5 Ways a Coach Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
You may have heard about coaching before, but if you’re asking yourself, “What exactly is a coach?” then this post is for you! I share what a coach does and doesn’t do, why I love coaching and how it’s personally helped me, how coaching differs from therapy, and when working with a coach could benefit you!
A year ago, I had never even heard of coaching. Or maybe I had heard of it, but I thought it was completely woo-woo and I didn’t know anyone who had one or knew one. I had no idea it would become my career path, or that I would get to know not one, but many successful coaches who had made careers out of helping others achieve their dreams.
So if you’re asking yourself what a coach even is, you’re not alone. Coaching has rapidly grown in the past few years as more and more people find out what it is and how incredibly life-changing it can be.
Life coaching can also go by many names, and coaches call themselves lots of different things. I personally prefer alignment coach because that’s what I focus on the most with clients - making sure that they’re truly living their most aligned and empowered lives. I believe that alignment is everything! But coaches focus on many other areas as well, such as business, wellness, body image, relationships, and more. There is truly a coach for everything!
There are also many different definitions of what a coach is, but one of my favorites is Master Life Coach Brooke Castillo’s definition I once heard on a podcast: “a coach is someone who helps you witness your own mind so you can change it to get what you want.”
Coaches are trained to listen deeply without judgment so they can help clients identify limiting beliefs or negative thought patterns that they are unlikely to be able to see themselves. Even the most self-aware people who love digging deep into their own psyches (100% me) can benefit from a third party observer who is trained to notice where they’re getting stuck or limiting themselves - because most of the time they don’t even know they’re doing it!
Now that I’ve defined what a coach is, here are a few of the most important things a coach can do for you:
1. Provide space for you to reflect and take stock of your life, dreams, and goals.
How often do we really take the time out of our busy, frantic schedules to pause and reflect? Especially to guage how we’re currently feeling about our life and whether we’re going in the direction we truly want to go? We may engage in mini-reflections here and there - meditation, journaling, talking with friends or a partner - but a coach provides regular space (usually once a week) for you to really take a minute to step back, evaluate areas of your life where you currently feel stuck (or most excited), and figure out who you truly are and what you desire most.
2. Help you better understand your own mind, your limiting beliefs, and any negative thought patterns you may have so they don’t hold you back.
We’re often not even AWARE of some of our limiting beliefs until someone else points them out. Coaches are trained to really listen to what we’re saying and observe what we’re doing to help us figure out where we’re getting in our own way or where old thought patterns are no longer serving us.
Coaches can help you identify limiting beliefs and reframe your thinking so you can truly go after the life you want. It’s so powerful to have someone who’s on your side and who believes in your potential - because we are so hard on ourselves. Working with a coach who can hold space for our potential ultimately helps us believe in our potential, too.
3. Lead you through powerful exercises to help you dig deeper and discover who you truly are and what truly matters to you.
Each coach works differently and has different tools in his or her toolbelt, but it’s also a coach’s job to intuitively read when it may be helpful to lead you through an exercise or a visualization and go beyond just talking something through.
I have many exercises and visualizations I lead clients through that have been extremely powerful for me. And again, we generally wouldn’t do these types of exercises on our own time, so it’s great to have someone who can guide you through them and help decide which ones you could benefit from the most when working through a particular situation.
4. Lovingly challenge you to dream bigger and go beyond what you think is currently possible for yourself.
Coaches are trained to hold space for your potential, not just for who you currently are. This may not seem important but it really is, because again, we are so hard on ourselves and so enmeshed in our own daily drama that we either don’t believe we can really achieve certain goals or we just aren’t taking the time to hold space for that future version of us.
A coach will remind you of your potential and will help you make a plan to get there. Of course, it’s ultimately up to you to do the work, but working with a coach can help keep you on track to become the person you’ve always dreamed of becoming.
5. Help you make a plan and take action towards achieving your biggest goals through encouragement and accountability.
One of the biggest benefits of working with a coach is that they provide you with accountability. Research has shown that we are more likely to take action when we’re held accountable for that action in some way - just think about how much schoolwork you’d get done if there were no due dates or grades.
Of course, the ultimate goal of coaching is that you’re able to take action on your goals without needing to meet with your coach each week, and good coaching will absolutely provide you with the tools to tap into your own inner accountability system. Sometimes, though, we need that push and guidance to get started.
So, now that you know some of the things coaches do, I want to also dive in to what coaches don’t do.
1. Tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.
Coaches will not make decisions for you. A coach is not you! Only you know what the right choice is for you. What a coach will do is help you tune in to your own intuition and decision-making process so you know how to make decisions that are aligned to you.
A coach will also not usually give you point-blank advice, because it’s much more powerful if the thought comes from you. Occasionally coaches will give advice, but it’s a tool we use sparingly. The coach’s main job is to help you come to your own conclusions.
2. Focus on past experiences.
Coaching is not therapy! I get a lot of questions about the difference between coaching and therapy, and to me, therapy is where people should start before coming to coaching. Therapy is wonderful at helping us dig deeper into our past experiences and childhoods to help us understand why we might have certain limiting beliefs about ourselves or why we might behave in certain ways.
Therapy is also key in treating more serious or severe mental illness and for healing trauma. Coaching is not intended to treat either of those and in my opinion is most beneficial for someone who has been to therapy and/or has already done a lot of inner personal development work. A coach is only going to build on that work and push you farther than you could (or would dare) to go on your own.
Many people see both coaches and therapists, and that’s totally cool, too. There are huge benefits to both, and you can do both at the same time! And past experiences will of course likely come up in coaching sessions, but they aren’t the main focus. The main focus is on the present and how you’re thinking and behaving right now.
Again, coaches aren’t therapists and aren’t here to diagnose you or pathologize in any way. Coaching focuses more on positive psychology and how to go from merely surviving or getting by to flourishing.
Hiring a coach was the best thing I ever did for myself and it has been worth every penny. I have been very self-aware since I was a child (I did grow up with therapist parents, after all) and have read dozens of personal development books, but hiring a coach has been the single best thing for my growth and development that I’ve ever done.
I was lucky to find the right coach at the right time (fit and timing is also extremely important), and I can’t wait to see how I’ll continue to grow in the next five months of working with a coach one-on-one.
I am also so excited to be starting my journey as a coach and I can’t wait to help you all in a deeper and more personal way. If you’re feeling stuck, unfulfilled, or if you have questions about coaching, I’d love to chat further. Comment below or shoot me an email - let’s get connected!