The best coaches will start by helping you clearly identify where you are now in your life and where you want to go. With these markers as guides, coaching becomes a process to find or create the specific steps that will make it possible to move toward where you want to be.
Since the work is practical, specific and simple (don’t misread that as effortless!) coaching has advantages for individuals and couples who want to change things rather than simply consider things; who want to adjust rather than just find excuses for bad or ineffective habits.
A therapist can help you resolve emotional patterns that were established in childhood; a coach will encourage you to take a step forward, toward your goal, and ask you to pay close attention to what can be learned from that step and whether it should be tried again or discarded.
An experienced coach will help you focus on learning both practical steps to take you toward your objectives and skills that you can apply in the future any time you want to change an old habit or explore a new path. The advantage of a quality coach is in their experience and ability to both create the beginnings of a trail you can follow in the jungle of activities and urgent demands, and in teaching you ways to re-find that trail each time you get distracted by interesting diversions and step off into the tangle of vines we call modern life.
If you have tried to change but ended up resisting your own best efforts or fallen prey to distractions, if you have a history of multiple failed attempts or, if you feel both committed and discouraged, coaching has the benefit of using approaches that experience and science have shown work.
The advantage of research-based coaching is that you are practicing fundamental techniques that have evidence backing them up. Coaching is now being seriously researched in many major academic centers. What’s ironic is that the type of therapy that has the most evidence behind it (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is essentially a coaching model.
For all its straightforwardness, coaching won’t appeal to the coach potato who hasn’t decided whether or not it’s time to change. But if you think you’re ready, maximize the advantages of coaching by selecting an experienced coach who uses the latest research findings to make change as predictable as possible