Should you get a coach when you’re first starting out?
Maybe you’ve just heard about coaching or maybe you’ve known about it for a while, but you’re starting to think about getting a coach.
Full transparency: This is something I've wanted to write and talk about for a while now but hesitated on - for several reasons. One being I have some friends and acquaintances who are coaches, and I don’t want to undermine what they do (not that that’s what I’m doing or going to do but y'know...) and two being that I myself have hired coaches in the past and have not made the rest on investment (which I’ll get into later) and for the longest time I felt stupid for not having “made it” yet.
But I wanted to write about this, because I had some questions and concerns myself when I first discovered the online space of FB groups and the whole coaching, personal growth, entrepreneurship, etc. arena that I wanted to ask - and I wish someone had given me some pointers (whom I could trust and wasn’t planning on selling me something either the next day or in two months).
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think getting a coach is a bad thing.
In fact, I think they’re great when you’re ready to get one, but the reality is that you might not be ready yet. But if you are ready to get one and you know what you’re looking for, then this article might not be the one for you. Maybe you should be reading about what type of questions you should ask in a discovery call or consultation and what type of things you might want to look for in a coach.
This post is for people who are literally just starting out - who have just entered this space. Maybe you heard a coach on a podcast and thought it was the best thing ever or just got off a discovery call and wanted to sign up on the spot. Whatever the case, this article’s for you. And of course, take my advice (and anyone else’s advice) with a grain of salt.
Always listen to your intuition and ask yourself what you want, what you’re ready for, and what the next step for you is.
Why Getting A Coach Might Not Be The Best Idea When You’re Just Starting Out
1. You don’t know who you are yet, what you want, or even what you’re looking for.
The reality is that people have an opinion about everything, so naturally everyone’s going to have an opinion about who you should be and what you should want.
But the question still remains: Is that what YOU want?
Because it’s great if someone else wants that for you, but if you don’t want that for yourself, then you’re just going to find yourself flip flopping later on because you keep second guessing yourself.
I love what Gary Vee says about time and patience, because we have soooo much time to figure things out. (Watch his video on macro patient and micro speed.)
I’m in my twenties - and yes, while that may feel scary at times, the reality is that I literally have decades upon decades left to live (unless something happens but we can’t really predict that).
If I could give myself from a year ago some advice, it would be this: Be patient, make mistakes, learn, and most importantly, believe in yourself.
We all saw what happened when teenagers were made to feel the stress at 17 to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. Maybe they choose the wrong major, maybe they went into unnecessary debt, maybe they couldn’t find a job after college. Maybe it would’ve been more helpful for them to take a gap year or try a bunch of different things to see what they liked doing.
But when is it ever a good idea to push yourself in a direction you’re not completely sold on yet?
Because this is just me speaking from my own personal experience, but whenever there’s been money, time, and energy involved, there was a sense of “I have to keep going” because I spent that money, time, and energy on it even if it didn’t bring me joy and actually made me miserable.
Entrepreneurship is not a sprint. It's not some 6 week program and you're set for life. It's a life long commitment and you have to love the journey. Let yourself figure some things out first - what you like doing, what you don't like doing, etc. Get crystal clear on your vision, goals, dreams, etc.
Who do you want to be, and why?
(Related: 5 Reasons Why You Need To Follow Your Heart)
2. You have your shiny object goggles on and you’re looking for a quick fix.
I know I’m not the only one with shiny object syndrome here, so I wanted to address this.
I don’t believe that there’s only ever one shot at anything. If you miss this train, there’s another train coming. Maybe in five minutes or maybe in five days, but it’ll come.
Because I know first-hand what it’s like to want to get something or to sign up for something right then and there.
But again, what’s the urgency?
As a millennial (and to be honest, I don’t think it’s just millennials anymore), I struggle with instant gratification. And that’s what some of us are looking for in coaches right? For them to solve your problems right now. Instantly. Like yesterday.
But here’s the thing: They’re not here to do the work for you. You gotta do the work yourself. You have to be ready and willing to show up for yourself and do the work, and it’s not going to be easy so you better be ready to show up.
So you have to ask yourself if you’re ready. And if you’re not, then what do you need to do to be ready?
Because the truth is that overnight success doesn’t exist. It’s not like you hire a coach and all your problems are solved the next day. Sorry to break it to you, but they’re not wizards.
3. You’re in a financial bind.
Yes, I get there’s the whole “believing in yourself and making it work” thing, but if you’re in a financial bind and you’re literally struggling to make ends meet, then coaching might not be the best option for you right now.
Why? Because if you’re in that situation, it’s going to be highly likely that there’s all you can think about and your financial situation is only going to stress you out more.
Have there people been who’ve invested themselves when they were in a financial bind and created success for themselves? Yes, there are . But there are also people who have ended up in an even worse position (and we don’t hear about those stories because well… that’s not really a story people want to share). I mean - I didn't even go under and I didn't even want to share my story so...
Ultimately, it’s your choice, but just something to seriously consider.
Because there’s a difference between that and investing yourself (and seeing that as an investment that might not pan out right away).
Even if you don’t make your initial investment and more back, there are still some really valuable lessons that can be learned from working with a coach. It’s not always about the money.
4. You don't believe in yourself.
I covered this a bit in the first point, but you have to honestly ask yourself if you believe in yourself. Because a lot of this work is mindset and your mindset has to be in the right place.
This should actually be the first thing you consider.
Are you ready to believe in yourself and show up and put in the work?
There are so many things you can do on a smaller scale before investing in a coach like listening to podcasts (coaches are featured on them all the time and probably even have their own podcast), reading books (so many good books out there!! A recent favorite of mine is “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield. Also look into “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte), taking courses in what you’re interested in, and figuring out what it is you actually want to do first. Because then you can look for coaches for specialize in whatever it is you’re looking to get into who have the experience and knowledge to help you.
Seriously, there are so many things you can figure out yourself first. Be willing to get a little muddy and dive in.
We always say that life isn’t a sprint, but many of us treat it like one.
Don’t be afraid to try out different things. Make mistakes. And as Gary Vee says, learn to fall in love with the process of failing. Because whether you like it or not, you are going to “fail”, stumble, make mistakes, etc. along the way.
Life isn’t a competition or a race.
Stop comparing yourself to what others are doing and where they are. One person’s success does not take away from another person’s success (or potential of success).
Do your own thing and be confident in it. Believe in yourself and keep going. Keep experimenting. Keep learning.
And when you’re ready to hire a coach, mentor, or consultant, it won’t be out of fear, shiny object syndrome, or someone else’s influence.
I’d love to hear from you.
Have you worked with a coach before? What has your experience been like?
(Photo Source: Tanja Heffner)