How to Tell Your Friend (S)he Needs a Coach…

woman-570883_1920Here’s the situation. You’ve been in coaching for a while – a couple of weeks, maybe months. You’ve seen things you just can’t unsee. You’re different. The world is different. The possibilities are boundless.

And then you see your friend, Pat. Pat’s a little down, a little negative, a little resigned. You’re thinking – Dude – I’ve TOTALLY been a Pat before!!! You know what Pat needs? Pat needs a coach. So you look Pat deep into the eyes and with all the compassion and hopefulness you can muster you say, “OOOH OOOH YOU NEED TO HIRE A C…….”


And if Pat happens to be your spouse, DEFINITELY ABSOLUTELY….
Hang on a second. You might want to take a minute and think this through. There are a lot of reasons why telling someone to hire a coach can backfire. For one, it’s sort of like telling someone to get a therapist. Not that coaching = therapy, but telling someone to get external help tends to have the same effect of suggesting that there’s something WRONG that needs to be fixed. It also sounds a lot like you’re not interested in hearing their concerns anymore (which may also be true but is not what you’re after).

qualities-954789_1920Consider this:

  • Sometimes in the sunny light of a huge coaching revelation we are so romanced by our newfound relationship with ourselves we want to share it with everyone and anyone.
  • When we are looking (consciously or otherwise) for connect we are primed to see opportunities all over the place sometimes resulting in seeing a concern IN someone that that person doesn’t see.
  • Every client comes to coaching whole and complete, with the ability and willingness to step into solutions. Willingness doesn’t happen as well by force.

So – how DO you suggest coaching to someone you care about?

  1. Make it personal for YOU, not personal for Pat. Instead of telling Pat “you need a coach,” try connecting with vulnerability. “Pat – I had a similar experience and I was able to come through the other side and feel powerful and strong. I know that if that can happen for me it can for you and I would love to support you in any way I can. Can I tell you what worked for me?” And then share your coaching journey.
  2. Many employers offer coaching as an employee BENEFIT. It’s usually offered as executive or leadership coaching or as professional development and some employee assistance programs (EAP) cover coaching. If you’re in a position to offer that benefit directly either as Pat’s boss or Pat’s peer, it helps take the edge off of “needing help” by making it a “benefit” on the same level of a flex spend account. Plus, it feels sanctioned and comfortable knowing that your peers and executives in the c-suite use this benefit.
  3. The MOST important approach takes some time to put into practice and that is – keep doing what YOU’re doing. Meaning, live and lead from your best self. Your change will become visible to those who are SEEKING change. It may not seem like the same visible change as someone who’s dropped 30 lbs in a week, but it IS visible so be ready. One day someone is going to ask you, “what’s different about you? You’re so confident and enthusiastic. What’s your secret?” And that’s when you get to tell people your coaching story.
  4. WRITE your coaching story down and share it. Share a testimonial of your experience with your coach (we love that by the way) and post it on social media. Look – if you have a great meal at a restaurant you post pictures of that. If you wrote an amazing manifesto with the support of your coach, POST YOUR MANIFESTO and let people know that coaching has been a powerful experience for you.
  5. Speaking of experience – consider taking your coaching experience to the next level with a retreat. I have several great recommendations for personal and professional development retreats, excursions, training, and seminars (many of which may be fundable through your employer). Feel free to reach out for suggestions!

How did YOU come to coaching? Who referred you and how did that go? I’d love to hear your story.




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