3 Major Myths about Being a Coach

I brand myself as a communication coach. It’s my way of saying I use my understanding of people skills and my skills as a coach to help people improve their communication and from there, get all sorts of cool results.

There are many coaches out there. And there are a hell of a lot more people who want, or at least dream about being coaches. My perception is that people often jump into this field with the same understanding about being a coach that a 10-year old has about being a brain surgeon. I know I certainly had my naivety about this field when I started coaching others careers and people skills.

This is not all caused by lack of available information about coaching. One major cause is the existence in all this information of many widespread myths about being a coach. My goal here is to address 3 of the major ones.

Myth 1: It’s all about love for people.

Love for people is definitely a big part of being a coach. But it’s not all about that. Coaching is also a business and you need to run in like one. This means you care about people, you help them, maybe you even help unconditionally or give more than you get, but at the end of the day, you make sure it’s financially profitable for you as the coach.

I’ve met coaches who believed that if they give all, love all and ask for nothing, they will be successful coaches. They are now working in recruitment, PR, anything but coaching. Because they didn’t make it sustainable for them to be coaches.

Myth 2: It’s all about asking questions.

Asking questions is an excellent way to facilitate solutions and an important tool for coaching. However, that’s not all there is to it.

There are basically 2 types of coaching: directive and non-directive. Non-directive coaching is based a lot on asking questions, but it doesn’t stop there. It also involves effective listening, paraphrasing, inspiring and stimulating your client. Directive coaching involves presenting principle and techniques, point out things the client does not see and giving him specific feedback or advice.

Some coaches have a non-directive approach, some have a directive approach and some have a mixed approach. I’m in this last category: I use whatever works for a particular client, to generate a particular outcome. If you want top results as a coach, you will need to have a quite large toolbox, with plenty of coaching tools you use masterfully.

Myth 3: Becoming a coach is easy.

If we’re talking about taking on the label of coach, sure: that’s easy. But if we’re talking about having the skills to coach people professionally, that’s a very different territory.

Some people and some companies want you to believe that being a coach is the next big thing. All you need is to care about others (which almost anybody thinks he does), get some formal training, coaching and certification (which they usually offer), then you’re off to making money, helping people and saving the world, all of this with a flexible schedule and from the comfort of your own home.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Becoming a good coach involves using the right tools, a lot of practice and the ability to consistently improve from one coaching session to another.

Even more importantly, being a really good coach is about understanding your unique combination of strengths and developing a unique coaching style which leverages those strengths, while at the same time providing top results. And did I mention, having fun with it?

Comments

  1. I think people learn about a topic and then soon after feel they could be a coach in that topic (I can admit that I have thought that). It’s not easy at all though! There is so much to learn and to continue to learn as you go. I think we all assume that we can do it without practice but it is definitely not the case, EVER.
    .-= Alex´s last blog ..Measures of Success =-.

    • Alex, there is a big difference between doing something well and coaching other people to develop the same skills. I seem to remember writing something about this recently…

  2. Eduard – I’ve been coaching for 4 years and have my own practice. You are right, this is a highly complex arena. There is nothing more amazing than helping others to grow, yet to have a successful business takes a lot more. it also requires huge skill to take the someone’s most important issues in your hands and help them to work through it and grow. You have to love your work and work seriously hard to be successful in the coaching world and I’m sure you are great at what you do.

    Phil
    .-= Phil – Less Ordinary Living´s last blog ..Change your Story, Change your Life =-.

  3. I think one of the biggest myths is that you can learn all you need to know about being a coach from a course. Sure, you can probably learn some useful skills, frameworks and tools, and have your mind opened up to new possibilities. However, I think the only way to learn how to be a coach, is to be a coach. And to realise that you never, ever stop learning!

  4. I’m a fan of sustainability. If it’s passion, but no business, then it’s a hobby.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..My Top Ten Lessons In Life – Ali Hale =-.

  5. Nice take on it Eduard. There is so much more to being a coach than most people realise. From the outside many things looks easy. I was at a comedy event and afterwards I heard one person say about the headline act – ‘I could that’ urrr yeah…whatever! LOL on the outside, he made it look easy and he did his job but not many people understand the work that goes into being a comedian and that it is one of the toughest art forms to make it in.

    It’s the same with being a coach, a good coach will make it look easy on the outside but that’s because they’ve worked hard to make it easy for themselves. Not many people get to see the ground work that goes into it.
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Video – How To Find The Blessing In Even The Worst Of Situations =-.

    • Hey Amit. I know you do some coaching as well and I was looking forward to your perspective. I agree that coaching often looks easy from the outside. This is why it’s such a tempting field.

  6. @ Myth 1
    you are totally right Eduard, i always get emails from people thanking me for caring about people’s emotions, even though my goal is to make people happy through my website still its a business before its a community service project

  7. Hey Farouk,

    I think it’s easy for a site or blog were you publish free advice and information to be mistaken for just a community service project. The way it also helps your business can be more subtle.

  8. I think being a coach is an awesome job but it has much responsibility and can be harrowing when a client delays their success and can’t seem to get out of their own way. It is tricky to speak openly about how they are blocking what is changing without blaming you in their unconsciousness. You have to be responsible for their timeline and define it and all the pitfalls of working together before the engagement, which makes a reality check conversation easier when it happens. I want nothing more than my client’s success but I also get in my own way. Human relationship are fluid and have no real rules in the moment. All you can do is trust your instincts and yourself and be present for your client.

  9. Diana, I think coaching can be tricky. It’s very easy to become attached to the results your client produces and take them as your responsibility. Even though looking at it realistically, they are probably something you can only influence, not control.

  10. I think, A coach is not an expert iin the clients field, they are expert in helping the client realize their own goals and knowing their own limits. Coaching is a continuous process, not a one off consultancy.

    Well, it’s important to realize that Professional Life Coaches are not councellors, they don’t offer special advice for dealing with the situation, but a specialist coach will be aware of the extra limitations that a situation entails, and take them into account.
    .-= Ben Tien´s last blog ..5 Rules to Increase Your Optimism via NLP Reframe =-.

  11. Ben, you’re obviously in the school of thought which defines as coaching what I define as non-directive coaching, which is just one type of coaching. I think a coach can even give advice, but it must be in a way which empowers the client to learn on his own from there, instead of becoming dependent on the coach for advice.

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