The Value of a Good Coach


I purposefully used the word coach in the title of this post to get you to keep reading. I would have liked to use therapist but I think the word has a certain stigma…kind of like the word divorce. And in the same way I want to change how people view those impacted by divorce, I want to change the way we look at seeing a therapist or a coach.

This post all started when I was talking to a client the other day and, as a sidebar, she asked me for recommendations on how to approach her mother about seeing a therapist. She felt her mom was struggling with a few issues and just needed someone to talk to about it. My first question to her was why she felt like she had to carefully craft a message to her mom around this topic.

Like a good portion of people, she felt she would insult her mom if she recommended she find someone to talk to. While I completely understand her thinking (as it’s how a lot of people perceive these conversations), it made me a little sad as I was afraid that, because of this hesitation, she wouldn’t have the discussion at all and that her mom may never reach out for help…

I was one of these people. I didn’t start talking to someone until I was almost 40 years old. I figured I had my friends or I could deal with any issues that came up on my own.

Wow, was I wrong.

I initially started talking to a therapist for guidance around my divorce and how to determine what was the best for my daughter in the midst of my custody battle. When I started, I rationalized seeing a therapist by telling myself it wasn’t for me. I was just working with her as an expert on the impact divorce would have on my daughter and to better understand my best path for my kiddo.

Our initial discussions focused on my daughter but I quickly realized the value of having someone with no skin in the game to talk to about…anything. Often, she just asked questions that I wound up answering for myself. Sometimes, she held up a mirror (not a real one!) to reflect my actions or my thinking back to me so I could better understand my motivations. Each session, I would walk away with some new reflection about myself or a tool for my toolkit of life that I really don’t think anyone else in my community could have given me. She was able to take a step back from the personal and emotional and provide a grounded and neutral view of the events or struggles I was facing.

Don’t get me wrong. There were definitely days when I didn’t want her neutral view. I wanted people to get angry with me and rant and rave in support of my actions. But, when it came down to moving forward, to growing, to building my life on my terms, she was probably the most valuable resource I had.

I still talk to her today. Maybe not as regularly but when I am struggling with an issue or just need an unbiased perspective, I reach out and am always rewarded with a path forward.

My daughter has her own ‘guru’ too. I always tell her how I wish I had found a coach when I was her age that I could bounce things off of, that keeps your secrets, that gives you different perspectives, that fills your toolkit of life.

This post is really an important one for me to share with you (and for you to share with others if you agree) as I truly believe that everyone should have a neutral party to talk to in their life. Whether a therapist or a coach or just a trusted person that doesn’t have any skin in your game of life, every one of us needs this mirror, this guide, this guru, this sage advisor, whatever you want to call it, in our worlds.

Trust me on this one. Find your therapist/coach today. If you find the right one, they will make your life so much better…

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