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I Hate My Coach

August 21st, 2007

I don't really hate my coach :)I’ve been really big on coaches since I really started to learn about them last year. As a job seeker we were told to “get a coach, not your spouse!” It was during the time when I was just figuring out the job search and career management thing, and as I learned more about coaches I kind of came up with my own thing – you can read the three things that a coach must have in order to really be effective here.

I partner with coaches, which is really quite fun. I’m not sure if it’s their personality, or that they are just “in the zone,” but usually when we are on the phone talking about their business and JibberJobber they’ll start coaching me. This happens about 30 minutes into the call and I’m not sure if they realize they do it, but it really is interesting to have these impromptu coaching sessions.
I announced that I had engaged in a coaching relationship about a month ago. And today I want to give an update:

  • I do not look forward to my coaching sessions.
  • We have weekly sessions. I have not had a week off since we started.
  • I have homework.
  • I’m supposed to recap our sessions… AND write an e-mail before our session recapping my week.
  • He asks really simple questions that, deep down inside, I already know the answer to.
  • He asks some questions that I know I should be asking myself but have been purposefully ignoring.
  • He tries really hard to not give me the answers, rather, pulls them out of me in a sometimes painful dialog.
  • While our discussions are generally low-key, I know that I’m not going to “get away” with anything.

Our coaching relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. I have immense respect for him as a leader and manager. He trusts that I’m being honest with him.

Probably more important, he trusts that I’m being honest with myself.

Has it been beneficial? No doubt.

Is it fun? …. it’s rewarding, but it’s a growth process, so it’s more painful than fun.

Do we go over common-sense stuff? Yes… I have a business degree, an MBA, and years of management and strategic experience. But I find myself not being able to see the trees through the forest (or however that goes). So I need to be grounded regularly.

What’s the most beneficial thing I get out of our coaching relationship? I can’t decide between (a) having a smarter, wiser person to help me solve current problems with or (b) the regular accountability (I’m not one that “needs” accountability, but this takes it to another level).

Do I really hate my coach? No, of course not. But this is something that makes me grow, and growing is hard an uncomfortable. I’m fortunate to have a coach that is helping me through, even pushing me through this period in my life and business.

Who is my coach? I’m going to “out” him this week – stay tuned.

Are you a coach? Did you know your clients go through this? Have you had a coach? Does this ring true?

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15 Responses to “I Hate My Coach”

  1. Chuck says:

    Do you think it could be a more pleasant experience and still remain as effective?

  2. Karin H. says:

    Coach = asking d=those questions you know will (re)focus you on what you’re doing, what you’re trying to establish, keeping you on the ‘straight and narrow’ of your unique path of growth (be it personal or business wise).

    Great coaches ask great questions. (And I’m very, very fortunate to know two great ones – Jason, you know at least one of them well – , both ‘urging’ me on to keep questioning my answers ;-) )

    Couldn’t/wouldn’t ‘live’ without them

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  3. Cool, I am looking forward to this. I recently started working with multiple coaches as well and find them all extremely useful.

  4. Tige says:

    Thanks for the great post, Jason. I haven’t been able to get into the coach thing yet. I suspect I haven’t made it a priority because of the same things you mentioned… not wanting to answer those really difficult questions. Thanks for the nudge and perspective!

  5. Beth says:

    My coach can be very straight forward, which sometimes doesn’t feel the best. In the long run, it is helpful because it pushes me to work harder. I have one coach, but we work on only one aspect of my life. I think having different coaches can help in different ways. I am looking for another one, so if you are a coach, let me know.

  6. Darlene says:

    I have 5 ladies that I coach and I ask lots of questions and most of them hate that. They would prefer me to answer the questions or give them the answer. But I have found that when giving them the space and time to process, they the journey to the answer allows them to own the outcome for the issues, challenges, successes they have in their life. I am a firm believer that the answers to most questions lie within us.

    And to Chuck, growth is painful, no matter who you are or what age. Another awesome, “raw” post Jason! I can feel what you are going through, through the words you wrote in the post. (Hopefully, that makes some sense).

  7. Deb Dib says:

    Hey Jason, great description of a healthy and useful coaching relationship. The work, introspection, and commitment to momentum are the reasons that many people balk about coaching. You have to be ready for it — and ready to commit to the process — as you’ve experienced.

    No matter how educated, experienced, smart, and savvy we are, we can all benefit from good coaching. One of the huge benefits of coaching is clarity — but clarity that organically arises from within us, with the gentle (sometimes tough) guidance of a good coach. That authentic clarity becomes the foundation of our goals — and since it is US, not something laid upon us, that clarity is a driver of action and momentum, keeping us going, even through the tough patches, and helping make tough decisions less tough.

    Personally, my business and life are FAR more enjoyable and fulfilling since working with my coach (and I’m a coach myself!). I spend thousands a year with her — and reap FAR more!

    Deb Dib, the CEO coach

  8. Jason Alba says:

    all – thanks for your comments and input! It’s kind of cool to learn of others that are in the same boat as I am, whether we’re just starting out or veterans and successful like Deb Dib. I seem to remember Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods having their own coaches, right?

    Chuck, you have a very interesting question.

    I don’t really hate my coach, I just figured that would be an excellent title :)

    BUT, the process is not a cake-walk. It’s not because he annoying, unprofesssional or crosses any lines. And I’m sure I could make it a lot easier if I just… lied. If I were dishonest with him or myself it would be pleasant. But I’m not here for pleasant, I want results. And facing certain truths, responsibilites, etc., coupled with personal growth, is sometimes painful.

    At the same time it’s quite exciting. Some rewards that we are shooting for are monetary, but it is stimulating to have a coach that seems like a partner, helping work through various challenges, making sure I have the right priorities, etc.

    Could it be less painful? Probably. But I’m guessing when it gets easy is when I won’t need a coach anymore.

    Now, I’m not saying all coaching experiences should not be pleasant or free of pain… but for me, right now, this is appropriate.

  9. My, my, Jason your countertransference is showing! It sounds like you & your coach, especially you, are the teenager being pushed by a parent.

    When I am career coaching, and I believe this is true for yours, I enter into a PARTNERSHIP in looking for change and success.

    Who has said that a career coaching session/s can’t be fun & done with two equals. Just go do it!

    (I know you don’t hate your coach, you “hate” being responsible & having to work at the process) Cheers, mjt

  10. Krystyna says:

    To be successful, we need coach. Nowbody is perfect, myself included. But take good advice, feedback is very beneficial in our life. Even I’m excited about something, but not sure, I like take opinion from others. One more thing, I take every opinion from people who accept me, as I do too.

  11. Living life – really living it – is not only about savoring the good stuff, but also about facing issues and problems that are limiting us. Logically speaking it makes sense to tackle those issues, deal with them, and grow. However, emotionally it is tough precisely because it forces us out of our comfort zone (otherwise known in the HVAC industry as the “dead zone”).

    So, having a guide / partner / provocateur to jumpstart deep insights, expose real (and perceived) obstacles, and expect accountability for action is like a love/hate relationship…we love the results we are getting and the excitement of new-found strengths and possibilities, but hate the often pain-filled process. In that regard you are no different than many other coaching clients, so just hang in there.

    But there are 2 other major factors involved: personal courage and commitment. You clearly have those attributes; not everyone does, which is why coaching doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Of course, there are ineffective (“bad”) coaches too, but that’s another story…

  12. Pete Aldin says:

    Sounds like your coach is very good at his job. As a coach too, I actually don’t think we hold the client accountable, though it may seem that way. Inevitably the person being coached holds themselves accountable and begins to coach themselves.

    I say HUZZAH to you for engaging with this painful process and reaping the rewards!

  13. Kudos to you for sticking with it! I have been a cringing client in the past for many of the same reasons you express, and I know that some of my own clients find the process uncomfortable at times.

    I agree with Susan’s comments – your courage and commitment will support you on the journey. Reflecting on the benefits will help you maintain the courage and commitment.

    Some clients find it helpful to take breaks from coaching every once in a while and then return to it later. It’s about staying tuned in to what you’re wanting and needing and being honest.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. [...] As promised in an earlier post this week (I Hate My Coach) I’m going to out my coach today. I can’t really do a drum roll because the picture gives it away. [...]

  15. Bill Dueease says:

    Being coached is a very unique and rewarding experience. Thank you for sharing your perspective. We have found that being coached and growing through coaching does not have to be painful. The pain only comes from how you as a client react to the realization of the new truths you discover through coaching.

    I personally was thrilled to discover the truths about me (the trees) that had been escaping me fro so many years. Yes, I might have thought it painful to learn I had been deceiving myself for 13 years and was not smart enough to see it. But I choose to applaud the fact that I was freed from my own restraining limits. The more I discovered about myself through coaching the more I felt relief and freedom. I couldn’t get enough.

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