The "Coachable" Client: Is that you?

Are you wondering whether to find a life coach or therapist? All the options are confusing -- I get it! Here are some reasons why life coaching may be the right choice for you. For starters, no digging around in the dense, murky waters of the past for a better understanding of why you do what you do (coaches rarely talk about how mom didn't mirror you, or dad was distant and unavailable).  Psychotherapy works well, for many problems -- it just may not be your thing and it's definitely not the right choice for everyone! A coach will never ask you to explore this or that, but will ask you evocative questions that help you find your own answers, even uncover your brilliance! Recent issues of Money Magazine, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal urges professionals to utilize the services of a personal coach. Why?  Star athletes have successfully used coaches to increase their focus and to provide the much needed structure, support and accountability to prepare them for competitions. Entrepreneurs, senior executives and political figures have effectively utilized coaching to achieve measurable leaps in productivity, satisfaction, wealth and happiness. Organizations and individuals who hire coaches are often interested in enhancing performance in the workplace. So, who benefits from coaching, and are you coachable

Personal coaching is a useful process that empowers individuals to move forward and make real progress in their life and relationships.  One reason that coaching is so effective with the right client is because clients in a coaching relationship are asked to take full responsibility and accountability for their lives. The coaching client must themselves, take the necessary steps and do the work needed to create change. An expertly trained life coach is one that guides the client without having their own agenda. So what are some things you need to know about making changes in your life and the coaching process?

  • Coaching is very much a client-centered process -- it's all about you
  • You will be guided to discover that you have all the answers and solutions
  • Life coaches listen deeply and focus on the client’s desires and goals
  • Clients should feel supported by the coach who is fully present and without judgment
  • Coaching experts are trained to ask very powerful, targeted questions to help the client gain new perspectives, greater awareness and a clearer understanding of what is keeping the client "stuck"
  • Coaching uses a process of inquiry and personal discovery to build the client’s level of awareness and responsibility
  • You will get lots of structure, support and feedback
  • Great coaches are able to empower the client to access his or her unique strengths using the best tools that will help the client create and sustain lasting change
  • You will know when the life coaching process is working because you will be able to do the work and get results -- sometimes spectacular ones

The major difference between therapy, consulting, mentoring and masterful coaching is simple. The coach does not have answers, and is notthe expert. You are! A coach operates from the position that the client already has the brilliance, including the ability to discover and utilize resources.  The client is always the expert. To return to the issue of who can be successfully coached, and who can not. The "coachable" clients are those individuals who are moderate to high-functioning and free enough from psychological distress and conflicts to allow for progress, growth and success to occur. If you find that once you are deep within the coaching process and you bump up against conflicts, resistance, or to borrow from coaching speak, the voice of your "inner self-saboteur" -- and it seems to have a tenacious grip on you -- coaches are usually trained to see the problem and intervene. When I coach clients, and if they are open to this, I love to integrate EMDR into sessions. Coaching and EMDR is a powerful combined technique to work through and clear self-limiting thoughts and obstacles that may be interfering with the coaching progress. Take the test below to find out if coaching is right for you. If you're really not sure, please email me, and we can figure it out together!

Answer the following questions: (Note: The Coachability Index was developed by Thomas Leonard) Less True/More True 1   2   3   4   5

  1. I can be relied upon to be on time for all calls and appointments.  1     2     3     4     5
  2. This is the right time for me to accept coaching.  1     2     3     4     5
  3. I am fully willing to do the work and let the coach do the coaching.  1     2     3     4     5
  4. I keep my work without struggling or sabotaging.  1     2     3     4     5
  5. I'll give the coach the benefit of the doubt and "try on" new concepts or different ways of doing things.  1     2     3     4     5
  6. I will speak straight (tell the whole truth) to the coach.  1     2     3     4     5
  7. If I feel that I am not getting what I need or expect from the coach, I will share this as soon as I sense it and demand that I get what I want and need from the relationship.  1     2     3     4     5
  8. I am willing to stop or change the self- defeating behaviors which limit my success.  1     2     3     4     5
  9. I have adequate funds to pay for coaching and will not regret or suffer about the fee. I see coaching as a worthwhile investment in my life.  1     2     3     4     5
  10. I am someone who can share the credit for my success with the coach.  1     2     3     4     5

Total Score (add up the numbers) Scoring Key: 10 - 20 Not coachable right now    21 - 30 Coachable, but make sure ground rules are honored!    31 - 40 Coachable    41 - 50 Very coachable; ask the coach to demand a lot from you!

A psychotherapist or therapist, you choose the term, can also help a client move forward with goal oriented or solution-focused therapy.  Both professions have their place, and one is not superior to the other. To learn more about EMDR therapy follow this link.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Therapist + Coach with a private practice in Manhattan.