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5 Things You Can Expect From A Certified Coach

May 16-22 is International Coaching Week (ICW) which is a week-long global celebration that educates the public about the value of working with a professional coach as well as the power and impact that coaching can have.

In honour of ICW, this past month I have been sharing some of the characteristics of coaching and what’s ‘Inside a Coach’s Heart’ on Instagram and Facebook. This blog is a compilation and further explanation of those posts.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is a collaborative thought-provoking process between coach and client that helps you discover the answers you are seeking. People typically come to coaching because you may feel stuck, unfulfilled or unclear about how to achieve a goal, make a change or optimize your personal or professional potential.

You often have the answers and resources that you need within you but are having difficulty accessing them because you feel overwhelmed, unsure of yourself, confused or at a loss of what to do next.

Coaching focuses on what’s going on in the present, what your desire or vision is for the future and then coaches to the gap.

In the coach - client relationship, YOU are in the driver’s seat and you are considered the expert. As the driver, you decide where you want to go, at what speed, how you will get there and if a change in course is needed.

As the expert of your own life, you know what can or will work for you - as well as what won’t. No one else knows your exact circumstances, skills, abilities, passions, experiences as well as you.

The coach is your co-pilot, helping you navigate the journey, as a second set of eyes, ears, senses and experiences to help guide you along the way.

Your coach is your non-judgmental guide, using curiosity, powerful questions and observations to obtain the full, true picture.

Your coach should not be the one to tell you what to do. Instead, your coach will help you become clearer and clearer about your situation until you have the ‘aha’ and realize, ‘Ahhh, this is what I need to do.’

Five things you can expect from an ICF certified coach:

1. ‘Your fears, failures, secret yearnings are welcome + safe with me.’

Before you even hire a coach, you are invited to a FREE consultation to get to know each other a little better, learn more about what you’re working on, review expectations and answer any questions. One of the first things that is discussed with you is confidentiality and the importance of building trust and safety.

You’ve likely sought out coaching because you’re feeling unsure of yourself or your next steps and are already feeling a little vulnerable and unsure of what to expect.

It’s important for you to feel safe and supported so that you are able to share freely. There needs to be a relationship of mutual respect and trust. This initial conversation with a potential coach helps you get a sense if the relationship is a good fit.

2. ‘My goal is to help you get focused on what you love, value and want from life.’

Part of a coach’s job is to help you get clear on what your vision for the future is and what it will look, feel, and sound like (and maybe even taste or smell like if that makes sense for you) once you get there.

Depending on what you’re coming to coaching for, you will complete assessments to help you learn more about yourself. These assessments often include identifying personality characteristics such as your strengths, values and possibly your saboteurs.

In addition to getting focused on the bigger picture and the end vision, the first few minutes of every coaching session begin with getting you focused on what it is you are bringing to the session, how it relates to what brought you to coaching in the first place and how it’s meaningful to you.

The clearer you become on your purpose and your why, the easier it will be to stay motivated when the excitement wears off and the work sets in.

3. ‘I help you trust and befriend yourself and let go of negative baggage.’

You can have all the passion, knowledge and skills you need to achieve your goals and still get stuck along the way.

Trusting yourself and letting go of negative, outdated thoughts, beliefs and responses clears the path to optimizing your personal and professional potential.

Some of our biggest, most stubborn obstacles to our success are our internal obstacles.

We all have them…

Those internal voices, critics, saboteurs that generate negative emotions in the way you handle life’s everyday challenges.

They represent the ingrained patterns of your mind for how to think, feel and behave. They cause self-doubt, anxiety, frustration, restlessness, stress, unhappiness and cause you to stay stuck.

They sabotage your wellbeing, your performance and even your relationships.

There is the inner critic that causes you to beat yourself up repeatedly over mistakes or shortcomings, warns you obsessively about future risks, and wakes you at 3 am worrying.

There is the inner critic that causes you to leave projects unfinished because of the fear of missing out or being drawn to the next shiny thing.

There is the inner critic that causes you to avoid imagined difficult things for the potential of the fallout that it may cause.

There is the inner critic that drives the over-achiever in you - dependent on constant validation, positive feedback and achievement for self-respect and self-esteem. With the latest achievement often being discounted and needing to ‘up’ it.

And there is the inner critic that has you on hyper alert - always scanning the environment and people around you anticipating what ‘could’ go wrong.

There is the people pleaser critic - constantly nudging you to help, care for, rescue and please others in order to be accepted, valued and appreciated. Often leading to you losing sight of your own needs and becoming resentful as a result.

And then there is the perfectionist critic with the need for order, organization and performance at the expense of your wellbeing, or the one that has you procrastinating on even starting a project for fear of failure or not living up to expectations.

We often have more than one of these critics, which I affectionately refer to as the ‘itty, bitty, **itty committee’.

As a coach, I help you identify your critics and the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors they drive and help you see the true story. I then partner with you to create a plan to manage those critics the next time they surface.

4. ‘I accept you as you are and do not judge.’

Entering into a coaching relationship when you are feeling uncertain and unsure of yourself can create feelings of vulnerability. In order for you to share freely, it is important for you to feel safe. An important part of trust and safety is knowing that your conversations are confidential and that you are accepted as you are and not judged.

The coach’s job is to be a non-judgmental observer and a compassionate active listener. Any observations or intuitions that are shared by the coach are done with non-attachment and you are always given the option to agree, disagree or edit them.

Another, very important competency for coaches is support - recognizing and acknowledging your strengths and values, as well as celebrating and championing you along the way.

On rare occasions, misunderstandings or ruptures can occur in the coaching relationship as they do in any relationship - we are all human, afterall. In cases where misunderstandings or hurt feelings happen, it is encouraged to share about them as they happen, identify what went wrong and determine how to manage them and prevent them from happening in future. Repairing ruptures in the vast majority of cases helps make the coaching relationship stronger and develops greater trust between coach and client.

5. ‘I will help you hold yourself accountable for what you say you are going to do.’

While coaches help you hold yourself accountable for what you say you are going to do, if you’re looking for someone to hold your feet to the fire, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Coaches partner with you and support you to transform learning and insight into action to promote your autonomy in the process. When a coach supports you to hold yourself accountable, you are developing the skills and the confidence to keep yourself accountable long-term.

Expecting the coach to keep you accountable takes you out of the driver’s seat and takes your personal power away…not to mention, it sets up a potential for you to feel you’ve let the coach down or disappointed her. Which, by the way, because you are in the driver’s seat, you set the expectations of yourself…not the coach…that means you can’t let your coach down.

If you’re having difficulty holding yourself accountable, perhaps it’s time to explore why that is. Is there an inner critic/saboteur at play? Is the goal too big? Do you have the skills to achieve the goal? Is the goal even your idea? These are just a few things your coach can help you determine.

When you learn to hold yourself accountable, you reinforce a sense of pride and accomplishment, learn to trust yourself and build confidence.

So how does one be accountable to oneself? Accountability means that you accept ownership for producing some outcome or taking some action. In order for accountability to work, there must be some form of consequence. Consequences can be positive or negative. Are you more motivated by a reward or some form of something good starting or something disliked ending? Or are you more motivated by something good ending or something disliked starting? What would some examples of each be for you?

Well, there you have it. A bit about what coaching with a ICF certified coach looks like as well as 5 things you can expect from coaching.

The theme for this year’s International Coaching Week is Reimagine the Future: Open yourself to new learning and experiences.

If you were to reimagine your future and open yourself to new learning and experiences, what might be possible for you?

Want to learn more about how coaching can help you? Keep following along by signing up for my email list or follow me on IG or FB. Don't forget to share this post with someone who might find it helpful.

🧡 Anita


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