I'm often asked what coaching does for people. The coach's favorite answer is, it depends. It entirely depends on what the person being coached (PBC) wants or needs. The outcomes vary tremendously from PBC to PBC. (I will address what coaching does for companies in a separate post.)
I find a good way to answer the question of what coaching does for people is to describe situations I've encountered where the person didn't need a coach. The list below, in no particular order, contains a sampling of reasons why they didn't.
1. You manage how you spend your time by managing your goals and priorities, not by how much you can cram into a given day. You have a system of some kind in place to handle all the incoming stuff yet retain peace of mind.
2. You are physically healthy. You have daily routines for exercise, sleep, and diet that increase your capacity and restore it.
3. Your social life is in good order. You connect with people in a meaningful way regularly. You have a good support system of people you love spending time with, who have your back, who push you when you need it, who leave you feeling happier and more alive after spending time with them.
4. Your family life works for you. Baggage from the past rarely influences your outlook, relationships or responses today. Family needs are one of the big rocks that go on your calendar and spending list first.
Personal and Professional Development
5. You believe in and routinely engage in some sort of personal and professional development through regular reading, additional education, hobbies, conferences, seminars, or a mentor. If your employer doesn't pay for these things, you invest in them yourself at an affordable level.
6. Your home, your office, your workspace, your car, your garage: anywhere you spend a lot of time is organized to meet your needs. You can lay your hands on important paperwork in a matter of minutes. Clutter is managed and purged regularly.
7. You have a handle on your career. You stay up with trends in your field, your industry, your customer base. You watch for the effects of technology in your work and take every opportunity for training that comes your way. You take full responsibility for improving your current skills and learning new ones. You also routinely work to improve your people skills--listening, communication, managing, delegating--as well as any technical skills involved.
8. Your finances are solid. Will, health proxy, living will are in place. Short- and long-term savings and investments are in progress. You have a good credit rating. Your life, health and belongings are protected at the right level by insurance. How you manage your money works for you.
9. You regularly apply your leadership skills in your life and work, regardless of your level or title in a company or your role in your family. You understand leadership is a life skill, not something you only do at your job. You think strategically, respond with emotional intelligence, understand your role, and fulfill your responsibilities.
10. You know what your values, ethics and beliefs are. You make virtually all of your daily choices and decisions in accordance with what's important to you and what brings meaning to your life. You know how to quickly assess requests for your time, money, or energy before saying "yes." You know how to say "no" gracefully.
Perfection Is Not the Goal, Progress Is
This list doesn't mean a meaningful life is possible only if all 10 things (or others you can think of) are in place. For many people, getting one or two of those things in order is enough.
How about you? Are the blessings you already have in your life enough to keep body, soul, and mind together and functioning?