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Do you have analysis paralysis about choosing your coach?

As the Director of Coaching Services at Nebo, I interview leaders and recommend coach matches based on an individual’s specific goals and aspirations.  But when it comes time for a leader to select a coach, leaders will often “disappear.” So, what makes this choice so hard?

Here are five common “stuck points” that occur time and again and some advice on how to get unstuck:

Stuck Point #1:  Time-constrained. You are too busy.  You are excited about working with a leadership coach and the opportunity is really important to you.  But your job is huge.  You can’t quite find time to interview coaches, never mind make a selection.

How to get unstuck: For those of you suffering from a shortage of time, this very issue may be the reason that coaching can really help you.  Notice that you are not prioritizing this important professional development opportunity.  Reach out to me or the person helping with the coach match and let them know that you’d like help shortening the process.  I can offer a clear recommendation and streamline the selection process for you, if needed.  If you are not working with a coach matching professional like me, then my advice is simply to do one interview and, if it feels like a good fit, go with it.  (As long as you are not just going with the first person because of your schedule.)  If it works, don’t second-guess it.

Stuck Point #2:  Perfectionism.  You believe there is a great match out there for you, but maybe you could also choose the wrong one, leading to disaster or the modern equivalent – wasting your time.  Given your high standards, you dedicate yourself to the coach selection process, but, having met a few amazing coaches, you are now confused.  Which one is best for you?

How to get unstuck: For those suffering from trying to be sure you are making the perfect match, the answer is simple:  trust yourself.  We make sure that every coach you meet would be fantastic for you.  You simply can’t go wrong.  However, if someone doesn’t quite click, take note and respect that feeling.  Choose someone else.  Sometimes people get stuck thinking they should choose someone who looks right “on paper” rather than the one with whom they loved talking.  Would you be excited to see that coach’s name in your calendar?  If so, go for it.

Stuck Point #3:  Suspicion.  You’ve been “given” coaching as part of your leadership development plan.  On the one hand, you are looking forward to it and know that you can learn a lot from the process.  On the other, you wonder if there is an ulterior motive.  When faced with the need to choose a coach, your concern about where this is taking you kicks in.

How to get unstuck: For those feeling suspicious, does this have something to do with your employer?  If so, what question would you like to ask your boss in order to clarify the intent of the coaching?  At Nebo, we do not accept assignments where the supervisor would like us to “fix” the leader.  In fact, we go to great lengths to make sure that, even when there is something that needs attention, the intent of the employer is to invest in this talented person, not to use coaching to counsel them out.  If you’ve been presented to us for coaching, we’ve made sure that you are a great candidate for coaching.  We want to coach your potential, not reform you.

Stuck Point #4:  Confusion. What is coaching again?  You get that coaching is a valuable process, but you’re not sure how it is connected to your success.  The coach doesn’t seem to have the same background as you.  How can they actually help you?  How can conversations really change anything?

How to get unstuck: Confused about what coaching is and how it can help you?  Coaching is a partnership.  It is a confidential, intentional dialogue between a leader and a trained, qualified leadership coach.  Your goals and objectives are the objectives for the process.  Your coach will help you see the same old thing differently.  Your coach is a master of the coaching process and does not need to be an expert at your area of expertise.  A great coach can coach a rocket scientist or a rock star.  The coaching process is well known to your coach, so you can trust that she will guide you and help you derive the most value possible from the experience.

Stuck Point #5:  Fear of the unknown. Maybe you find yourself thinking things like: Where is this coaching really taking me?  What if I want to leave my job?  What if it forces me to address the difficult questions that I’ve been trying not to answer?  Maybe it’s better to keep my head in the sand.

How to get unstuck: If you are a little nervous about where coaching will take you, remember that coaching will only uncover what is already there.  You always have a choice.  Often, we find that leaders believe that, if they are allowed time and space for reflection, they’ll be forced to look in the mirror and not like what they see.  Or want to quit and join the circus.  But rather than avoiding the hard questions or seeing your situation in either/or terms, you were able to explore those questions and even discover how your current opportunity is a springboard to an exciting future.

If you are feeling any of these concerns, rest assured that you aren’t alone, and don’t let it stop you.  Coaching is a highly supportive, confidential conversation designed to help you achieve what is most important to you.  Leadership coaching in particular takes a holistic approach, meaning that your life questions and career questions both belong in this conversation.

Most of all, don’t overthink it.  Even the most accomplished leaders benefit from the opportunity to speak frankly with someone skilled in listening, asking powerful questions and helping find a path forward.  Why not you?


(Photo: Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash)

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