I turn to my friends when I need support, so why would I need a coach?

Good friends are important, if not, vital.

Most of us have different friends for different things – friends that you go to when you need to talk, friends who give the best advice, friends you have lots of laughs with, friends who encourage you to take a risk, friends that give you the kick up the a*** when you need it! If we’re very lucky, there is a friend who covers all these things. 

So if you want help to achieve some changes to your work or personal life, why would you turn to a coach? 

When you share something with a friend, they have a tendency to respond in one or more of the following ways: 

    • Share their own similar stories with you.  
      “Oh, I feel the same about my job. Just last week I….”. 
      So now it’s not just about you, it’s about them as well.
    • Compare your situation to others.
      “Well at least you have a job, there are so many people out there looking right now”.
      The well intentioned “At least you…” comment can leave you feeling your emotions are not valid.

    • Offer advice. 
      “Why don’t you try this? Have you tried that? Just get on with it!” 
      Everyone is different and what might seem obvious and the best way forward to them, might not be right for you.

    • Join you in a mutual moaning session. 
      “That’s awful, I can’t believe your boss asked you to take on yet more work , what a *****!”
      This makes you feel better short term and is an important part of your friendship, but it doesn’t move the issue forward.

    • Listen intently, hug, offer kind words of support. 
      Again, this is really important to help you in the moment, but is not going to directly help you to make any changes you need.

Friends are inherently non-objective. They want to make you feel better. They feel uncomfortable seeing you upset. They want to help you get things sorted out as quickly as possible. This can lead them, with the best of intentions, to: make suggestions or push you into things; compare your experience with their own or others; or downplay the severity of your situation or emotions. These ‘helpful’ interventions can often lead to feelings of not being truly heard or understood.

So how is a coach different? 

    • A coach is there for you and you only. They will listen intently, without judgement, and keep the focus on your needs. 
    • They will ask questions that help you think differently and enable you to identify the right way forward for you.
    • They will challenge you to move out of your comfort zone and take actions that help you to achieve your goals.
    • They will support and encourage you to ensure you stay on track, helping you to reflect on your journey and make adjustments along the way. 

We all need good friends. But sometimes we also need a good coach.

Copyright © 2022 Heather Wright