What the heck is a coach, and do I need one?


In case you've ever asked yourself the above question, or you are just curious to know more, I'd like to clarify what coaching is and how it differs from other similar services. You can hire a business coach, an executive coach, a life coach, a lifestyle coach, to name but a few. To understand more of what a coach is, lets look firstly at what a coach is not.

  • a coach is not a consultant
  • a coach is not a mentor
  • a coach is not a therapist
  • a coach is not the same as a friend/family member/colleague

Although it can be wonderful to have the support of the above, their roles do differ from that of a coach. Let’s start by imagining a scenario where each could be beneficial.

1. Consultant. You run your own business and you would like to expand your reach, but you don’t know how to go about it. You could hire a consultant who has good knowledge in your field and in marketing. They would help you to understand your market, create strategies with you in developing that market and support you to implement them. They tell you what you need and create systems to implement it.

2. Mentor. You wish to start your own coaching business. You know a lot about coaching but very little about running a business. You could hire a mentor who is an experienced business owner. They would help you with all the aspects of running a small business, eg accounting, marketing, social media etc. They have travelled down the same road and are happy to pass on their knowledge and support you to put it into practise. They would be by your side to guide you through the learning and application. They teach you what to do.

3. Therapist. You would like to start your own business but are too scared, as your parents had their own business which went bottom up, resulting in them losing the family home. You are fearful of repeating that experience; your fear is overwhelming, stopping you form moving forward. The therapist would help you look back at your difficult childhood experience, supporting you to process the emotion of that time and re-frame it from an adult perspective, so that you could now make more realistic decisions. They help you understand and transform your fears.

4. Friends/family/colleagues. You have an idea to start your own business and ask your friends/ family/colleagues what they think. The more people you ask, the more opinions you get, and you end up very confused. Some will try and talk you out of your idea as they will be worried that you may fail. My guess is that most of their opinions will be coloured by what they would do if they were in your situation. Some opinions might chime with you and others won’t. The giver often has an investment in the outcome which can cause tensions when you don’t follow their guidance. They can give conflicting advice.

5. Coach. You have an idea to start your own business as you are tired of working for your employer. You’re unsure if this is right for you and you’re also unsure what form you’d like your business to take. You could hire a coach to help you see what’s meaningful to you and what it is that you really want; what makes your heart sing. Having uncovered that, the coach would support you to create a goal and advance step by step to accomplish it, overcoming your fears and doubts along the way. You would learn the skill of how to create success in your life, while being supported to achieve it. They support you to find your own answers and act on them, to ensure success.

A coach does not need to have expertise in the area of your business/project/goal and they will not tell you what to do, or advise you, or even give their opinion (unless its specifically asked for). A coach will support you to find out what is really important to you, the meaning that underlies your need for something different. Is this what you really want? Is it running away from a situation you don’t like or a desire to move towards something you would love to do? A coach will support you to find where your passions lie, and how to express them in the world so that you are making a contribution to be proud of, while leading a purposeful life.

A coach supports your inner hero, encourages you out of your comfort zone, into unfamiliar territory and is there with you to walk by your side and occasionally pull you by the hand, reminding you of your strengths or giving you a gentle push when you would otherwise hesitate. A coach sees and believes in the best of you and supports you to do the same.

A coach is someone who helps and supports you to:

  • see that you have a lot to give
  • discover what is meaningful for YOU
  • identify your core strengths and values
  • go beyond the beliefs that may be holding you back
  • achieve success

If you would like to experience coaching for yourself, please consider joining my new online coaching group starting in April. We will cover the 5 points above and you will be supported to think and act in new ways that make your life easier and more rewarding. And all from the comfort of your home.

By joining our online coaching group, you will have the opportunity to develop life-long skills in the company of like-minded people. You can start using them immediately and apply them to all aspects of your life.

Cost: £130.00 for the 8 weeks, including any materials.