What the Heck is Personal Coaching?

What the Heck is Personal Coaching?

A super-smart criminal lawyer and potential client emailed me the other day. He reasoned that he had decided not to pursue personal coaching because his business was going fine and he didn’t have any emotional issues to work out.  My eyebrows arched.

He got me thinking: What do people think coaching is? He is probably not the only one who perceives personal coaching as either business consultants or pseudo-psychologists, and that’s a shame.  Whatever coaches are, they are neither consultants or psychologists.  Adding to the confusion, many consultants and psychologists offer coaching.

I’m constantly hunting for my right definition of a coach.  I don’t think there can be one right answer because the word coach represents so many different things to different people.

What is personal coaching or professional coaching?

  1. Sometimes a coach is someone whose main purpose is to snap you out of complacency. A coach can support you live your life by design, not default.
  2. A coach can be someone who awakens you to the fact that you have many more choices than you perceived.
  3. A personal coach helps you recognize that you almost always have a choice, no matter the circumstances or conditions.
  4. Yet another view is that a coach is someone who helps you realize that even small choices are significant in helping you fulfill your goals. You haven’t decided, explicitly, what your goals are? A coach can aid you in that process as well.

I could keep going. There are probably as many ways of describing what a coach does as there are clients.

The main thing is that a coach is there to totally support you in whatever journey you are on, and from whatever starting point.

I have helped clients conquer bad and develop good habits.  I have re-designed their customer service approach and helped bring mergers to fruition. For others struggling with cash-flow, I have helped turn around their businesses. Those, however, are just the end-results.

More significantly, to me and I think most coaches, is your journey of continuous growth.  If I can help you perceive yourself from different angles, increase your confidence, improve your ability to illuminate choices and discover latent opportunities, then I’m doing my job.  These are all competencies that you as a client — no matter the level you are at, can re-use and upgrade ad-infinitum.

I may not have a definitive answer for what coaching is, but one thing is for sure: having difficult challenges, personally or professionally is not a requirement for receiving coaching. A desire to reach the next level faster than you can alone, is.


 Michael Hoffman

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