Every Coach is different.
I'm reclining here on the sofa after a long meandering walk across the city. A custom made peanut butter ice cream sandwich sits lonely in the freezer calling my name. What can I say? I like treating myself after some exercise.
But the reason I took a walk was not to indulge in the said sandwich but to decompress. I needed to detach from the latest conversation with my coach — and becoming a flâneur was my simple strategy.
My coach doesn't mess about — when I get stuck in the muck, he pins me there. He then generously and generatively probes to help reveal a deeper truth.
Finding a coach that's right for you takes work. And once you do, the real work begins. I believe there are many great coaches out there for you that would be a strong fit. I don't believe there's such a thing as the perfect coach. Nor the perfect anything for that matter.
And with that, here some of the other qualities I look for in a great coach:
Can Easily Zoom in and Out
It's important to me that a coach can take a macro view and that we can have philosophical inquiries. It's equally important that they can bring this back and contextualize it with what I'm currently experiencing.
For example, we all have inner voices. You know the one that tells you not to swerve into oncoming traffic. This little bugger weasels and winds its way throughout your waking days.
The voice shows up in a myriad of incarnations, but for me it is always a dude. Sometimes he's the inner critic — and from time to time, he promotes himself to the critic of the inner critic. In other instances, he adopts a pom-pom wielding cheerleader to combat that nasty egghead. And he can turn up as the ingratiator — at times useful but more often as an embellished mask for insecurity.
If you're anything like me, your little chirper rarely shuts up. My coach not only helps label these voices but understand when they serve and when they inhibit me. I work on giving them plenty of room for naps. But like you, Eckhart Tolle, Oprah, and even the Dalai Lama — we all have'em and can learn to tame them.
Whether whispering or screaming, taking on a British twang or a Southern drawl —internalizing my external speech helps me explain myself to myself. My coach just happens to be going along for the ride.
Makes Me Feel Accountable to Myself
This is a funny one, as I don't want my coach to make me feel accountable to them. I want them to help me reveal those things that I fail to see or have yet to awaken to. It's then up to me do decide what action I will take and share.
What a great coach won't let me do is mistake our sessions for doing The Damn Work. Believe me, I have no problem mixing up talking for transformation. Plus I'm fond of hearing my own voice. But it's important that my coach is supportive of my growth and can call me out on my own bullshit.
So this means if it's a writing exercise, clearing, meditation, or some other modality — I now do it. Because like so many things in life, you get out what you put in.
Possess Superior Reframing Abilities
A coach should be able to ask powerful questions because this is how things get unlocked. The more discerning and inquisitive the coach, the more I experience depth. And this is super important to me.
Most recently, I have been pondering an age-old question with my coach: 'What is the good life?'. There never seems to be any urgency to come to an answer but more of this expansive space for generous inquiry. And should I come up with anything noteworthy, I'll be certain to share it with you.
The point I think is not to land on the answer as much as it is to go on a journey to reveal what the good life could mean to me. It's this framing and reframing that I find so effective in my coaching sessions.
Meets Me Where I Am But Provokes Me to Go Further
Coaches love to say that they will meet you where you're at. And I think this is an excellent place to start. Still, it took me too long to really appreciate that Becoming is better than Being.
I want to feel a sense of progress and that I'm being stretched. And in any given session, it's a very fine line between meeting me where I'm at and pushing me too far.
When I do feel resentment towards my coach (or another quality I label negative) I never retreat. Instead, I tell him. His response is never judgy but always gentle and curious. It encourages me to be the same with him and the Seekers I guide. We all move through the ickiness together.
Instills Both Lightness and Heaviness
My coach and I joke that he's like Drano for the soul. I typically come out of our sessions fatigued — mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically exhausted.
But I believe there is a reason for this. At this stage in my life, I want somebody who can make me feel heavy. As a generally happy-go-lucky person, it's rare that I am down in the dumps, and I believe it's important to regulate the highs. While life may be mysterious, what's not is that I will feel something deeply after a session with my coach. And days or even weeks later, a feeling will creep up on me, and to my surprise, I'll be hungry for more.
These are qualities that I'm searching for in a coach. Indeed many of those who could benefit from a professional coach simply can't afford it. And this is one of the reasons why Sphere is so wonderful in making the magic more accessible.
While you might share some sentiments of what I look for in a coach you have a different set of criteria. The important thing is to get clear on what you're looking for so that when you see it, well, you just know.
Now excuse me, I have an ice-cream sandwich to attend to…