as the next step–if that thought or behaviour is not what you want it to be–is to change it. This takes a lot of willingness to do which you’ll need to be prepared for.

5. Do you have the patience to pursue your goal regardless of the immediacy of the results?

If you want immediate results, coaching probably isn’t for you. Many people can create change for themselves in a short time; however, to refine and sustain the change takes time.

There have been studies carried out on the time it takes for new habits to form and it’s not one 60 minute session! It’s often a month to three months. That’s why we don’t provide one-off sessions (apart from top-up sessions to past clients) and offer four or twelve session programmes.

You will need patience as well as being able to take action on the steps necessary to achieve your goals.

6. Do you have the support mechanisms around you to help you achieve your goals?

I mentioned above about making the time to write the first draft of my sci-fi novella. The other thing that made that happen was accountability. I made myself accountable to several people–part of my creative network–and reported back to them every week with how I got on. The encouragement I received was invaluable in helping me feel supported to achieve the goal.

For you, that may be a partner, family member, or group of friends. Successful people rarely achieve success in a vacuum. They are always part of a group that supports and encourages them. Even J.R.R Tolkien needed C.S.Lewis and the other members of the Inklings group.

7. Is coaching the appropriate discipline for you at this time?

Coaching is not counselling, mentoring, consulting or even training. It is a separate discipline. A brief difference is:

  • A counsellor tends to focus on the past and can be looking for deep-rooted causes to why you have certain behaviours.

  • A mentor has usually been where you want to go. They can give you the wisdom of their experience, sharing what worked for them and what to look out for.

  • A consultant is usually brought in to provide a solution to a specific problem.

  • A trainer helps you learn new specific skills.

  • A coach on the other hand, in the words of Tony Stoltzfus ‘can help you take your dreams, convert them into goals and strategies and cheer you on until you complete them’.

There may be some crossover, but hopefully, you can see the difference to know whether it is actually coaching that’s right for you.

Are you ready?

You should be clearer now to decide whether coaching is the right thing for you right now. It’s really Ok if it isn’t. But if after reading this post you think you are ready for it, get in touch.