I have often received (and still do) requests from people who want me to be their coach and therapist. Some invite me, if necessary, to be their psychiatrist also…
I pause when I read a message like this. I realize many people don’t know what each of the three specialties means. Not yet having landmarks in mainstream culture for personal development, this is to be expected. Yes, the fact that someone asks for three different specialties in one person is a clear indicator of not enough information in our culture. Another common sign of lack of information is to ask for confirmation that a specialist can help before they know what the actual problem is. Yes, this is also quite common for people.
What is coaching?
The process of coaching begins with an inventory of one’s resources. Those are the qualities, strengths, time, vitality, motivation, money, that a person has and that they can use to grow. Then, in the process of coaching, the coach and the coachee set a goal in order to either solve a problem or a hindrance or simply bring about the desired outcome to make one’s life better. Both people involved make sure the goal is as realistic and tangible as possible for the coachee’s particular case.
Afterward, the work commences. The coach is at most a guide: he keeps a watchful eye and points out when something appears a bit off. Or checks in with us. He or she does this in a particular field (that of his training). If they go to another, hopefully, they do this after specific training.
One more thing: the coach does not do the work in place of his coaches.
Let me make an association with tennis. A coach who trains a tennis player looks firstly at the player’s physical abilities; then the two set a goal. The coach then makes a plan for training, rest, and recovery. He monitors the player’s evolution while the plan is rolling. Maybe they also discuss a competition plan. (there may be other details; this is only an example).
The coach does not play matches in place of the player. He does not build the tennisman’s diet, doesn’t do his medical exams, or takes care of his recovery procedures (massages, kinesiotherapy, accident interventions, etc.)
Unless a coach is trained in more areas, he or she will work side by side with several different specialists. Yes, each with his own domain. It’s one thing to have an idea about another field, but another to develop a plan and follow the details related to that field.
But I still don’t recommend the miracle man with three or four simultaneous specializations. It’s the recipe for burnout (yes, and coaches can go into burnout, not just players).
When to go for personal growth coaching
Back to personal growth now. Intimacy coaching falls in the realm of personal development.
Coaching is recommended when we have a clear psycho-emotional or inner space. That way, we can support a growth effort or work toward a personal goal. Following a coaching plan is not easy, in all honesty. It takes perseverance, motivation, discipline, commitment. And all that aside from your daily duties. So you need to have all the energy you can possibly tap into for this work.
Coaching is not recommended when we have internal conflicts. In those times, we consume a great deal of energy to function normally. Add to that your daily responsibilities, and you are left with little to invest in coaching. Counseling or therapy is our best bet, in these periods of life. Or, if it’s something pathological, psychiatry is the solution. But all those can be easily assessed by a professional. Once they hear your situation, once they see you (you give many clues in the words you choose, your voice, or sometimes in a simple exercise. Yes, if you carry tension, it tends to come up pretty easily. This is good, because it’s more obvious what you are dealing with.
Although I have explained these in many videos (YouTube, Instagram), podcast invites, or even written interviews, it’s still difficult for people to understand. It’s still an emerging field, and we don’t all have the time or patience to understand its peculiarities.
If you’re still not sure
Long story short, coaching sessions have their moment in everyone’s life. Time, money, and effort are much more significant when going for individual sessions. If you are not sure a coach can help with your problem, ask for an evaluation session (usually, all coaches have that). That means it’s a one-time-only; it’s not mandatory to work with them afterward. In that session, you tell the person your problem and they get any other information to see if you are a match.
Tip: no coach will work with someone if they feel they can’t truly help them. Don’t worry about them taking you just to cash in your money. Unless you don’t tell them all there is to know, or they overlook a detail, they are taking you in good faith.
If that evaluation session is still out of reach, for whatever reason, find out if they have group events or online courses (essentially built for groups of people too). This way, you sample their work and feel if they might be a good fit for you and your problem. In addition, you might find answers to some of the issues you’re facing.
I hope this will help you clear up your dilemma of working or not with a coach.