Often clients relate to me how they worked with a coach or therapist in the past and nothing happened.
However, when we worked together we made progress.
What’s going on here? Is it that I’m the most awesome coach out there and everyone else sucks?
As much as my ego loves this, it’s simply not accurate.
It is true there are many coaches and therapists out there who aren’t up to par despite whatever training they had.
But there are other things to consider.
Peter Attia MD posted a great article on finding the right fit in a psychotherapist. It is worth a read if you’re shopping around for a therapist.
Many parallels here for selecting a coach too.
The post notes that the “most critical variable is the relationship between patient and therapist.”
These are broken down into 3 areas:
Therapeutic alliance – “the mutual level of engagement…on the part of both patient and practitioner” and “both therapist and client should be active and equal participants.”
Goal consensus – agreement between patient and therapist on what the goals are, finding “someone who encourages this mutual agreement and clarity on goals and helps set realistic expectations.”
Empathy – the ability to “understand another’s emotions, thoughts, and difficulties from their point of view.”
This is also true for coaching.
We call the alliance between client and coach Rapport. Connection. Resonance. Coaches work hard to build this from the very first meeting.
We work hard on Setting the Agenda and Session Agreement so that both parties know and understand what the goals are for a single session, and also goals for across multiple sessions.
Empathy is core to our coaching work. Coaches work towards focus on the client’s experience fully, generating awareness of the true root causes, which then leads to worthwhile resolutions.
We are always mindful of coach led conversations where we insert our own interpretations and directions, which is not very empathetic at all and resolutions are not effective.
If you’re out there looking for a coach (or therapist), make sure you shop around. Talk to many possible candidates and be aware of your own feelings of the initial conversation. Is there a sense of comfort or uneasiness? Safety or doubt? And so on. Your feelings will be a significant factor and not just the intellectual checkboxes of credentials, training, and cost.
Then make the choice and give the relationship a try.
As the post also describes, it is ok to change if there isn’t a fit. It’s OK to change if you’re not making progress.
Sometimes it takes visits to many different coaches/therapists before full resolution can happen. Be open to that exploration as you dive deeper into what is going on within you and what it will take to resolve it.
What was your search for a coach (or therapist) like? How did your experience with either go?
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