When people decide to make changes in their personal and professional lives, they immediately think of coaching. Unfortunately, some people may not be ready for it.
Coaching works best with individuals who have a high level of self-awareness, motivation and an ability to self-correct. People who are truly ready for coaching tend to have done a significant amount of personal work to address emotional or personal issues; or, they were raised in such a way that self-awareness was a core part of their development. When this foundational piece is missing, coaching usually goes awry and the client walks away feeling that coaching was ineffective and they got the short end of the stick.
Personal work can come in the form of therapy, counseling, psycho-analysis or spirituality. Needing more personal work doesn’t mean you are unstable or crazy or any other negative misconception; it simply means you need to strengthen your psychological foundation so it can hold and effectively manage the weight of your transformation.
This work is often done with a licensed clinical professional such as a clinical social worker, professional counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist. The reason for this is because many coaches are not trained or certified in clinical work and, therefore, by law must refer out when the work with a client enters the realm of mental health or clinical services. There are some coaches, like myself, who are licensed, clinical professionals that offer coaching services and would be able to address those issues as they arise.
The goal is to make the wisest investment of time and money so you can really enjoy and learn from your coaching experience, not waste it. The following is a tool I’ve created to help individuals determine if they are ready for coaching or if they need more personal work in preparation for coaching. Simply note a yes or no to each question:
- Are you irritable?
- Is it difficult for you to accept responsibility for your behavior because of shame or guilt?
- Are you worried and distracted by others’ opinions of you?
- Do you feel or have you ever been told that you are controlling?
- Do you like yourself?
- Are you self-motivated?
- Do you use people and love things instead?
- Do you escape difficult feelings through unhealthy or addictive behaviors (i.e. shopping, gambling, eating, et cetera)?
- Does your ego determine how you make decisions (i.e. power, control, revenge)?
- Do you define yourself by who you know, what you possess and the power you wield?
If you answered yes to at least one question, you have a good chance of engaging in effective coaching depending on the severity of the symptom. If you answered yes to at least four questions, you should consider doing some or more personal work before you engage in coaching. If you answered yes to six or more questions, coaching may not be the best use of your time and money right now; you may want to seriously consider working with a clinician to develop a stronger foundation first.
In the end, you have a decision to make. You should make that decision based on your comfort level with your coach, needs and goals. Avoid pushing forward when you are not ready – it will actually set you back further than when you began. There are a number of great coaches and clinicians; be sure to ask for an assessment before you begin work with anyone. A good coach or clinician often assesses what service best suits you and looks out for your best interest even if it means that you end up working with someone else.
I hope this was helpful and as always, pleasant journeys!