The Benefits of Working With a Coach
A coach is someone who shows others how to improve a particular skill or process. They help a person (or a group) towards a specific goal to succeed. Pretty obvious, right? But we often don’t know whether it’s useful to work with a coach.
In this article, I’ll share my thoughts on working with coaches. In case you want to hire one, this can help. Full disclosure: I don’t offer any coaching services, and I’m sharing this from the perspective of someone who hires a coach.
I generally think it’s more effective to work with a coach when you’re serious about a particular skill or process. Let me give you a few examples:
- Building a career: Some coaches can help with interviewing techniques, negotiating raises, switching careers, etc.
- Building a business: A coach can help you grow your business by advising you on things like hiring, marketing strategy, sales, etc.
- Learning a skill: A coach can teach you any type of skill: Writing, coding, tennis, playing the guitar, learning a language, and so forth.
- Getting in shape: There are a lot of coaches in the health and fitness field. You can work with a coach to improve your strength, stamina, diet, etc.
As you can see, the above examples all focus on a skill or process. Let’s say you’re building a business and have been seeing decent growth for two years. But now, you want to take it to the next level. A business coach who has experience with growing a company can help with that process.
In general, I only like working with a coach when you’re truly committed to succeeding at something. Otherwise, it’s a waste of both of your time.
And when it comes to business/careers, hire a coach when you’re ready to take things to the next level. It doesn’t make sense to hire a coach when you’re just starting out. When you start a business, it’s better to read books and take courses in the beginning.
Get your first clients or customers, and then hire a coach who can help you with growing your business.
Benefits of hiring a coach
Let me give you an example of how I work with a coach. Several years ago, I started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). But going to group classes didn’t help me progress that fast. You’re often matched with other beginners, so you both have no clue what you’re doing.
And the instructor can’t oversee everyone all the time. What’s worse, during sparring, you get matched with another person who often tries to teach you stuff. But that guy is not a teacher. He’s teaching you the wrong thing.
That’s a matter of the blind leading the blind. That’s why I took 1-on-1 lessons after a few group classes. My coach ensures that my posture and execution are correct.
Coaching saves you a lot of time
Otto von Bismarck once said: “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
Coaching is for people who are serious about their progress. It’s also about making the best use of your time. While there are no shortcuts in life, there are certainly detours.
When you set out to do something on your own, you can only rely on your own experience. That results in a lot of time-wasting. As an amateur in any field, you’ll make beginner mistakes. It’s better to rely on the knowledge and experience of masters to avoid those mistakes.
Accountability fast-tracks your progress
A lot of our goals often fall short because they’re either unrealistic, or someone isn’t there to help us maintain our progress. This is where a coach becomes useful. Coaches can help inspire you to accomplish both small and big goals. They empower you to stay focused and maintain consistent progress.
Also, having someone encourage you along the way can significantly impact your motivation.
Most of the time, we are our own greatest enemy when we’re trying to improve ourselves, careers, and lives. Coaches can provide you an unbiased point-of-view and constructive criticism. With the help of a coach, you can see beyond your self-limiting beliefs.
How to find the right coach
Now that you’ve determined that you need to hire a coach, how do you go about finding the right coach who fits your needs? Hiring coaches is often more expensive than, say, purchasing an online course.
Also, depending on the skill or process you’re trying to improve, you’ll likely work with your coach for a long time.
Bottom line: Choosing the wrong coach will cost you a lot of money and time. So you want to choose the right coach who will best fit your needs. Here are some of the things you should look out for, and several questions to reflect on, to find the right coach:
What credentials and experience are important?
An executive coach with a lot of experience managing multinational conglomerates is not the best person to coach a solopreneur. When looking for a coach, always consider the following questions:
- Has your coach helped similar people with similar challenges as you?
- What has the coach achieved in their own life?
- What kinds of clients have they worked with in the past?
- Have the clients achieved what you’re aiming to achieve, and have had great success?
I’m personally not about credentials, certifications, and degrees. Who cares? I care about results and what a coach has performed in their own lives. If someone has never built a successful business, I don’t expect them to teach others how to do it.
Determine the best coaching method
How do you want to be coached? With the pandemic, most coaching happens virtually. But even with virtual coaching, styles can still differ.
The point here is, to be honest with your personal preferences. For example, some people have to work with someone local.
This is especially true if you’re looking for a strength-training coach. You’ll likely want someone who can easily correct your posture or adjust your execution to maximize the effects of the exercise.
For instance, I’m currently working with a language coach/teacher to learn Spanish. Her style is very laid back and we don’t speak Spanish all the time. I like that a lot. But some people are very strict, they don’t answer in another language but the one they are teaching. I can’t stand that. But others love it.
There’s no one way
This is quite obvious, but it’s important to always consider your chemistry with your prospective coach. Talk to them for 15 minutes or so. A good sign is when you feel inspired by your discussion, and excited to get back to improving your skill/process.
This often means the coach is helping you commit to doing the work. You’re also inspired to grow.
Different coaches offer different approaches, styles, views, and energy to each coaching session. So always have a discovery call to figure out whether it’s a good fit.
Whether you decide to work with a coach or not after reading this article, keep in mind that there is no one way to succeed (whatever that looks like to you). Every coach has their philosophy. And some coaches just won’t be a good fit.
So if you decide to work with a coach, give it a try first, and if it’s not for you, move on. What matters the most is that you make progress, and a good coach should help with that.