Seven Reasons Why Most Coaching Programs May Not Work For You.

Coaching programs come in various flavors, forms and shapes. More importantly, they come with variety of price tags. I have been fortunate to have had (and continue to have) many coaches over two decades. They have been a large part of helping me reach where I have reached today. It is not like I have never had my share of bad luck. I have had that experience too once or twice but it was rare.

I do hear from many people about coaching programs that didn’t produce the results they were expecting. Having many coaches in my network, I get to hear the other side of such stories too. So, listening to both sides of the stories, I have come up with seven reasons why most coaching programs may not be working for you.

Here they are:

1. You confuse a coach to be a consultant

Consultants (at least some of them) solve problems. Coaches are supposed to help you increase your capacity to solve problems. If you confuse a coach to be a consultant, you will expect your problems to be solved by your coach. That will be a non-starter.

2. You confuse a coach to be a therapist

Both, a coach and a therapist have their place. You typically go to a therapist when something is broken. You can go to a coach without nothing broken and still benefit hugely.

3. You are not fully committed to making the change.

My friend Jim Everett explained to me the distinction between “being interested” and “being committed.” If you are being interested, you want to take action when it’s convenient for you. If you are being committed, you want to take action whatever be your situation.

If you are interested, then your returns will wait for all the stars to align. If you are committed, then you will probably see the desired change. If you are interested but expecting to see the results that comes from being committed, you will end up disappointed.

4. Your expectations are out of line with current reality

Imagination has no limits and you understand the concept of stretch goals. However, if you “stretch too much,” your expectations go out of line with reality. When that happens rarely any coach can help you. One of my friend says that some people go to a coach when what they really need is a divine intervention.

5. You are hiding crucial details about the current situation

Unless your coach can read your mind, he or she has only the information that you have provided to work with. You hide details and the parameters to consider while brainstorming the solution gets limited. The scope gets changed. And finally, the solution that you may come up with may be sub-optimal leading to sub-optimal results.

6. You lack belief that this process will work

Henry Ford’s famous quote comes in handy here – “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.

Belief plays a major role in a coaching relationship. I am not suggesting you to believe blindly. That’s not good in any context. But a belief in the coaching process has to be in place for you to move forward. This belief is what will set your posture right – to be in an open frame of wind as you and your coach discuss and debate options. Without that, you and your coach will both be wasting time.

7. You forget that you still need to take ACTION to make it happen

The sequence would typically look like this:

a. You or your coach identify a situation that needs change
b. You meet with your coach to discuss/brainstorm/debate on the issue
c. You both may identify potential options for moving forward
d. You will finally make a choice on what option to choose to proceed
e. You take action
f. Watch progress, re-adjust and refine approach as needed
g. Arrive at a better situation than where you started

The part (e) where you take action is where most people fail. It is where the rubber meets the road and all the resistance comes against you in full force. If you need to change a situation, that means you are expected to make some changes. Change as we all know is hard. So rather than taking action, you start questioning the steps before the “action step.” Once you are on that path, you have a convenient excuse of “still trying to find best alternate options” before taking concrete action.

Rarely do you get any results because you have a plan. You and your coach can come up with a plan but you still need to take action.