Coaching Disasters

by | Jun 28, 2023 | CC Favorite Essays, Essays

I’m really irritated. But because I choose what to do with my emotions, I thought I’d take my irritation and the energy it created and put it into this essay – along with a stark warning.
I just downloaded and quickly read an ebook about coaching, and to be clear I do this frequently. I love learning about new perspectives around coaching, thus my habit of reading about it constantly. But, I’m seeing a growing and wildly disturbing trend in coaching – the promotion of outcomes rather than inputs. For instance, I just opened and read an ebook from a coaching organization – let’s call it Absolute Excellence (AE).

AE wants me to become a client or an affiliated coach, and the organization is all about flash. Want to improve your finances? Here’s a picture of a $250,000 sports car…wait, what? How would buying a depreciating asset that truly will not offer you more than a moment of happiness be an element of financial health coaching? I call this kind of pleasure seeking – chasing your tail. What about fitness? Not health, not wellness, not healthspan – but fitness. The author says his #1 priority in life is fitness. Come on…I think the idea of overall health is very important, but pictures of the author lifting weights misses the point entirely. I could go on, but why?

Coaching is a skill. Specifically, a skill that allows the client to discover vitally important issues about himself that must be confronted to exercise his free will outside the influence and gravity of culture, family, social pressure and the emotional turbulence of the past. These things, in essence, infect our personal operating system and shape our perspectives in ways we would not otherwise allow – even the filters by which we take in information about the world around us for analysis, orientation and meaning are impacted.

Coaching is not – inspiration, motivation or the encouragement of accumulation. These things, without a powerful connection to purpose lead to burnout, regret and shame. So, what the hell are coaches doing when they promote this garbage? They are playing on your emotions – specifically the emotions that are driven by your ongoing, never-ending need to validate yourself (something I call, “Bad Code.”). In other words, they take the most damaging parts of your past and leverage that emotional scarring (and its ill effects on your perspective) to create the desired response to their coaching offer. They tell you, that if you can achieve your confused and unworthy goal driven by the need to validate yourself, you’ll be a success. Talk about gaslighting someone…

Instead, coaches need to carefully consider what might be triggering your desire to achieve a certain goal, explore the possibilities with you, and ask powerful questions that help you discover the underlying influences driving your desires. Armed with the discovery of this information, clients can manage their decision making – and perhaps for the first time in a very long time, choose for themselves in the exercise of real and unencumbered free will.

When it comes to coaching, the ancient phrase applies…buyer beware.

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