There’s nothing soft about coaching.

Getting out of your comfort zone

Coaching is often referred to as a ‘soft skill’. But coaching is hard work, both for the coach and for the coachee.

A coach has to be able to quickly gain the trust of the coachee before he or she is willing to open up to share their fears, anxieties or challenges. A coach has to be a world champion in giving constructive feedback. He or she has to share their observations freely and without reservations.

A coach who is afraid that the coachee might not like him anymore, or leaves their office disappointed about the value of the coaching sessions, will never be an effective and professional coach. It’s all about the coachee, not about the coach.

For a coachee it might seem that having some conversations with a coach doesn’t all together seem that difficult. But opening up to a stranger, sharing your weaknesses, challenges or fears is not easy.

It means that you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and start doing something you have never done before.

Facing your Demons

Once you have recognized and accepted the areas you would like to develop, it’s time to face your demons.

Together with your coach you will start exploring new behaviors, new ways of doings things. Maybe it has to do with becoming more assertive, or a better communicator.

Maybe you would like to improve your leadership skills or finally tell your colleagues what you really think of them. Sounds really great doesn’t it?

But then you start thinking about the consequences. How will people react? What will they say? What if they don’t take me seriously and start laughing in my face? What if they won’t acknowledge or appreciate the efforts I’m making to change my behavior? What if everything gets worse?

Moving mountains 

Well, that’s where the coach enters the scene…again. When you have figured out what exactly you would like to work on, which challenges you are determined to face, your coach is there to support you while you enter the stretched zone.

A coach knows exactly what it’s like when you start exploring unfamiliar territory. A coach will not only support you but also hold you accountable for your actions. A coach will challenge you even further. Not because the coach wants to, but because you want to. Together with the coach you can move mountains.

Reaching the Top

It’s really hard work when you’re reaching for the top. Results don’t come easy, you have to work for it. Other than with therapy or training, coaching is all about action, about doing things that will help you move forward. Without you (the coachee) taking action and getting your but into gear, no coaching has taken place, just nice conversations at the most.

For coaching to be effective, the coachee has to be determined to change. And the change will be structural; there is no way back. And although feelings are a topic during coaching sessions, at the end of the day it’s about accomplishing something you didn’t think was possible.

And that’s hard work!

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