How (and Why . . . ) Coaching Really Works

I’m going to let you in on a bit of a secret. You have to promise not to tell the ICF that I told you this or I could get in really big trouble. Deal?

Coaching works for three reasons (and they don’t all jibe with what the ICF says on their web-site):

One, because the client steps up and makes a financial, time and energy commitment to the coaching process. Just this is about 30% of why coaching works. But without a coach to effectively market themselves and enroll the client, this never happens. So, the coach is still incredibly vital, even in this step/component.

The second reason is regular coaching sessions and the accountability that comes from knowing that you (the client) will be talking with your coach soon. This aspect is inextricably linked — and thusly powerful — with the financial commitment (especially if you’ve pre-paid your sessions (whether they are refundable or not . . . )). I would estimate the weight of this component is 30%

Thirdly, the final 40% is the skill and knowledge of the coach. A coach expert in the various skills of coaching (such as: listening, questioning, generating awareness, designing actions, planning and goal-setting and challenging) will bring tremendous value to the client, and their future. But even a client with an average coach will generate good results if the first two pieces are in place.

Take away the coach from any of the above and there’s no coaching — and no change and/or improvement for the client. But, by hiring a coach, and working with them on a regular basis, there is so much good that can/will result.

Looking at the percentages, just showing up on a regular basis, gets you a passing grade (60%). An okay coach gets you another 10%, which is a C, 10 percentage points more gets you to 80 and a B and an excellent, energized and engaged coach is going to get you to 90% and above.

To put all the numbers in perspective, imagine the best anyone in society — or in your workplace — can do without some form of coaching (or consistent, disciplined self-improvement — and this is exceedingly rare) is get a D, but someone who takes the initiative and invests in themselves and their future by hiring a coach can earn anywhere from a C to an A+, and we have a very strong case for coaching.

And one final note: it is pretty easy to identify and not-hire a “D” or “C” coach. When you’re doing your due diligence in selecting a coach, and you’ve asked for testimonials/referrals, examined education, experience and qualifications and interviewed at least three coaches, it’s easy to know 1) who is a decent-to-excellent coach and 2) which coach is a good fit for you personality-wise.

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