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  • Donna Richardson, CEC, ACC

Ready for coaching? Ask yourself these 5 questions

Updated: Mar 2, 2021



When I started working with my coach several years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Having been faced with some work related challenges, a friend asked me a life-changing question, “Have you considered getting a coach?”


I must have been “ready.” I made the commitment to work with my coach, dug deep to learn how to overcome those challenges, and enhanced my effectiveness as a leader.


The reasons for engaging—or not engaging—a coach really rest with the person making the decision.


5 reasons not to work with a leadership coach


In a recent Forbes article entitled 5 Compelling Reasons Not To Hire An Executive Coach, author Dede Henley presents the argument that coaching is not for everyone and outlines reasons why:

1. Someone told you to - If this is the case, you might not be in the mindset to give what you need in order to get the most out of coaching.

2. Makes you look good – In some circles, coaching is thought to be a perk for high performers or senior leaders and executives. But, just having a coach isn’t going to result in your growth without effort and commitment.

3. Makes you look bad – For some individuals, tapping into external supportive resources—such as a coach—might be seen as sign of weakness, rather than strength.

4. You just want to vent – While many of us may find ourselves needing to vent once in a while, coaching is more about shifting mindsets, removing barriers, and moving forward as our best selves.

5. No time for personal or organizational change – Simply put, if there is no time time your schedule to create positive change, there is no time for coaching.



5 questions that help you decide if you're ready for coaching


Now that you know some of the reasons why coaching might not be for you right now, let’s look at some of the questions that might help you decide if you are ready for coaching.


1. What do you believe about your potential to grow, learn and develop and that this potential is not limited by intelligence? Believing that you have the potential to grown, learn and develop—and that this potential is not limited by your intelligence—is known as having a growth mindset. This is an indicator that you show a “readiness” for coaching. It may sound straightforward, but not everyone operates from a growth mindset. Some people have a fixed mindset, believing that intelligence is static and not much can be done to change or improve it. Do you believe in your potential to grown, learn and develop?

2. What are you willing to try in order to overcome obstacles, get out of a rut, become unstuck, take on new challenges, or achieve greater results? According to Marshall Goldsmith, world-renowned executive coach and author, what got you here won’t get you there. The beliefs, attitudes, habits and practices that have helped us achieve success can end up being the same ones that can hold us back, cause us to feel stuck, and prevent us from living up to our potential.

Are you willing to try new ways of thinking, doing and being in order to move forward in your life and career?

3. How would your life look different if you invested your time, energy and financial resources into addressing the challenges, changes and opportunities in front of you? Depending on what you and your coach agree to, you might meet weekly or bi-weekly for three months, six months or longer. Is this a commitment you can and want to make? Digging deep to learn more about what type of leader you are and what may need to change in order for you to achieve your dreams takes energy and effort. As one of my clients described it, “Coaching is like yoga for the brain.”


Coaching is an investment in you as a leader. But, it’s also an investment in you as a person, often challenging you to live, work and play in greater alignment with your purpose and values.


What investment in yourself are you willing to make?

4. How might a little pain (or discomfort) make a difference in you as a leader? Stepping outside our comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. It can feel a bit “scratchy.” But, it’s the discomfort that contributes to our learning and growth. David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, explains that our brains are constantly relying on hardwired neural pathways for repetitive tasks, in order to free up our working memory for higher-level tasks. Growth is only possible with change and, whether we’re shifting our thinking or learning new ways to do something, change takes more effort as our brains lay down new neural pathways. Are you willing to get a bit uncomfortable?

5. What is it about coaching that feels right to you? Coaching, mentoring, counseling and consulting. Sometimes there is confusion about the differences between them. The International Coaching Federation defines coaching “as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” I believe my clients have the answers within. As a coach, I support them through a journey of discovery, goal setting and action to unearth, develop and maximize their personal and professional potential. Are you ready for a partnership where you will leave each conversation feeling seen, heard and understood?



When I connected with my coach a few years ago, I had no idea that we’d be such a good fit and that the experience would be life changing. If you answered “yes” to the questions above, then you’ve “checked the boxes” and you may be ready for an experience that could transform your life.


The next step is to find a coach that will be a great fit for you. If you want to learn more, let's talk.


 

Related links:

5 Compelling Reasons Not To Hire An Executive Coach

Exploring Clients’ Readiness for Coaching

Why Feeling Uncomfortable Is The Key To Success

International Coaching Federation