Why has there been such a dramatic growth in the number of life coaches for individuals and executive coaches for business managers and executives?

bigstock-Difference-man-and-woman-092413I think we can agree that people who hire a coach are looking to improve their state of affairs; in other words, they want to change their behavior or change their circumstances.  People hiring life coaches want help in achieving their life goals, improving their relationships, dealing with others more effectively, making more money, etc.  Businesspeople hiring executive coaches either want to overcome some problem behavior, such as not taking action due to a fear of making mistakes or the inability to delegate, or to improve their ability to do something, such as build and manage a team.

The real question is: what makes a coach better able to do this than the person being coached?  Why can’t you do this on your own?

It is unlikely that most coaches are much smarter than most of their clients.  In some situations the coach has specialized knowledge to impart and sometimes the main value of a coach is to remind the client of his commitment to take some action.  But this doesn’t explain the value that coaches are providing their clients.  The question still remains: Why are so many people hiring and getting real value from coaches?

What coaches offer we cannot do ourselves

I suggest that the real value of a good coach is her mindset or worldview.  A coach can look at a situation and literally see possibilities that the client cannot see.  And what enables the coach to do that?  Her beliefs about the world are different from the client’s beliefs.

As I pointed out in my recent blog post about Steve Jobs and the following week’s post on how our assumptions about the world severely limit our possibilities, not everyone sees the same world.  And coaches usually don’t see the same world we see.

Each of us might deal with the same physical world, but each of us interacts daily with a world of our own making, a world that is a function of our beliefs.  Some people deal with a world in which they are powerless, in which people can’t be trusted, in which they will never get what they want, in which life is difficult, and in which “obstacles” keep you from getting what you want. This is not airy-fairy stuff.  This is real.  In some people’s reality, this is the way the world really is, so all your choices and possibilities are affected by “your” world.

Other people deal with a world in which they experience the power to make things happen, in which people can be trusted and in which people are supportive, in which people can and do get what they want, in which life is open and friendly, and in which “obstacles” are only challenges to be overcome.  For such people, this also is very real.  This is the way they experience the world and that experience determines their choices.

Different worldviews contain different possibilities

Take a moment and make this real.  We are not merely taking about people having different beliefs.  We are taking about different people inhabiting very different worlds.

And in some worldviews there are many more possibilities than in others.  And if a coach inhabits a world with far more possibilities and far fewer barriers, that coach will be able to point out those possibilities that you couldn’t possibly see.

The problem is that the possibilities the coach can see are impossible in your world.  So ultimately the most important thing coach can do is not merely point out opportunities you can’t see because of your different worldview, but help you change your own worldview.

And because your worldview is a function of your beliefs, changing your worldview requires eliminating your limiting beliefs.  When you do that, possibilities that literally didn’t exist for you suddenly because available.

And I’m not just talking about self-esteem type beliefs, I’m talking about beliefs that consist of assumptions about what can and can’t be done in the world.  If you believe, as Corning Glass’ CEO, Wendell Weeks did, that “We don’t have the capacity,” to make all the gorilla glass Steve Jobs wanted, you would turn down a very profitable order for your company.  If you believe, as Steve Jobs did, that the glass could be built in six months despite the fact that none of the plants were currently making the glass, then you will find a way to convince the supplier that the glass could be delivered even when the supplier insisted it could not.

I’m run by my assumptions too

I’m pretty good about questioning my assumptions and yet the other day several of them were hindering my ability to turn one of our webinars into a digital product.  I had several assumptions that I had never thought to question:

  • people in the course needed to experience “no meaning” many times in order to be able to dissolve meaning on a regular basis,
  • the only way people could get that experience was from eliminating a lot of beliefs,
  • the only way for people to easily eliminate enough beliefs was to complete the Natural Confidence (NC) program, and
  • fewer people would get the new digital program if they were required to buy the NC program first.

In a discussion with Rodney, one of my associates, he got me to question all of these assumptions.  As a result a huge roadblock to making this new course available just disappeared when I became aware of my assumptions and eliminated them.

All of us have hundreds of assumptions that define our worldview and determine what we think is even possible.  It would never occur to you to question those assumptions because they are “the truth” for you.  The real value of a coach is having someone make you question some of those assumptions.  If you’re at all interested in using a coach, make sure he/she has the ability to help you change your worldview.


Thanks for reading my blog.  Please post your questions or comments about the real value of coaches and how your worldview determines what you even think is possible.  Your comments will add value for thousands of readers.  I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

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