As identified in a study* conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and commissioned by the International Coach Federation, coaching can help people improve:
- work performance
- time management
- communication skills
- and more!
What does this look like in daily life?
My personal examples
I have had the pleasure of working with three different coaches over the last year and each of them has helped me get out of my own way. Although the topics I discussed with each of them were different, the role they played in helping move me forward was invaluable. Each of them paid attention, noticed, and helped me see myself more clearly. Some of the specific results I've had from others coaching me include:
- I am now more quick to realize when I'm moving too fast and would benefit from slowing down. Example: I showed up to one of my coaching calls last year frazzled and harried. I talked a mile a minute when Coach A asked me what had been going on recently. When I finally stopped talking, there was complete dead air on the other line....no response. I sat there, uncomfortably for a minute, before saying a meek, "Hello, are you still there?" To which she took a very loud, slow deep breath and mentioned that sometimes it's helpful to take a minute and just breathe. I became intensely aware of how I must have sounded to her; I appreciated her willingness to create that moment for me and to teach me such an important lesson in a way that I felt safe.
- I am acknowledging my self-imposed rules and opening my mind to new ideas and perspectives. This is a silly example, but was such a game changer for me. Shortly after I left my long-term position and was in the process of launching my business, I was really struggling to find time for self-care. During our conversation, I had been rationalizing with Coach B (well, really with myself) about why I couldn't exercise at this time or that time (5 a.m. is too early, my husband works out at 6, I'm busy getting my daughter ready until 8, I'm too tired after work...). I don't recall her exact words, but what she asked next was something to the effect of, "...can you work out after everyone else is out of the house in the morning?" LIGHT BULB! After working for Corporate America for so many years, I was so stuck in the idea that "work happens from 8-5" even though that "rule" no longer needed to apply to me. It was such a simple thing, but I had completely missed it. Having the courage to challenge my thinking, she helped me reframe my mindset about my entire schedule and I finally started working out again - at 8 a.m.
- Coach C helped me realize that when I am stuck, I need to reflect to see if I've been over-thinking something. During one of our sessions, we were discussing a topic on which I had been stuck for several weeks and part-way through our session, she simply said, "I notice that you say, 'I think' a lot." Her point of course was not that thinking is bad. But what I took from our conversation, is that sometimes, over-thinking can be bad. For me, over-thinking can lead to an inability to move forward. Sometimes, I just need to take action, and I need to get better about trusting my heart/gut/inner wisdom.
I've also realized other benefits from coaching, such as:
- I have a heightened awareness about my strengths and how they serve me and how they get in my way, both in life and as a coach, which is helping me to be a better coach and a better friend, spouse, family member
- I am learning how to integrate my strengths and values into my life and work, which is leading to stronger decisions
- I am learning to let things go when they need to be let go and I am learning to simplify
- I have reduced a large number of tolerations in my life, which has reduced my level of stress
Here are some of the things I've heard my clients say about how coaching has helped them:
- Sometimes it helps just to talk things through and say stuff out loud
- Our conversation helped me to clarify my thoughts and I felt more prepared when I talked to (that person)
- I've been handling stress better
- I've learned that development is not a one and done
- I am less inclined to take work home now and am more conscious about delegation
- I am learning not to live in a bubble and be aware of what's happening with other people
- I am seeing the bigger picture and feel more connected
- I am taking time for myself, and I don't feel guilty about it
- I am setting new boundaries, I am talking to my spouse about some of this stuff, and my relationship with my spouse has improved
What about YOU? Have you experienced coaching before? How has it helped you? What benefits did you realize? What results did you achieve?
Questions or Comments?
What questions do you have about coaching? Submit them and I'll include them this week!
Tomorrow I'll build on what I've covered so far; we'll explore two questions a little more deeply:
- Who needs a coach?
- For what?
*Read more about the study on ICF's website.