As a practicing life and business coach, I have found that many people have an aversion to contracting with a coach in today’s turbulent economy. This is a mistake that could forestall a bevy of opportunities for future personal and career growth-for several reasons.
One of the most pronounced benefits of coaching is its focus on achievement. Unlike therapy, which leans toward healing past wounds that cause current dysfunctions, coaching is goal-oriented. Clients work with a coach to achieve aims that might not be possible without the type of support and encouragement a coach provides. For example, a client dissatisfied in their current position would likely find coaching helpful in order to develop a transition plan. Often, this type of task can seem daunting as a solo effort, but a good coach will be prepared to not only assist in fashioning an achievable goal, but also in decomposing that goal into steps that are attainable. This means that the client can measure their progress on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Another misconception is that the services coaches offer are readily available via other means. Some believe that coaches can be replaced with mentors or, worst yet, by old fashioned hard work and discipline. Nothing could be further from the truth. The skill sets required for coaching are varied, and not at all similar to mentoring. Professional coaches are trained to assist clients in clarifying goals, setting achievable action plans, and partnering with them to keep them on track. Mentors typically do not provide these services, and depending on the size of the goal, hard work will often not result in achievement of outcomes as effectively or efficiently. In addition, coaches address the client’s goals in terms of quality of life, which is an important factor in avoiding burnout and/or disillusionment.
Finally, the most common reason people cite about why they shy away from coaching during tough economic times is cost. The fact is that the duration and cost of coaching services vary with the goal proposed. Clients with very aggressive goals (e.g., becoming a millionaire in five years) will tend to need a longer coaching engagement than clients with more short term goals (e.g., achieving life balance via schedule management). An initial sample session with a professional coach, which can typically be secured free of charge, will allow both the client and the coach to uncover the length, cost, and duration of coaching needed.
As many satisfied clients will attest to (myself included), time spent with a professional coach during turbulent times is well worth the investment. It can represent the difference between struggling (and possibly failing) on your own and making steady, measurable forward progress. Precious time can be saved, mistakes avoided, and quality of life can be improved simultaneously. This alone makes the investment well worth it-especially in an uncertain economy.