Faith WoodThis article may be dangerous to your peace of mind. You may end up squirming, questioning yourself and feeling uncomfortable with what you didn’t do to achieve your goals in previous years.

If you don’t need your equilibrium disturbed or to be challenged about your untapped potential, quit reading now.

If you’re still reading, consider this: hiring a coach may be just what you need to realize your expectations for the new year.

Coaching brings some tough challenges for those courageous enough to look at their performance and possibilities, to stretch to higher goals, and to reach within and demand the best of themselves.

But the payoff can be immense.

Coaching is about stretching forward, optimizing talents into marketable skills, translating great dreams and visions into pragmatic actions and organization, and providing some measure of personal accountability that will keep you moving forward even when it feels like a real struggle.

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Since coaching is not therapy, you need to have some courage invested in the process. A good coach will need you to show up with:

  • Sufficient and robust ego-strength. Coaching is not so much about nurturing, re-parenting or dealing with problems and hurts. Rather, it’s about challenging, pushing, awakening and activating one’s best self. A competent coach will have a fierce conversation that quickly gets to the heart of things. Expect to be challenged. It takes a lot of ego-strength to face that.
  • A robust and positive attitude about former mistakes. This demands a mental frame that knows that new opportunities for growth and development can be found within our perceived failures and mistakes.
  • A receptive openness to feedback. It takes a healthy mindset to gaze into a mirror whose reflection holds nothing back. A mirror that reflects precisely how you’re doing, coming across and being experienced by others – even when you might not like it. Openness to feedback includes a willingness to be held accountable to what you say you want. The power of coaching is this accountability. In fact, you contract for it. A good coach won’t let you off the hook just because things are getting uncomfortable.
  • A passionate commitment to full development. Coaches frequently ask, “Are you willing to do anything it takes to make this goal of yours a reality?” Your answer grants the coach the right to call your bluff and to keep having these fiercely focused conversations about what you’re doing or not doing that might sell your goals short.

An ideal coaching client isn’t satisfied with the status quo. In fact, he or she often embraces the ambiguity of the unknown for the joy of the adventure itself.

Selecting the right coach to collaborate with is important. Here are a few key questions to ask before signing on with a coach:

  • What experience do you have with my specific goals and focus?
  • What are your professional qualifications?
  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Do you have references/testimonials?
  • How often and for how long do you recommend we interact?

If 2020 is the year you want to achieve something different in your life or career, take the next couple of weeks to find a great collaborator to help you.

Because you want to avoid a repeat of previous years: quitting on your goals before you’ve even left the starting gate.

Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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