Q: Experiences with long-term Coaching?

Question: What are your experiences with a long term life coach? 
A coach looks from a neutral perspective to your life and give instant feedback. As a 27 year old needing to learn so much in life I’m curious about how coaches help you learn and grow longterm.


Answer (from Robert Ogilvie):


First, let’s be precise: are you asking about qualities and fit for a long-term (say, multi-year) Coach, or are you asking about how, in general, Coaching is able to deliver value which impacts one over long periods of time?


LONGTERM COACHING: Just as I’m skeptical of the value of a Psychotherapist that that keeps a patient for many years, I’m also skeptical of a Coach that keeps a client for so long. It’s a combination of “So they’re STILL not getting results” and “don’t you want your clients to be empowered and develop over time, not become dependent?”. Coaching is best tackled in 6–12 months stints, which allows you come into Coaching for precise purposely, get results, and step back. You can do shorter but results may not last long enough, and longterm coaching really risks poor focus and efficient ROI. Now, that said, if you have a good focused way of breaking down goals and continuing to engage a client, do it. There are a dozen of so of us (trained through Core Coaching Institute, out of Toronto) which are trained 3-month Client Roadmapping, breaking down goals into weekly/biweekly steps. If that process, 3-month Roadmap after Roadmap keeps delivering results, then keep going (if the client wants). The longest client I’ve ever heard of is 36 months, and it was because this executive just loved the Roadmapping technique- she actually started to implement in her company too! If your question is about fit, I generally advocate thinking what your strengths are (as a client) and then seeing what differing strengths you need in a coach, so that together you have more perspective.


LONGTERM IMPACT: How does a Coach deliver longterm value? By helping tackle big longterm goals, helping bring out good traits and characters strengths through the clients own awareness and experience, and focusing on the day-to-day and week-to-week habits which continue to add value over the course of one’s ongoing life. So, think “Teach a man to Fish” stuff. Good Coaches are client-centered, they build trust and have embodied presence, communicate well and help illicit your own thoughts and needs, building awareness and action plans and accountability to consolidate results into real life. You can check out the 11 ICF core competencies of coach here if you want Core Competencies


In Summary:


  • Longterm Coaching is very much a matter of clarifying continual goals and breakdown steps, and ongoing engagement to do those steps. Roadmapping, especially brief 3-month blocks, are a great strategy!
  • Longterm Coaching Relationships are often must useful when the Coach embodies different traits/strengths that complement the client
  • Longterm Impact of Coaching is achieved through tackling deep trait-like strengths, longterm goals and needs, and ongoing habits which all have lasting influence on one’s life.
  • If you’re wondering what good qualities to look for in a Coach, whether before selecting anyone or assessing the caliber of your current Coach, look towards the ICF 11 Core Competencies and the Comparison table to see how your Coach stacks up

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