“COACHING IS EASIER IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED …”
At least, so it would appear to some.
Coaching is seen as one of the “easy” careers by many … adding it to a list which includes teaching, counseling, and consulting. I find it morbidly interesting that so many jobs I have done fall into this category.
For several reasons, people in general often perceive these helping professions as ones that are simple and easy to do, hardly requiring any work or preparation at all.
After all, look at how people who are really good at these jobs act … like it is no big deal to help a person or an organization change, learn, or heal. When you really know how to do what you do, it does look easy.
During my therapist period, a good friend once said to me “Well, all you do is sit around and talk to people. That’s not very hard to do.”
I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has ever said to me, especially about being a counselor or a coach, something like “I‘ve been doing that all my life and I’ve never needed any training”. Usually said right after I mention the rigors of completing a degree program, certification course, or licensure process, this admission only tells me that the person has little or no understanding of the change process.
Off the top of my head, here are some reasons why this might be:
EFFECTIVE CHANGE IS OFTEN AN INVISIBLE PROCESS …
Change is partly behavior, which is visible, but more so emotional and cognitive, which are less visible and more open to misinterpretation by others. If you stop smoking, you are visibly not smoking, although you might be visibly more “edgy” or “tense“.
Emotions can be reflected physically, as when body parts quiver during times of high stress or we perspire more than normal. However, we cannot truly know the emotion that another is experiencing.
Cognitive changes are displayed directly by our words and indirectly by our behaviors. Words and behavior can be congruent or not congruent, and identifying which is occurring is key for any effective change process.
We cannot know how another person is changing, unless we know what to look for and how to evaluate what we see or hear …
LAYPEOPLE DO NOT ALWAYS APPRECIATE THE ENERGY REQUIRED TO “JUST TALK” …
Talking is something everyone does, more or less, on a regular basis. Since most of us talk every day, we tend to see talking as “no big deal“, something that does not require special preparation or focus.
If we think that chatting with someone provides therapeutic outcomes, we are half-right. Sometimes a person derives great value on one level from simply talking with another person. This is why we encourage people to visit the ill or lonely and reach out to others.
However, chatting is not change …
LACK OF AWARENESS ABOUT WHAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING …
Here’s where it gets interesting. A client may leave a meeting sounding positive and looking confident, without having created either a plan for change or commitment to that change.
A relatively long discussion can represent empty minutes without any valuable content or progress, while a short interchange might mean significant shifts are occurring. A trained person, be they a teacher, counselor, coach, or consultant, has been educated to sense deeper levels than the superficial.
If a coaching sessions looks simple, it could be either a master coach doing what they do apparently effortlessly OR a couple of people just passing time while talking.
So, in one obvious way, coaching without being trained IS easier … but not particularly effective or professional.
By the way, have you ever baked a pie? Ain’t all that easy to do:)
Unexplainably feeling rather hungry for something sweet in the Heartland ….