I don’t need coaching, I think about my situation a lot!
Why thinking and analyzing is not always the best way to move forward
There is a significant percentage of my potential clients who, after having a sample coaching session with me, decide that in the end, even though they really liked what we did together, don’t need coaching after all — as they usually put it, they will “first take some time to reflect on their situation on their own and after that, eventually will consider moving forward with coaching”.
Sometimes I don’t hear back from these clients and some of them come back to me after a couple of months, sometimes being in the very same place where they were when they first contacted me. In this article, I would like to elaborate on what are the usual reasons why people pull back from coaching and why getting back to “thinking and analyzing” often does not bring the desired results, no matter how hard people might try.
A sample coaching session is a short “trial” meeting or a call that many coaches, including me, offer to give our potential clients the taste of coaching itself, our specific coaching style, to explore their current situation and expectations, answer their questions and, of course, also to check whether there is the right “click” between us. The main purpose of this session is to make sure that the client has all the information they need in order to make their decision to pursue coaching with us and, for us coaches, to see whether we can support the client in the way that would maximize the benefits of coaching for them.
Such session often feels very intense for the client. They meet a complete stranger and within a couple of minutes they are already deep in a conversation about their most private experiences, feelings and emotions! A lot of completely new things might come up for them and they might not be able to digest them on the spot. It was definitely not expected by them, but aren’t we all used to always making sure that we never get caught “off guard”? To not lose face, no matter what? To always have a smart answer? To be ready with a logical explanation for why we behave a certain way? — all of that can feel unexpected and really, really scary.
That is why it can feel extremely tempting for us to go back in our shell and
A) In a worst case scenario, never explore our situation in a “new and scary way”.
B) In a better case scenario, “think” about our situation on our own, in safety and in the privacy of our own mind, where our vulnerability can’t be seen by anyone else. And if we feel uncomfortable in front of ourselves, there is always an escape route handy in a form of any kind of distraction. Let’s check out some cute kittens on Instagram and feel good and safe again!
This is all understandable and completely human. Our instincts always guide us to keep ourselves “safe” — to stay where we are.
I’m pretty sure your friends and loved ones care about your situation too and are willing to help you and they give you loving advice which is usually based on their own experience and/or beliefs. They surely want the best for you but no matter how good their intentions are, their solutions just might not work for YOU. These people usually also want you to feel good and safe and will easily let you go back into your shell anytime you feel the need.
And these are the reasons why you might need the support of a coach when you deal with certain important life situations on your own for too long.
I would like to emphasize that a coach is not someone who will ignore your boundaries and push you to be vulnerable all the time and will tell you what you need to do and when. Absolutely not!
A good coach is someone who will always be committed to work towards creating a safe yet explorative space for you to feel brave and strong enough to stay out of your shell for a powerful and life changing conversation.
How is this usually achieved?
- If you felt comfortable already sharing very personal information with a coach in a sample session and did not feel judged from their side, it is already a good sign! It is very important that you find your coach trustworthy, that you are willing to be vulnerable in front of them and that they have the “magic skill” to open up important topics with you in a relatively short amount of time. There is probably the right chemistry between you.
- Before starting to do any deeper work, your coach will design a coaching relationship with you (this is also called a designing alliance) and will ask you about your goals, expectations, in which areas they should not put you on the spot and where you give them your permission to get you out of your comfort zone and anything else that you might need. The alliance is not set in stone — it can be redesigned at any point of the coaching relationship.
A coach is not someone who will tell you what to do. They are not going to judge you in any way, nor compare you with their other clients. A coach will never give you an evaluation or judge whether you are doing well or badly. If they chose to work with you, they embrace you as a person fully, with all your flaws and struggles. No one is perfect. All coaches have their own issues and baggage. No matter what you say in front of them, it will not impact your relationship. Everything is confidential. The meeting with a coach creates a unique environment (something like a laboratory) where you can talk aloud about your real truth, without consequences for anyone else but you.
So you see: The difference between coaching and your own thinking and analyzing is very similar to the difference between doing yoga at home following an instruction book and doing it with a personal teacher who adjusts all of your postures according to your specific body type, who champions you and makes sure you make as much progress as is possible for you.
Yes, it requires courage and commitment. But it brings completely different results.
To book your sample session, already takes a lot of courage, and it is just the beginning. If you give it a chance and resist the temptation to “disappear” after the first moment of vulnerability, with the support of the right coach, you can transform yourself and your life in ways you never thought could be possible.
Anna Kmetova is a professional life coach, annakmetova.com