Do you need someone to talk with? Are you in need of a greater perspective than your own? Feeling alone in your journey? Or maybe your company needs an outside resource to work with employees?
Then perhaps a professional coach is the answer.
Many people are in need of a confidant; someone they can talk with for one time - or over a period of time. Likewise, organizations often rely on outside counsel.
Often times loved ones or coworkers are too close to a situation to be able to discuss your needs in detail, or with a 360-degree view.
CEOs, community and religious leaders, doctors, heads of households and others feel a limitation to discuss personal or professional issues - as their role with others may support the "disclosure is not appropriate" scenario.
If you are considering a coach, there is preparation and decision making to do on your part. Today's column is meant to help by offering some information.
When looking for a coach, consider the following in your search:
1. First, understand what your goal(s) are going to be, in order to express yourself to a potential coach.
2. Recognize that coaches do not necessarily have a medical background, should you need that type of support and credentials.
3. Know that every coach may not be the right "fit" for you. Be selective and choose someone you feel is credible. Understand that unless they have received permission from someone they coach, they cannot ethically give you reference names.
4. If someone gives you a reference for a coach, make certain you ask a number of questions before scheduling an actual session with them. This is mostly communicated over the phone or through emails. Remember that talking on the phone will give you a better sense of their communication style. (Yet know that people often start with an initial email inquiry to schedule a short phone or in-person interview.)
5. If a coach will not spend 10 minutes with you on the phone for you to interview them, be wary.
6. Ask potential coaches to disclose some information about themselves. For example, "What is their background?" "Do they have prior experience with your topic?" "How do they proceed with a session?" "How long is a session?" "What is the financial investment?"
7. They should be asking you some questions, such as "What are your goals for being coached?" "What are your expectations of a coach?" "Do you prefer to meet in person or speak in confidence on the phone?" "When is a convenient time for you to have a session?"
8. If a coach believes they are not the right "fit" for you or your organization, then be thankful they are forthcoming with that information. It does not mean that you are not important. It does mean that someone else could serve you better.
9. Because a coach belongs to a professional organization, that does not equate to quality coaching. Many times it means they've made a financial investment to include that "name" on their resume. While for others, they advance their skills through such organizations.
10. If a coach doesn't guide you in conversation, and only offers the question "So how do you feel about that?" - I suggest you run.
Hopefully, you will already have vetted the coach in your initial interview questions, to not anticipate this happening.
If your current coach only offers this dynamic, I strongly suggest you be introspective and evaluate if your needs are being met.
11. Coaches often use written or computerized assessment tools to assist you with greater awareness. Know this is common and an additional charge.
12. Understand that you are the one who is ultimately responsible for your choices. Don't let someone talk you out of being your authentic self.
13. If you build a relationship with a coach, know that it is not appropriate to ask them to have lunch or coffee, in lieu of a scheduled session, as you would a friend. It remains a professional arrangement. While the relationship should be friendly, it does not mean that a friendship has developed where services are assumed to no longer have a fee. (Know that professional sessions, however, often are scheduled during lunch, or over coffee.)
People of all ages and stages can benefit from coaching.
Of course, it is ultimately up to you whether you choose this route.
As it is not medically based, insurances do not cover coaching costs; and therefore, it becomes an out-of-pocket expense.
Do recognize that a support system is important for everyone, no matter if a coach becomes a part of that chosen team.
Prune out any person or organization that is toxic to your system.
When contemplating all of your needs, there are a number of "team members" to consider, including family and friends.
Some other options for counsel include your clergy, a social worker, psychotherapist, psychologist and-or psychiatrist.
Depending on your goals and interests, you also may want to consider if you have any need for the following: a personal trainer, financial planner, nutritionist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, massage therapist, medical specialist, support group, pet therapy, art therapy or other credible resource.
The point is that you have choices to help take you from where you are in this moment, to a place that brings you greater direction, health and peace.
May you experience a life of abundance as your authentic self.
May your support system be of value to you - and you in turn, be an important part of someone else's support.
May your goals continue to evolve with life's growth, and peace be with you along the journey.
Langley can be reached at dklangley@ verizon.net.