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What Is Coaching?



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How To Answer The Question "What Is Coaching?"

It’s funny how difficult it can be to explain what coaching is. I think it’s because it’s still a relatively new field and many people have heard the word “coach” or “life coach” but have no idea what that means. They equate the word coach with a sports coach, but a life, wellness, executive or leadership coach plays a very different role, hence the confusion. Here’s an example of a conversation that many coaches have had. I’m curious, have you ever experienced something like this too?



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You’re at an event having a conversation when you find yourself telling them how excited you are about your coaching business and they ask “So……what exactly is coaching?”. In response, you find yourself fumbling and mumbling as you try to find an explanation that makes sense to someone who has never been coached before. Maybe your response sounds something like this.  “Ummm, uh yeah, well coaching is great… ummm ….we talk, and I ask you questions and and and eventually, your life becomes sooo much more fulfilling and you experience an awesome transformation. You have to try it to understand.”

At the same time, you’re thinking to yourself, “Holy crap! I’m an intelligent person and a well-trained coach. Why can’t I get my foot out of my mouth? I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

My stomach feels tight even as I write, because, yes, I used to have this challenge too, and since I didn’t have a great way to explain coaching I found I often stayed quiet and censored myself. I will tell you right now not speaking about your business is a terrible approach and it’s guaranteed to put the brakes on your business growth.


I recently did a Facebook Live. You can watch and listen as I explain one of my favourite stories to demonstrate what coaching is and how it compares with therapy and consulting. 


I learned this explanation a few years ago when I was starting out. It was freely shared with me and I want to share it with you too. If you like, make it yours.

We’ll use the example of someone who wants to learn how to ride a bike.

If you go to a therapist to learn how to ride a bike.

You could find yourself sitting in a chair looking at the bike with your therapist. You might speak about all the times you tried to ride in the past and how it never worked. You would be upset as you remember repeatedly falling off the bike and skinning your knees. It was embarrassing and painful. People would laugh at you and tease you and eventually you gave up.

Now you avoid bikes all the time. In fact, you turn around and walk away when you see a bike. You would talk about those feelings. You would speak about the dysfunction of the situation and the therapist would help you using their many skills and expertise.

Through examining the past, they would encourage and support you in your healing journey.

If instead, you went to a consultant to learn how to ride a bike.

The consultant would interview you. They might ask how you want to ride, where you want to go (trails or city riding), and why you want to ride (for exercise or commuting).

Then they would take the bike away and analyze. They might take it apart and examine every aspect. They would return and present a comprehensive report that shows you all the specifications needed to ride the bike optimally.

The report will tell you what speed you need to be going to change gears. The gear should you be in when riding up a hill. The safety equipment you need for the activity. The preparations you need to make. How best to dress for riding based on rain, sun or wind.

It would be an incredibly detailed report written based on their expertise and research.

Now, let’s see what would happen if you engaged a coach to help you learn to ride a bike?

The coach may begin by finding out more about your goal. What is it about riding that excites you?  They will help you get more in touch (and motivated) to start and persevere.

Then you will stand side by side with your coach at the bike. You are the one holding the bike and eventually sitting on the seat. With the coach’s encouragement, you learn to push forward and try it out. They will reassure you and ask you some questions. “How is it going? How are you feeling? What feels good and what is challenging?” At the end of the session you will have chosen some actions to practice. These actions are ones that you feel most enthusiastic about. So you feel pretty solid in them.

During your next coaching session, the coach wants to know. “So how did it go? What was good, what wasn’t, and what did you learn?”

Soon you find yourself back on the bike, it’s time for more practice. You are determined to learn this and with your coach cheering you on as you wobble and eventually get up to speed and proudly ride off.

If you’ve always wanted to become a coach, or you are already well on your way and would like to find out more about how to have started your successful coaching business I’ve created a special free PDF with you in mind.

It’s called The Ultimate Guide: How To Become A Professional Coach. Click to grab your download your copy now >>>  Download Here



If you've always been curious about what it takes to become a successful life coach I've got something for you!!!

I created this free report: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming A Professional Coach. 

>>> Download Your Copy Here <<<

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