Like many people, when I first heard about coaching, I thought I understood what it was. I thought that a coach was just a very special kind of consultant who worked on both business and personal issues. I envisioned people who were accessible night and day to their clients, giving them advice on how to resolve their problems, telling them secrets about strategy that gave them an edge in their business and made them more successful.
Totally not so (and I can only apologize to coaches everywhere and tell them I’m much better now.)
My whole concept about coaching was built on one gigantic misconception: that a coach’s value is based on the advice they can dispense. It’s true that coaches have experience and expertise in various areas of life — we all do — but that is not what the coach brings to the relationship.
A coach brings value to the relationship by valuing you. They believe in you and your ability to find solutions and take action. They identify and celebrate your strengths with you, and they help you see your weaknesses so you can decide what you want to do with them (which might be nothing). They run alongside you and cheer you on. They collaborate with you to help you get un-stuck. They are a guidepost, a mirror, a cheerleader and (occasionally) a kick in the pants; and in the end, they teach you to be your own guidepost, mirror, cheerleader and butt-kicker.
There are many professionals out there who DO just dispense advice based on their expertise: mentors, advisors, consultants. If you are just looking for a quick answer to a problem, then you may want to seek out one of these folks.
But if you are looking to not just solve a problem but to develop yourself into a stronger problem solver along the way, then I recommend you call a kick-a** coach.