what is a “coach”?

I’ve had a few conversations with “coaches” over the last few months as I’ve talked with them about JibberJobber.  I’ve never really talked with one before, and only had assumptions about what they do.  And I thought that needing a coach would be some sign of weakness :)  No offense to coaches, or the clients, I doubt I’m the only one to have this thought.

Anyway, as I’ve talked to them I realize that not all coaches are the same.  And most of them will even tell you that.  But I have learned some stuff about coaching that I get to share here because… well, this is my blog!

And, I’ll refer to a coach as “he/his” with the understanding that many coaches that are talked with are women.

Each coaches has his own “flavor” based on his background, experiences and passions.  Most coaches have some kind of training or accreditation, and subscribe to some kind of proven methodology.  But the coaching service will come from a human being, and with that you will definitely get a feel for who they are.  It may be just what you need, or not at all what you need.

Coaches have a way to see through the crap.  When I talk with them about JibberJobber, and how they would use it with their clients, each of them shares their feelings about meeting with a client and getting fed a line of BS – and they coach knows it!  So if you get a coach, be honest with them – otherwise you will be wasting a lot of money and fooling no one.

Not all coaches are about quantifiable accountability (I had to write something that sounded sophisticated).  This surprised me but I’ve had some coaches say that the type of data in JibberJobber isn’t what they care about – that is more along the lines of what a career counselor would care about.  The coach deals with higher-level issues.  That is what two or three coach told me… but many others do want the data because…….

Coaches should hold your feet to the fire. That is my personal opinion – but I realize that some people take advantage of a coach to help them re-evaluate their lives – and this is a lot more on the soft side than then data side.  But if you know a direction, one of the huge roles a coach might play is something like an “accountability cop”.

Coaches have specialties.  Many coaches have done life planning but not career coaching.  You need to know what your coach specializes in, and what experience they have in what you think you need.

I strongly believe that a coach will help you through a job transition better than doing it on your own.  Most people need someone that they are accountable to, especially when you are unemployed and no one really expects anything out of you.  Coaches can help you think through issues, in a way that close family or friends might not be able to.  They can help make sure that you are on the right track, and stay on the right track.  They provide a consistency that you won’t get through a “friend” who will be distracted from their own personal issues and not always ready to spend some intense time with you.

So the question is, how do you find the coach?  What happens if the coach you choose isn’t what you thought, expected, or need?  more on that later 🙂

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