Monday, May 22, 2017

Why Don’t People Want to Be Coached?

The process called life coaching or personal development coaching is gaining traction in many areas--business, education, the not-for-profit sector, and the church.  Those who have experienced being coached attest to its value for their personal and professional growth.  At the same time, there are some who have been given the opportunity to be coached who resist it.  Why is this?

In a blog on Education Week, Peter DeWitt suggested some reasons that educators give for not wanting coaching.  His list stimulated my thinking about some reasons a person may present for not wanting a coach.

1. “I am a professional, so I don’t need a coach.”  Certainly no one puts more time and energy into their work than Olympic athletes, but name one who doesn’t have at least one coach encouraging and supporting that person to do better?  A professional wants to continue developing himself or herself and welcomes someone to come alongside and help.

2. “I have friends and colleagues who help me to do a better job.”  This may be true to certain extent, but friends often play the “nice game” and only give us praise.  Colleagues may not want to be perceived as being critical.  Friends and colleagues also have their own work to complete. A coach is an unbiased professional who can be honest, direct, and dedicated to your success.

3. “Coaches only work with people who have problems.”  Coaches don’t just work with poor performers.  Coaches work with all kinds of people.  Each of us has challenges and areas for potential growth in our lives, and a coach can help us discover them. 

4. “I don’t understand what a coach is supposed to do.”  A professional coach will be glad to explain the coaching process including what the coach does, what the client does, and how this relationship can benefit the client.

5. “The only reason that my (church/business/school system) is providing me with a coach is to make sure that I am doing what they want me to do.”  Sometimes an organization will suggest that a person be coached, but the coach is not a compliance officer.   A professional coach sets clear boundaries and crafts agreements with third party providers to assure that the client will be receive the greatest benefit without undue outside interference.  In reality, most organizations perceive coaching as an investment in the employee’s growth and development.

6. “Nobody in our (church/business/school system) wants a coach.”  Once again, the difficulty may be that no one really understands what a coaching relationship does and how it benefits the client.  This may just be a matter of organizational culture.  If a coach can work with two or three key clients in the organization and others see the positive results, this culture will change.

Once people understand the benefits that come from a coaching relationship, attitudes will change.


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