I’ve been in the coaching field for 11 years this year, and over that time I have witnessed the growth of both the industry, and the myths that surround it.
My passion is coaching, and I want more people to embrace it both as clients, and as coaches, but I also want them to enter into coaching with their eyes wide open. I have been challenged by my friend, client and colleague Debbi Carberry to become more vocal about the truth about both coaching, and the online business of it.
Since I know that a number of my subscribers are coaches, or are planning to formalise their coaching at some point, I thought it would be useful to address some of these myths.
Here are 3 of the most common myths I see regularly:
3 Common Coaching Myths
Myth 1: You need to be an expert to coach
One of the things that I come up against whenever I am talking to people about coaching is that you need to be an expert in your field in order to be a coach.
This is absolutely not the case. In fact, you could argue that you can actually coach better if you are NOT an expert in the field that you client is looking for develop in.
Well, coaching is a set of skills that are not ‘context dependent’. That means that you can apply the same skills in ANY environment, in any context.
How does that work?
Well it works because at the heart of the philosophy of coaching is that the client has all the answers.
When you truly believe this, and work from this place, then you use the skills you have to elicit those answers from the client.
This has an interesting result for the coach and the client.
First up the client – when they embark on a coaching experience, it’s because they need help to find the answers so they expect their coach to tell them what to do. What actually happens is that their coach will help them to come up with their own solution which is far more compelling for the client.
What happens for the coach is a little different…
When they are not required to know the answer, but are confident in their ability to elicit the answer, there is no pressure to have to know anything other than the core skills of coaching. This is why even brand new coaches can get amazing life changing results for their clients.
So, this myth is BUSTED. You DO NOT have to be an expert to be a great coach.
Myth 2: You can’t make money as a coach
Aah this old chestnut.
Well the short answer is yes of course you can make money as a coach, otherwise the industry would have died many years ago, when in fact it continues to grow.
What might be a truer statement is that some coaches find it hard to make money.
With coaching being such a client led process and each client’s goals being unique, it can be a challenge for coaches to communicate their value in order to attract clients who pay well.
It can also be challenging for coaches, who are inherently ‘behind-the-scenes’ people who just want to help, to step up and promote themselves and their services.
But I have found this to be true in all ‘helping professions’.
The bottom line is that you need to DUC to make money from coaching…
- Discover the results of your coaching
- Understand the value that it has for your clients
- Communicate it in a way that they can connect to
Is this myth busted? I would love to say it is, but I may have to concede that for some, it is busted.
Myth 3: Everyone can benefit from coaching
The final myth for today is that everyone is coachable – or everyone can benefit from coaching.
Sadly, that is not the case.
In order for coaching to be effective, the client must WANT to change. That’s why some coaching in organisations is less than effective.
If you have someone whose manager has sent them to be coached and they haven’t chosen coaching for themselves, then they may resist the process and therefore not get the results that they could otherwise.
That is why it is so important to pre-qualify your clients.
You see the best clients get the best results, so the best clients are the ones who are really motivated to change. And as their coach, you cannot want it more for them than they want it for themselves.
Time after time I see coaches, particularly new ones, settling for any client to work with and then being disappointed in the results of the relationship.
Instead of realising that the client wasn’t coachable, they begin to question their skills as a coach.
It’s a tricky catch-22 and the way out is to be very selective about your clients.
Don’t hunt them, you need to hire them.
You need to work out who the very best and most motivated clients are that you can help and position yourself for them so that they can find you, rather than attracting clients that are simply not coachable.