Approaching Coaching: The Mentored Mindset

Thinking about taking the plunge and adding a coach to your arsenal? Pull up a stool and let’s talk, because there’s a few things that need saying. And y’all know how I get. If you don’t, well…here goes.
You have to be in the right mindset to benefit from coaching. If you’re not, you’re wasting your money and your coach’s time. What’s the “right mindset”?
Having been on both the giving and receiving end of the coaching & mentoring thing, here’s my success list:
  1. I am open to changing how I do things
  2. I am open to how I see myself
  3. I am open to how I see my business
  4. I am open to how I see my customers
  5. I am open to how I see the relationship between myself, my business and my customers
  6. I am open to busting my assumptions – i.e. “I suck at technology”
  7. I will stop saying “I can’t…” and “I hate…
  8. I realize there is no magic bullet. Really. I do. All the way deep down.
  9. I’m not lazy – hard work doesn’t scare me
  10. I can handle criticism and don’t take things personally
  11. I can learn
  12. I’m tenacious.
  13. I am patient.
Most of these items are pretty well self-explanatory. Going into coaching without being open to changing up what you’re doing seems silly doesn’t it? Yet so many of us do exactly that. If you’re not in a place where you truly are open to expanding your boundaries and accepting new ways of operating, hold off. You’re not ready.
Flexibility. Tenacity. Open mind. Patience.
Pretty much what it takes to succeed in business overall will ensure a good coaching experience.
A few more things that will greatly enhance your time with a coach are:
  1. Being clear on what you want your business to look like – a good coach can help crystallize this. A bad one will merely tell you.
  2. Having a good idea of what you want from coaching. Here again, a good coach can help solidify this, but you should have an idea. 
  3. The willingness to do the work. This one can’t be overstated enough.

If you know what areas you need help with, it will be easier to go right to work. It is vital to know where your “Point B” is – what you want your business to look like, what “success” means to you. If not you run the risk of being edged into someone else’s definition of the word.

Notice what’s NOT on the list: gregarious, energetic, organized… Of course those things help, but they’re not required. In business or in coaching. There’s ways around them. There’s no timetable for you and your business. Only you can set your own goals. Only you know what other limiters you may have in your life – kids, family obligations, etc. Not all of us can work 90 hours a week. Define your parameters going in. You may not WANT a million-dollar business – and that’s okay.
So that’s what you need. What will shoot you in the rear? The short list:
  1. Looking for justification of the way you’re already doing things
  2. The coach-as-cash-machine mentality: “how much money will I make if I take this coaching?”
  3. Inability to follow through
  4. Unwillingness to accept responsibility
  5. Thin skin
  6. Magic Bullet Syndrome
  7. Not committed to your business. Not really. Deep down. You know who you are.
Now you can find coaches out there who will blow pretty smoke up your butt all day long and stroke your hair and tell you you’re wonderful – and gleefully charge you for the privilege. It’s up to you to choose wisely if you want honest coaching that will give you tough love and candor, which – truly – can be downright uncomfortable at times. But frankly if a coach doesn’t make you squirm once in a while, IMHO you ain’t getting your money’s worth. 
How do you find that coach? Find someone who’s done what you want to do. Successfully. (Would you go to a marriage counselor who’s been divorced four times?) Look for someone who either has or has had a successful business in your industry or a closely related one, and has clients who are moving forward by their relationship. Frequently the loudest, glossiest coach isn’t the one you want. It’s the quiet one in the trenches that may be harder to ferret out. Ask around, don’t just click on shiny ads. Remember: You’re looking for a coach. Not a marketer.
Find someone you’d like to be when you “grow up”
One tip: when getting a recommendation, ask if there is any affiliate compensation being offered to the referrer. While I have no problem with affiliate referrals in general, they can be dicey for coaching. They color what should be an honest opinion and make an already tough decision even more difficult. Courses, cut and dried stuff, fine. But coaching… In my book affiliate compensation is a no-no. The online marketing world is rife with you-refer-me-I-refer-you schemes, especially for big ticket courses. Be wary and understand the difference between true recommendations and cash-based affiliate referrals.
Price is not a measure of quality in coaching
Not by a long shot. That five figure coaching program that’s trying to suck you in may not be worth the digital paper it’s printed on if the people behind it aren’t 1) someone you want to emulate when you grow up, and/or 2) they’re not bringing their A-game to the table. Or it may be exactly what you need. Don’t be either dazzled by OR put off by a price tag. Examine what’s being offered and who’s offering it, beneath the marketing sparkle. 
Choose wisely.
If you want to feel good about yourself, stay home and read Marianne Williamson. If you want to move forward in your business, find a coach that makes you squirm a little. Coaching is hard work, for BOTH of you. be prepared to dig deep and to bump up against that comfort zone.If you’re really lucky and get the RIGHT coach you’ll obliterate it.
Not all coaching experiences are glorious. Some lead to break-throughs, while some are only “meh.” To some extent you get out what you put in, but it also depends a bit on the magic of chemistry. There is nothing like finding the right one, the one who sets your brain on fire and makes you think faster than you ever thought you could. We all need that kind of coach. 
They’re out there. For all of us. We just have to find them,


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