Ask the Coach — Week 2

This is the column where, each week, I’ll be answering one website visitor’s question in hopes of encouraging and inspiring you all through your shared (and likely, relevant) challenges, triumphs, and struggles.

Dear Kerri,

I have been training with someone to be a life coach for a few months now. I only have three more one-hour calls left, and I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything! I tell her that I feel stuck and that I need more one-on-one. I’m suppose to get certified by October, and don’t feel anywhere near ready. What should I do? I can’t afford to dish out more money!

Disillusioned in Detroit

Dear Disillusioned,

I’m so sorry to hear you are not getting the kind of support you need. What you are getting, however, is several opportunities for growth with this situation!

As a future coach, you’re benefiting greatly from having the experience of being a client. In light of that, consider what you would want clients of yours to do if they felt like they weren’t getting what they had hoped from the coaching relationship. This, in and of itself, is a great learning opportunity for you, and wonderful practice for your future career.

I’d encourage you to evaluate your initial expectations of this coaching arrangement. Where you are training with this person in an effort to get certified, was the relationship set up as instructor/student, where the coach is consulting with you on specific areas of coaching to help you with your certification, or was the intention for you to see what it is like to be a client?  Make sure your expectations match the intention of the relationship when formed.

There’s also an opportunity to set some gracious, yet firm, boundaries in this situation. I understand that you have expressed your need for more one-on-one time, and I assume by your frustration that this need has not been met. I’d encourage you to consider a direct conversation with the coach, describing what you had hoped to achieve through your partnering when you first started versus what you feel you’ve received. Follow that up with the specific needs you’d like to cover in your final sessions with her — and be open to her input. Any professional and established coach should be more than willing to hear this kind of feedback.

It’s important to remember that coaching is a client-driven process. With three more one-hour sessions yet to be held, you have a choice here to either get exactly what you need from the relationship (considering the coach is equipped to provide it) or you can cancel the remaining sessions and request a refund, if you’ve paid in advance. Then, you could use that money on subject-specific training that you feel you are lacking. You can check out a la carte classes through a reputable training organization, such as CoachU or Coachville.

It is ultimately the client’s responsibility to make sure you are getting what you need, and if you’re not, to address it or end the relationship. Just be sure to be open to a different opinion and a fresh perspective as that’s where a lot of the magic of coaching happens.

I wish you all the best!


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