Good news! Coaching is expanding in popularity, reach and scope. People no longer ask: "What sport do you coach?" when I state I'm a coach.
Coaches nowadays are being hired by companies, individuals, leaders and business owners. The challenging news is that coaching can still be misunderstood by some. Coaching is still establishing itself as a budding profession.
The good news is that now is an excellent time to get into coaching! The challenge is that you may have to educate folks on what actual coaching is.
We also market ourselves differently than other professionals so that we reach more clients and create successful businesses.
Being a professional coach, it is important to know what misunderstandings exist so that we can speak to them professionally, in the event we run into them.
Below I've provided a list of the five most prominent misunderstandings and a response to professionally handle them. Feel free to adapt these responses to your own language as you see fit. Or use them as a springboard to consider your own truth to share around coaching.
#1 - Coaching is a light form of counseling.
Response: I used to think so too and what I learned is that coaching is its own unique discipline with tools and skill-sets very unique from therapy and counseling methods. Would you like to learn more?
#2 - Coaching doesn't go deep.
Response: True coaching doesn't go into trauma. However, for people ready to expand coaching goes as deep as you want to take it. Professionally trained coaches have the tools and skills to meet you exactly where you are at. If an issue is outside of the scope of coaching the coach will let you know.
#3 - Coaching is that ra-ra stuff on TV.
Response: Yes, coaching can be motivational! There is so much more coaching does beyond what the media has portrayed. You can recognize a true coach when you look at what credentials they hold. Would you like to learn more?
#4 - Coaches are replacing therapists.
Response: There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation on what coaching actually is and is not. Coaches do not diagnosis or treat emotional illness, like a therapist is trained and licensed to do. Actually, coaches work with already healthy and success people and have tools and skills to help them capitalize on their strengths. Coaching is future, goal and action oriented. Therapy goes into the past and focuses on healing.
#5 - I want to work with you, I need all the advice I can get!
Response: Great! The approach of the coach is not to give advice, however, what the coaching will do is set you up to access your own authentic answers and develop your own wisdom. It is self-advice. Shall we schedule a free session so can experience what I mean? It is a truly great process!
The bottom line, it is normal to run into confusion in any profession. It is easy to feel frustrated around misunderstandings, so I invite you instead to see them opportunities to education and connect with people and then also invite them to try coaching out.
What can you do take a misunderstanding and turn it into a learning opportunity?
By Laurel Elders, PCC
IICT Founder / Senior Faculty