This article can also be found on Huffington Post.
I have to admit, as a former athlete, I love everything about being coached; I love the accountability, the goal setting, the planning, the undivided attention of someone who believes in me. I even love the hard stuff, like someone telling me I’m making excuses or that I need to stop doing stupid shit.
But I was late to professional coaching mostly because I didn’t really know what it was. I always assumed these coaches spent their days white-boarding with the president of Coca-Cola or brainstorming leadership ideas with the CEO of Google. I wasn’t exactly sure how they could help me.
But I was curious because I missed it. I missed having someone in my corner that saw in me a level I couldn’t see in myself. Plus, there was this nagging voice in my head that told me I could do more.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears
I first sat down with my coach three years ago and she boldly told me how she could help me. I totally believed her. I was ready to dive in headfirst and take the world by storm.
Except I didn’t. I delayed.
I told myself it was too much money. That I didn’t have the time to do it right. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work or if she was the right one to help me. I was scared of the leap into the unknown and I felt guilty investing so much in myself. ‘Shouldn’t I put this in my retirement account?,’ I thought.
It’s a conversation I have often with my clients so I know I’m not the only one. So I thought I’d share the five reasons (and excuses) I thought about in my journey to coaching:
1. You can’t coach yourself
A few years ago someone pressed fast forward on my life- I got married, had a baby, and kept on the treadmill of running a business. I thought of my potential coach often in the form of ‘some day, when I have an extra 4 thousand I don’t know what else to do with, I’m going to hire her’. Legitimately, I really thought one day I would just wake up and know it was time. And I did, in a way. But not because I had extra money. It was something she said that played over and over in my head, “Lindsey, you can’t coach yourself.” Finally, I was ready to listen.
2. Why pay for something I can get for free?
You can get almost any information for free these days. Whereas lies the problem- often what I need the most help with is not more information, but sifting through the existing information to prioritize the things that really matter for me.
And while I have great mentors for advice, I also feel guilty asking for too much of their time. With my coach, I know she isn’t my friend, she isn’t pro bono, she isn’t there out of the goodness of her heart, she doesn’t need anything from me, she’s there to work, just like I am. And while that sounds sort of callous- it actually makes things a lot easier.
3. I already have people to keep me accountable
While it’s easy to look at the exchange of money as cheapening something, in this case it actually does the opposite-it creates value by keeping things clear.
Because let’s face it, it’s no good to put your spouse or friend or brother in the role of holding you accountable. No matter how high achieving you are, you likely don’t want to go to lunch with your spouse, only to have them insist you’ve checked off your to-do list before you order. Personally, I want to sit and drink wine with my best friend and have a useless but entertaining conversation about House Hunters Renovation, not my balance sheet.
4. You aren’t investing in them.
Unless money is burning a hole in your pocket, it’s easy to think of hiring a coach as an expense. Or at the very best an investment.
When I first started online dating, I thought of it as investing in an online application that would help me meet men. And it was. But mostly it was an investment in me.
When I nervously put my credit card in, I was saying to myself, I may not be ready to find someone today and I’m a little scared about this whole thing but I’m making the decision that I am worth it. And that is what coaching is like. Just like dating, you need to find the RIGHT coach at the right time, but ultimately it starts with a decision- are YOU ready to commit to the future you say you want?
5. I don’t have the time.
When I look at my calendar, there aren’t wide open areas just begging to be filled in. It’s easy to say I don’t have time for one more thing. But if my goal is to truly be more efficient with my time and priorities, getting help doing that actually saves me time.
As an entrepreneur I have a lot of ideas. A LOT. My struggle is not to think of new things, but sort through the good stuff and zero in on the great stuff. The winners. My coach constantly tells me, “Lindsey, work on moving 3 things a mile instead of 100 things an inch.”
Her help prioritizing things is invaluable to me.
The final realization
Know this: that right now, no matter what you do in your life, there are opportunities all around you that you aren’t seeing or ones that you aren’t creating. It’s human nature. We ALL self-sabotage and we all think we are a lot better than we are at holding ourselves accountable, keeping disciplined in where we prioritize our time, and finding success. We aren’t. Well, maybe you are, but I’m not. And I’m okay with that. I may be really good at coaching others but like my coach says, ‘You can’t coach yourself.”
Follow me on twitter @lindseywilson13
What about you? Have you been coached? If so, what is the one thing that you took away from that experience?