Four Myths About Coaching Plus One More was written by my friend David Frank Gomes.

I found this article so powerful that with David’s permission I have reprinted it here.

(Access the original on LinkedIn Pulse)

MYTH: Coaching is about peak performance, goals and problem solving

Reality: I know this one may seem hard to believe, but it’s actually good news.

  • It’s not about problem solving, but problems get solved.
  • It’s not about performance, but performance improves
  • It’s not about goals but they get achieved easier
  • It’s not about results, but they improve naturally

Coaching is not about making life problem-free, but about giving depth and value to your experiences that come from mindful living and thinking. It’s a way of effectively supporting people and cultures to empower themselves, find their own answers and support and nurture that process. It taps in to the human need for collaboration in a non judgmental way.

your coach is listening for the very best in you, even when you can’t always hear it yourself.

We often spend so much time at work focusing on outcome and hammering on results, we leave fulfilment by the side of the road and forget to savour the steps and the moments, which is the only way to really enjoy your accomplishments in the long run. You can’t forget why your doing what your doing in the quest to hurry up and get there.

The question we all face is… how do we start to enjoy ourselves on our journey to success, if we don’t figure out how to enjoy the ups and downs in the process to create it?

MYTH: You need to be a rock star to coach one

Reality: You may be familiar with rock stars like Jon Bon Jovi of the band Aerosmith, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper, Phobe Snow or the Dave Matthews Band. However, I’ll make you a bet you haven’t heard of Katie Agresta, the most renowned coach and vocal trainer in America. You don’t need to be a rock star to coach and mentor one.

This myth is incredibly popular in our niche obsessed world, especially for executive coaching. In essence, it is the idea that in order for a coach to be effective, they must have a resume that is similar to yours, so if you are running a Fortune 500 company, your coach should have run one too.

Don’t assume a similar track record means an ability to coach effectively. Of course, every masterful coach must have the ability to understand the heartbeat and rhythm of your industry and what you’re trying to accomplish, but the “just like me” myth is flawed because it assumes that the right fit to take your game higher is always someone who knows what you know.

A coach that too closely mirrors you may share many of your own blind spots and biases and it may not take you anywhere interesting other than deeper into what you already know.

The reality is executive coaching is about the softer skills of developing a leadership presence, refining the mission and purpose of the organization and how to formulate and present an overall vision that influences and creates a culture of inspiration. Your company is already filled with nuts and bolts experts.

We often need the opposite kind of person coaching us to get somewhere new in our thinking and outlook, not someone who looks good on paper and seems familiar.

MYTH: Personal coaches can only help you reach personal goals / Professional coaches can only help you reach business goals.

Reality: A masterful coach is someone who is accomplished at helping others create change in their lives. For some people, the change they most want may be focused on personal goals such as relationships, time management, work-life balance, stress reduction, simplification, health, etc., but other clients may be more interested in professional or business goals such as developing a leadership presence, getting a promotion or becoming more of a influencer, starting a business, or leaving the corporate world to find a more meaningful heart centered life. We start to realize everything is connected to everything else in our lives. Once we stop carving ourselves up into into little slices, we can see the whole picture or meta view with increased clarity.

MYTH: Successful people don’t need coaches. Coaching is for lightweights who can’t succeed on their own

Reality: Professionals have coaches; amateurs do not. Coaching is about optimizing yourself. Think of it as foundational, like getting a check up once a year. Look around at your world. Everything you see is designed. Aside from nature, human’s have designed everything else. The society you live in, the corporate culture you work in and the processes you use. And perhaps most importantly the way you think and operate on a daily basis has been designed; by you.

It would not be a stretch to say that modern living has been designed more around stress than health, more for speed than quality and more for endless growth than sustainability and happiness.

I believe our world needs more conscious design, and it begins by creating work & play that is balanced and purposeful, rather than just a endless rat race to run till you die. A sustainable lifestyle has to be designed. It does not just happen magically on its own.

An effective coaching and mentoring relationship works for you and with you to design a richer more meaningful experience and helps you unravel the complexities of daily life. It’s not cotton candy self help slogans and positive affirmations. For the folks I work with, it’s about skillful living.


Discover the Myths about Coaching

MYTH: Personal Development is a luxury, not a necessity

Reality: There are two skills we must concern ourselves with if we want to live satisfying lives that don’t make us crazy.

One skill can teach us how to make a living. The other can teach us how to live. Many people focus only on making a living to the peril of how to live. In striking a balance of the two, we find the optimal flow state. If you want to enjoy the success you build, you have to design how you think and operate, or someone else will do it for you and guess what…most likely, they don’t have much planned for you.

Coaching conversations are compass conversations, they are without borders and judgments, and that compass is pointing at cultivating a richly expressive and meaningful life at work and in society. Coaching isn’t about fixing, it’s more about fine tuning. It’s about identifying how to make anything become more alive for you, a holistic approach to living a balanced prosperous lifestyle.

Coaching is the power of WE instead of ME.

Thank you for reading my article and sharing it. A few other articles you may be interested in reading.

Is this the most difficult question to answer well?

Everything you wanted to know about mindfulness but were too busy to ask

Rock Bottom – Where good goes to become greatness

David Frank Gomes unravels the dilemmas of career, ambition and relationships in the complexities of the 21st century by working at the intersection of mindfulness and contemporary coaching.