Life or Personal Performance Coaching is everywhere! Yes, this is perhaps often a hilarious parody of the stereotypical crystal-healing, angel-realigning, larger-than-life personality but open up the latest women’s glossy magazine or turn on your television and you will see numerous references to coaching in the “real” world.

Coaching is clearly popular, Oprah Winfrey and Google CEO, Eric Schmidt both credit their success to their own coaches. Great news for dispelling the myths but there still seems to be a plethora of misconceptions about the coaching industry.

Time to separate the coaching fact from the coaching fiction…

1.) Fiction: Life coaches are professionals who can help you achieve your goals.

Fact: Some, but certainly not all coaches are professionals who can help you move forward and increase the likelihood that you’ll get what you want from life and/or business.

One of the problems in the coaching industry is that anyone can call themselves a professional coach / life coach / personal coach etc. Coaching is not a regulated profession. There are people out there who read a book, watch a TV programme or attend an evening seminar on the subject and decide ‘I’m a coach!’ As a result, the quality of coaches varies dramatically.

We strongly suggest working with a coach that has completed a recognized coaching qualification, can evidence their on-going continual professional development and actively engages in regular coaching supervision. Many coaches will offer a free introductory session or a consultation before you agree to become a client so make sure you are comfortable that you have the right coach for you.

2.) Fiction: Personal Coaches can only help you reach personal goals and Business Coaches can only help you reach business goals.

Fact: A good coach is someone who is an expert at helping others create positive change in their lives. For some clients, the positive change they most want may be focused on personal goals such as relationships, time management, work-life balance, stress reduction, health, etc. but other clients will be more interested in professional or business goals such as leadership, getting a promotion, starting a business, etc.

An effective coach works with the client to help them live a better, richer life – regardless of their type of goals. Plus many personal coaching clients may hire a coach in the first instance to help them improve their health, before realizing part of working on that goal means working out an exit strategy from their current career. Whilst a business coaching client may employ the services of a coach with a view to improve communication effectiveness within the workplace and then preferring to focus on how they can spend more time with family and take more holiday.

3.) Fiction: Coaching can be a one-off quick fix.

Fact: Coaching is very much like going to the gym. In order to develop the series of habits and routines in which you can get the body-beautiful – the 6 pack, the tone and definition – this takes time, effort and dedication.

Coaching is similar. Whilst clients can achieve remarkable progress toward their desired future in a short space of time – it’s the clients who recognize the long term investment in themselves that reap the rewards. It’s definitely not a quick fix or a wave of a magic wand since there’s unlikely to be a point in which you’ve achieved everything you want in all areas of your life.

Coaching is about opening a client up to the realization that they truly can, be, do or have anything. Everyone has massive potential that has no limits!

4.) Fiction: Life coaches are like having a good friend to bounce ideas off and to keep you motivated.

Fact: Your coach may be friendly but they are not your friend. Your coach is your advocate. They want the best from you. They will work with you to help you reach your goals and to succeed.

Your coach will hold you accountable and challenge you to do more than you think you can do. They will make you take responsibility for the outcomes you want and the actions you say you will take to get there. In doing this, they may push, pull, and stretch you in ways that may feel uncomfortable.

Unlike a friendship, the coaching relationship is a one-sided affair – it is exclusively focused on YOU and your goals, not the coach, their family, the fact that she/he, like you, is looking to buy a house, or go camping at the weekend.

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