Given people's general understanding of coaching, you're in very good company -- no matter what response or colorful image comes to mind.
Personally, before I went through professional coach training, I thought of a life coach as a cross between a therapist and a trusted advisor. (Also an astronaut. Because I picture everyone as an astronaut.)
In any case, there are some big misconceptions around coaching that are worth clearing up. Mainly because those misconceptions might be preventing you from using a really cool resource for yourself one day!
So, for your reading pleasure, here are some of the most common misconceptions around coaching!
(You can also browse the What is Coaching? page on AaronGrahamCoaching.com, for more info about how coaching works.)
1. Coaching is just someone giving you advice.
A professional coach will never give you advice. They do not have the answers... YOU DO!
Instead, coaches frequently ask thoughtful, open-ended questions to help you think creatively about what you really want and the best way to go after it.
Coaches trust that you have the answer. And if you don't right then, the coach knows you are fully capable of discovering the answer for yourself in time. Neat, eh?
2. Coaching is just like therapy.
Well, are they both usually conversations between two people? Sure. But so is ordering a hot dog.
A therapist is a licensed mental health professional who works with people experiencing emotional or psychological wounds, living with mental health disorders, or are otherwise not functional in certain areas of their life.
A coach only works with people who are already considered functional in their lives. A coach helps you get from functional to ideal. From a life that's merely acceptable to one that feels optimal and amazing.
3. "I don't need a coach. My life is not a mess. I'm doing fine."
4. Coaches tell you what to do.
[Cue game show buzzer sound.]
Similar to the misconception about giving advice, a coach will never tell you what to do.
At the beginning of your relationship, your coach may suggest helpful assessments and exercises so you can both gain clarity around who you are, what is important to you, and what you truly want. But a coach will never tell you what to do.
As you continue working with your coach, you may create tasks or action items that you want to accomplish each week. But in each case, YOU decide what you are going to do, and YOU tell the coach how you will keep yourself accountable.
5. Coaching is a waste of money.
Since you are always in charge, it is up to you how you choose to show up in your coaching relationship -- just like in life.
If you are not open-minded or you approach the unfamiliar with judgment and skepticism or if you choose not to follow through on action items you create with your coach, then, yeah, you're probably not making the most of your hard-earned dollars.
6. Coaching is just meaningless, fluffy talk.
A GOOD coach does two things:
An AMAZING coach will also help you transform your own reality into something barely imaginable today. But let's take it one step at a time, man.
Believe, you must. ;-)
Got Questions? Interested in a FREE 30-minute consultation?
Email me at Aaron@AaronGrahamCoaching.com or visit AaronGrahamCoaching.com for more info.
Aaron Graham, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP