If you are in any type of transition regarding work or life, or you are considering a transition, then you may have thought about getting someone to coach you through the process. For example, you may be seeking a new direction for your future because it’s clear what you’ve been doing isn’t working any longer. Alternatively, you might know exactly what you want to do; but you can’t see how to bridge your past experience with your aspirations for a new career.
These are reasonable times to consider getting yourself some coaching, especially if you have friends or loved ones who are more than willing to give you their opinions of what you should do.
Friends and loved ones are the most dangerous part of making a change.
There’s a bundle of reasons, and here are some. Friends don’t like to see friends change. After all, you are friends because of who you are now, not who you could become. Loved ones have a stake in who you are now, including how you earn a paycheck, the days of the week you have free time to spend with them, and the chores you do to keep a household or relationship humming.
Most of my coaching clients delay their decision to get coached, about 6 to 36 months past when they should have reached out. Why? They rely on friends and loved ones for advice! The very people who have a stake in your remaining in your present form, doing the job you do, the way you do it, and not adding any further burden of either greater status or dependency on them.
Even knowing this, most people “crowdsource” the most important decisions in their lives. Recently, a client came to me because she was standing at a school with other young moms. They weren’t even people she knew well, just other parents who shared carpool, cupcake making and fundraising with each other. Their only connection was their kids attendance at the school, which of course means the birthday parties, T-ball and cascade of events that bring families together under the circumstances.
“The other moms asked me what I do,” Sarah reported to me. “So, I figured I better do something, since everyone was an attorney, business owner, or had some occupation. Turns out I was the only mom who had taken some time off.”
Peer pressure doesn’t stop when you graduate high school. These largely anonymous people had crowdsourced Sarah out of her decision to stay home. She’d made the decision to help her family stabilize while their first child entered school and her husband took a job that required him to travel.
Whether or not Sarah was ready to return to work, is a personal and financial question. Yet, like most people, she was polling strangers – or at least accepting their vote – about her life.
That’s a moment for coaching. Sarah had met me at a 2-day seminar I gave on personal branding, and she reached out to get a one-on-one session. In 90 minutes we solved her problem, got an action plan together, and set her on making decisions that were truly relevant to her situation. She’ll check back with me for a progress report in eight weeks.
So, when is the right time for coaching? Whenever you find yourself polling others about your life choices, whenever you fear the criticism or lack of support from friends or loved ones, and whenever you need clear answers to questions that confound you.
I know. I’ve been coached on every significant life change I’ve ever made. It’s part of my success equation. Should it be part of yours?
Do you have a question you want to ask a coach? Email it to me at [email protected]. Subject line: Question. I will write back to you, with some insight to move you forward.