Why Can’t I Coach Myself?: Self-Coaching vs. Individual Coaching
Why Coaching is More Effective Than Self-Improvement Books and Even Training Programs and Seminars
If you’ve gotten this far, you know, searched the web and arrived at our site, you’re probably not completely against the notion that you can be personally supported by a personal coach, lifestyle, or business coach. But you might still wonder: “Hey, instead of getting individual coaching, why can’t I apply a lot of the same techniques of change coaching that you do, to myself?”
Good question. The answer is, you can, much of the time. At Feroce, we have great faith in individuality. Some of us have even self-“coached” ourselves, in certain areas or at certain times in our lives. But in general, money spent on motivational seminars, training programs, self-help books, and business books is not money well-spent. And change without support and accountability simply takes much longer.
As Dave Buck, the CEO of Coachville, puts it, “How many times have you attended a training program and left with BIG ideas and insights that were going to change your world, only to find that three weeks later nothing has changed? You would have the same long term impact on your life by going to a good play or a movie.”
Individual Coaching Brings Learning to Life
Buck goes on: “Imagine instead the trainer that is also a certified coach. Rather than train and dash, he is qualified to stay involved in your life to support the implementation and integration of what you have learned. He can understand the details of your personal situation as well as your strengths and weaknesses and create a personalized approach that really works.
“Imagine the manager who is a certified coach. After she sends you off to the training program she coaches you day by day to put the best of what you learned into practice. When you get frustrated and fall back on old habits, she can get to the source of the problem by expanding your awareness of feeling and limiting thoughts. Then she helps you redesign your environments so that your new way of working is sustainable.”
This is precisely why many thought leaders are adding individual life coaching or executive coaching to training and self-improvement programs for their employees.
Individual Coaching Sees More Clearly
Most of the time, you will also not have the objectivity and perspective required to see yourself clearly — as clearly as someone can see you from the outside. In a moment, we’ll explain why the power of commitment between two people is another reason coaching is so much more effective.
How do we see things that clients — and their friends and family — cannot? You could read our Testimonials (success stories) and the turning points clients reached in recent coaching conversations for one answer. You could read about Why Coaching Works for some more.
Or you could ask yourself a question: for what your individual or business goals are today, how well have you coached yourself thus far? What do you do to effect change in your life? Is it formal and rigorous? How are you held accountable? Have you had any breakthroughs, and if so, how long did they take?
The Limitations of Self-Help Books
For example, try this exercise: how many of the following types of books have you purchased: self-help, how-to business, counseling, career planning, leadership, management, spirituality, personal growth and development, health, wealth-acquisition? Take a stab at it; write down your estimate.
Okay, and of those, how many have you (1) read in their entirety (2) taken notes on (3) read more than once (4) done the exercises in (5) and applied the exercises and advice to your life in a meaningful way? How many of the take-aways from these books has made it into your daily planner or calendar?
If you got to number 5 at all, it’s unlikely you identified more than one book. Books are priceless indeed, but books about advice suffer from the same ailment that a book about how to play football would suffer from: while you’re reading a book, no one insists on your progress, you can make excuses and procrastinate, and sooner or later you can just quit without having gotten anywhere. Because books (from $12.95 to $35 individually) don’t have built-in accountability, follow-up, reminders, exhortation, assignments and goals, or the force of two human wills, they often do little more than take a dozen hours to read and only a day or two to forget forever.
Books have been around forever. They are an integral part of self-understanding, and even preparing the ground for change. (Just look at our Recommended Books.) But remember, elite achievers have always used trainers, advisors, and coaches under some name or another. It’s also possible to learn a language by yourself, but if you’ve ever tried it, you probably have some idea how challenging it would be to do something even more difficult, like bringing to yourself all the benefits of coaching without the aid of another.
The Power of Commitment to Create Change
So why does the power of commitment make such a big difference? The commitment between coaches draws its power from the same social contract of which Rousseau spoke; from the public promise that gives marriage its greater strength and longevity; from the same sense of duty and follow-through that makes us show up in the morning to meet our personal fitness trainers; and even from the informal “promises” we implicitly make when we tell another person about our New Year’s resolutions. To speak is to bind, and the client of life or career coaching is someone ready for the life stage of accepting discipline and commitment in his or her best interests.
Wondering what to talk about with your coach? Read Change Coaching, or What to Talk About When You Talk to Your Coach.
Related Individual Coaching Articles:
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What Does a Good Coach Do? The Life and Mind Coach
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