5 Most Asked Questions of a Personal Coach
In order to earn my Ph.D. in human resource development, I attended school for about 100 years (give or take ). So why, a few years after that, would I head back to the classroom?
COACHING is why.
I first learned of coaching while writing my dissertation. As I interviewed Fortune 500 companies about their mentoring programs, I kept hearing snippets about coaching as well. The topic was new to me, but a seed was definitely planted.
Then, a couple of years into my professional development business, I was drawn to coaching as a way to bridge the gap between the trainings I offered and the ongoing, forward-moving growth many of my students were seeking.
From Day 1 of my coach training, I felt like I had come home. I knew with 100% certainty that coaching filled that missing link for me.
Fast-forward a decade or so and I still feel that way! I’ve intentionally evolved my business to focus mostly on coaching and have never looked back. If you’ve thought about hiring a coach, you may have many questions circling your mind. Here are five that I am often asked from potential clients:
1. I should be able to figure things out on my own. Does hiring a coach signify weakness?
The exact opposite is true, actually. Look at the best athletes, performers, and business leaders – they have coaches. Click here to see what Bill Gates and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt think about this, for example.
Masters of their craft do not get there alone, nor do they presume to know everything; we all benefit from the objectivity, resources, perspective, experience, and even ‘tough love’ that coaches provide. I am successful as a coach when my clients succeed, and there’s nothing quite like having someone 100% invested in your success!
2. What are the best qualities to look for in a coach?
Everyone is different, and no one-size-fits-all criteria exists. I do, however, encourage you to ask a couple of important questions:
What is their experience? Don’t be afraid to ask your potential coach as many questions as you need to feel confident they are right for you. How long have they been coaching? Have they coached people with similar goals and/or challenges as you? Can they give examples of outcomes (protecting confidentiality, of course)? Are they willing to provide references? Coaching is a significant investment of time, money, and energy. Ask whatever helps you make a strong decision.
What is their training? The International Coach Federation (ICF) serves as the guiding professional association in coaching, and I suggest working with a coach who has attended an ICF-accredited program for a number of reasons: ICF-credentialed coaches are bound by high ethical guidelines, have been trained extensively in order to obtain certification (including having their coaching critiqued and working with mentor coaches), and have rigorous continuing education requirements so you can trust that they are always growing and advancing their skills as well.
How do you feel? It may sound unscientific, but ultimately a strong rapport plays a key role, so listen to your intuition. As this point in my career I can typically tell within a few minutes of conversation whether or not a potential client and I will work well together, and I am happy to refer when that rapport is not there or their needs fall outside my areas of expertise.
3. How do I know if I actually need a coach?
Aside from my belief that everyone (including coaches!) needs a coach, give some thought to what you want to gain from coaching. Do you have an idea, goal, or dream that you keep putting off and want someone to hold you accountable? Do you feel stuck in some aspect of your work or life and want to experience a breakthrough? Do you need to build your mindset, strengthen your confidence, or develop your skills in order to reach your next pinnacle of success? Many of my clients have obtained a level of leadership where they now need an independent, objective thought partner to bounce ideas off of, brainstorm solutions, and discuss best practices. Does that sound like you?
Whether you have no clue what steps to take, know what to do but aren’t doing it, or feel at the top of your game and want to maintain that, coaching can help.
4. Coaching is a big investment. How do I know it’s worth it?
Search the literature and you’ll find numerous studies demonstrating the consistently high return on investment of coaching. Typically when I’m asked this question, however, it’s not so much the general success rate people are looking for as it is, “How will I know coaching will help me (or my employee)?”
As part of my response, I return the question to my potential clients, because that’s where their best insights will come from. For example, most clients enroll in a 6-month coaching program with me, so I might ask: Six months from now, what will make you look back and say, ‘Yes, coaching was definitely worth it!’? What will be different then compared to now? What is it costing you to not solve this problem or to not move this goal forward?
Ask yourself similar questions and I bet you’ll sense its worth.
Coaching definitely is an investment in yourself, your growth, your potential. Value yourself and the ‘you’ you’d like to become, and hire the highest quality coach you possibly can. I’ve written checks to my coaches that have made me gasp and, though it can be frightening to invest in oneself so significantly, I have never regretted it.
5. Am I ready for coaching?
I have a friend who routinely cleans her house the day before the housekeeper she hired comes. When I asked her why, she said she doesn’t want the housekeeper to see the ‘true’ mess. Can you relate?
As a certified coach, I am perfectly o.k. seeing things as they are – seeing youas you are. No judgment, no comparison.
To be perfectly honest, as long as you are open to growth, transformation, and new ways of operating, you are ready for coaching. You don’t have to have everything figured out or all your ducks in a row before you hire a coach. Instead, you can enjoy that as part of the coaching process!
I agree 100% with Chandler & Litvin’s quote that I opened this article with: Coaching changes individuals, organizations, communities, and the world, and I am so honored to walk with my clients and to be a part of this profession. Coaches, thank you for the important work you do in the world. Clients, thank you for your commitment to growth and striving to be the highest, most purposeful version of yourself that you possibly can – which also changes the world.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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