When shouldn’t you hire a coach?

I’ve been getting a lot of queries for coaching services lately. And as much as I love to coach someone professionally/personally, not everyone makes the cut. I end up refusing more than half of the leads that come through. Why? Because for the most part, the potential clients aren’t ready to get coached!

Here’s the shocker — just because you’re willing to pay the cost doesn’t mean you’re committed or are coachable. There’s a possibility that you’re paying someone to just validate your thoughts, feelings, and point of view. And if that’s the case, coaching, unfortunately, would not help. What you need is some time to yourself to reflect and decide if external help would help you get out of a rut or narrow down on what you really want to do.

I’ve had situations when the client is literally defending their point of view when I ask them about their belief that makes the topic of discussion so important to them. It’s a coach’s responsibility to clarify thinking by challenging, probing and even questioning the client’s beliefs and/or value system. It’s part of the process. It takes a lot of courage on the client’s part to accept reality. Something most of us wouldn’t want to face unless we’re in a crisis or desperately need to improve our situation.

So, when should you hire a coach? Can’t answer that. A coach’s a professional who can help you tackle some of life’s biggest challenges. Irrespective of the journey you’re on right now. An even more important aspect is whether you need a coach. Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t hire a coach:

  1. If you just want to validate your idea and ensure it’s the perfect one to go with. Doesn’t work. You need to be open to question your own beliefs and values that make you hold this “idea” of yours so dear.
  2. Can’t handle feedback. The coach isn’t there to judge you but to point of behaviors and traits that are getting in the way of your growth. No hard feelings there. It’s for your own good.
  3. If money is tight or you’re basically looking for the cheapest (or free) available coach. Trust me when I say this, what you give is what you get in return. And you know that’s not just “coaching karma.” It’s how it is in general. Coaches are professionals. And their time is valuable. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, try to speak to your boss or a parent. But then, you already know what that’s like. Think of a coaching engagement like an investment towards your future. It’ll pay itself over time. It always does.
  4. If your boss or parent force you to get a coach. I honestly believe the best coaching relationship happens when both the coach and the client are focused on the client’s growth. And that’s got to come from the inside. An external stimulus (like your boss telling you to get coaching) doesn’t really work in the long run. Unless, of course, your boss is involved as the key stakeholder to whom the coach would report back (while maintaining confidentiality, of course!).

Keep the four points above in mind next time you’re looking for a coach. The time and effort you’ll save will be immense. Especially for the poor coach who is better off coaching someone else in need.

Bonus: if you’re the kind who gets offended and wants to hire a coach just to spite me. You’re missing the point! 😉