Episode 020 What Is Coaching? Is It For Me?

Have you ever vented or processed a problem with a friend only to be met with suggestions or “you know what you should do…” kind of statements? And found yourself walking away from that conversation knowing your friend was well intentioned yet feeling it hadn’t been helpful?
If that sounds familiar at all, stick around, because we’re going to be talking all about coaching and how coaching provides a very different, life-giving type of processing space.

I imagine everyone has experience the type of situation described just now. A time when you’ve reached out to a friend or family member or even mentor for help processing through something and ended up feeling like it wasn’t at all the help you were looking for or needed; perhaps without even know how to articulate what would actually have been helpful.
Or maybe you’ve vented or processed a difficult situation or decision with someone who listened and was very empathetic yet ultimately not that helpful either. It’s great to be listened to and understood yet if that’s where it ends how has that helped you make a decision or move forward in a helpful way?

This is where coaching comes in and is extremely beneficial. Because all of us here, we’re living our lives, and trying to do the best we can. We all have a variety of relationships and roles to fulfill in our own lives; friend, family member, boss, employee, co-worker, spouse, etc. And each of these different roles come with their own set of expectations; ways that we need to show up, interact and be present. Which is a good thing! We all have a variety of needs that will best be filled by a variety of people through many different types of relationships. Yet in general none of these relationships are shaped to show up in your life the way a coach is trained and prepared to show up within a person’s life.
The term “coach” or “coaching” has been thrown around increasingly over the last number of years and people can definitely mean different things when they talk about coaching. As coaching was taught to me, how I now teach it and firmly believe in it, a coach doesn’t need to be an expert with special knowledge in whatever area you’re trying to move forward in. Because a coach listens deeply and non-judgmentally, asks powerful questions to help you dig deeper and articulate what you know and what you may need to find out more about. A coach will ask you questions to guide you through setting goals that are important to you and then continue to walk with you asking questions and giving you space to process so you’re able to find the clarity and courage to move forward towards your goals.

That sounds pretty awesome, right?

In actuality it’s a very rare experience for any of us to feel completely listened to and heard. It’s rare to have a completely safe space to process out loud difficult situations or to set goals and process through how to start working towards them. It’s rare to have true, regular accountability with someone asking you how you’re doing on commitments you’ve made to yourself.

The rarity of these kinds of relationships, coupled with how life-giving and beneficial it sounded, is what initially drew me to coaching in the first place.

I was first introduced to the idea of coaching close to 15 years ago towards the end of my time in seminary. And I loved the concept of a safe place to set goals and process how to move forward. Several years later I was finally in a place where I could receive some coaching and be trained as a coach as well; I’ve been involved with coaching ever since then both receiving coaching and coaching others. And engaging in additional training as a coach and more recently I’ve transitioned into providing some coach training alongside the person who initially trained me…

Coaching has allowed me to be more intentional in my job, my professional decisions and career, and in my personal life. Coaching has helped me wade through my own thoughts and expectations, my perception of others’ expectations or opinions, what I know versus what I think I know, all while pushing me in a healthy way towards action that I care about

Why am I talking about coaching now?
Every episode can certainly highlight the benefits of coaching in some way. The last couple episodes perhaps more so than many of the others. A couple episodes ago I talked about common sense wisdom, differentiating that from common knowledge and common nature. And last episode I dug a little deeper into the broader dynamic exposed by our common nature often going against common sense wisdom, the dynamic of getting in your own way or defeating yourself before anyone else has the chance to do it.

These are simple dynamics to understand yet very difficult to truly see and address well in your own life. Certainly paying attention, using some of the questions I encouraged you to ask yourself throughout and at the end of each of those last couple episodes is a good start. Yet they’re also areas where getting some coaching can truly be invaluable!

Why do I think addressing that gap we all experience between “what I know/intend” and “what I actually do” most highlights the value of coaching? We’ve talked about many different things in this podcast; purpose, giving yourself grace, etc. Learning about those things can be really valuable yet there often still exists a gap between the things we learn/want to do and what we actually do. That gap is one of the core dynamics that must be addressed in bringing about any real change or growth. And truthfully it’s very difficult for a person or organization to see that gap within themself, and even more difficult to know where that gap is coming from and address it effectively without gaining the help of outside wisdom, questioning, and perspective.
Sometimes an outside perspective is needed to see something that you can’t see because you are yourself. The same thing is true for organizations.

A coach or outside perspective isn’t always needed. Sometimes space, time, can provide enough of a reset for you to gain a different perspective on your own. Yet you may not always have, or want to take a lot of, time before moving forward in an area of your life. Coaching can kick start and encourage along growth that would take a lot longer if you’re simply working on your own.

Consider getting some coaching. If this idea sounds intriguing or exciting to you reach out, let me know. I’d love to talk with you more about what it would look like to enter into a coaching relationship together. I’m passionate about working with others through coaching because I’ve experienced the frustration of living in the gap between what I’m trying to do and what I’m actually doing. So I love to come alongside individuals and organizations to address that gap effectively.

**Before we get to today’s coaching questions I want to give you a little teaser for what’s happening this summer. I’m going to encourage/challenge us all to SWAP whatever you normally do or focus on during the summer and join me in working towards a Summer With A Purpose. The weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day the distillery podcast will be short minisodes that will include an assignment for a specific piece of the purpose journal you’ll be able to engage in 15 minutes (or so). If you stick with me through the summer, come Labor Day you’ll have worked your way through the entire purpose journal with just a small amount of time each week and really be equipped to move forward intentionally with whatever goals you have.

End of Episode Coaching Questions:
As you think about coaching discussed in this episode, what questions or concerns do you still have?

I discussed in this episode how you can engage the benefits of coaching through working with a coach and also through intentionally engaging good questions such as the questions I end with every episode of the distillery podcast. If coaching sounds beneficial to you how will you move forward and incorporate coaching into your life?

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