The word coaching gets a lot of rolling eyeballs. And yawns. At network meetings people politely don’t sigh. “A coach? How interesting. I just met 5 other coaches.” The term coaching is used so broadly that you probably can get clip your toenails coaching these days. Yet, I’m proud to be a coach.
I think I was in secondary school when I first read about coaching. I was totally impressed with what I read. And I hoped that one day, when I grew up, I would work in a company that would let me be coached. It seemed a great way to learn, to grow, to change your life. The people who talked about it had become happier and wiser. And the company paid for them. Coaching was for CEO’s and high potential people back then, not for normal human beings like me.*
Nowadays, you can call anything coaching. I think I saw bike coaching somewhere. It meant that people helped you park your bike. I would Google for more examples, but I dread it. It’s too discouraging. In the Netherlands there are about 45.000 coaches on a population of 17 odd million people. World wide, there are probably millions of coaches. Which could be a great thing, if only all of these coaches delivered great quality.
Why not call yourself a coach? I’ve seen people encouraging each other: “You can call it coaching, you need no formal training or license”. I got very moody when I read that. I’m not saying one cannot be a good coach without formal training. Some people are born coaches, otheres develop coaching skills in another line of work. But indeed, good coaching requires both talent and skills. And knowing what the heck you think you’re doing.
Why call yourself a coach? The backlash is that some coaches go out of their way not to call themselves coach anymore. They are enablers or best friends or magicians or whatnot, according to their websites. I found some coaches dissing the word coach, trying not to be associated with it. They are even spreading the negative image. I found that shocking.
I get it. I get the rolled eyeballs, I get the coaches who try to avoid the word, and I get the people who sigh and think ‘please, not another coach’. I get it, but I don’t agree. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
“I’m a coach. And I’m proud of it”
Coaching has helped me change my life. Several times already, and always for the best. It has helped me through struggles when I couldn’t find a way to help myself. It has made me a nicer human being (really, I am a lot nicer when I have less stress). Coaching also helped me find new ways to do things and new paths to walk – the kind of paths and ways that really suit me.
I know I’m not the only one. There’s scientific research that proves it happens.** A lot. In my own work, I’ve witnessed clients get a better relationship with their loved ones. Finding their way when they were lost. Becoming assertive and daring to take a stand. And lots more. People changed their lives. They liked themselves more. And they improved their relationships. Or they opened an Etsy shop ;)***
So yes, I’m proud to be a coach. Nobody will take that from me. And yes, I am formally trained and certified. I would have been an okay coach without it. Now I’m an effective, fast and creative coach that creates great results and lasting effects.
* I never became a CEO, but I ended up being coached after all. When I was burnout, the organisation I worked for paid for coaching to help me get back on track. I suspect that coaching could even have saved me from getting ill. I’m not complaining though. The burnout period has been a great, positive influence on my work.
** If you think people are biased because they paid for coaching, check out these reviews of free coaching done in flashmobs. It’s an inspiring page!
*** One day after I wrote this post, I saw a blog written by a client. She shared what my work has meant to her. One thing was opening her Etsy shop. A dream she had procrastinated on…