Do You Need to Be Perfect to Be a Coach?

One of the most common questions we get from aspiring relationship coaches is a variation of-

“How can I coach singles if I’ve been married for 20 years?”
“How can I coach singles if I’m single myself and haven’t found my soulmate?”
“How can I coach couples if I’m divorced?”
“How can I coach couples if I’m single?”

Well, if singles can’t coach singles or couples, and couples can’t coach singles, then almost NOBODY is qualified to be a relationship coach! It’s good to be humble, but there’s no need to feel inadequate if you’re called to become a relationship coach.

Here’s a recording of an in-depth presentation on this topic from our Relationship Coach Starter Kit Mentoring Teleconference

Top Ten Reasons You Don’t Need to Be Perfect to Be a Coach

1. You WILL be different from your clients and that is a good thing. You are better able to help your client see different sides of their situation and discover creative choices.

2. You need to be an expert in coaching the process of change, not in the technical details of the client’s situation. You are coaching people, not situations. Your job is to support their progress, not give them advice.

3. You don’t need to be perfect but you do need to walk your talk. Your past failures and struggles make you a better coach. You don’t need to have “arrived” but you need to be an example of courageously embracing the journey.

4. If you’re currently struggling and stuck in a particular area, it’s probably best to help yourself before helping someone else in that area. It’s hard to be the strong, confident, capable coach that your client needs if you’re in pain.

5. Your client needs your positive energy, your passion, your inspiration, and your compassion that comes from your own struggles and journey more than they need you to be perfect.

6. Feeling insecure and inadequate when you’re starting out is understandable and even desireable. Genuine confidence and competence comes with experience and practice.

7. Coaching is a partnership, a shared journey driven by the client’s needs and agenda. Being a good, supportive partner is more important than being perfect.

8. What matters is your connection with your client and your ability to apply your coaching skills to support their progress, not your specific, personal situation.

9. If you were perfect you would make your client feel intimidated and inadequate, so it’s better to be real, human, and flawed.

10. It’s not about you! It’s about your mission, purpose, and the people you’re called to help. If you’re truly acting in service of your client you will be successful. If you’re coming from ego and your own reality, situation, beliefs, accomplishments, you won’t be successful.

Feedback From Experienced Coaches

We posed this question to numerous groups of coaches and other helping professionals on LinkedIn and received over 100 responses. Here are some excerpts-

Coaching is about looking through the windshield, not the rear view mirror.

We are coaching people not their situations.

 Coaching as a skill is the differentiator, not having all the answers.

 Focus on your TRAINING, not your personal experience.

The answer is never about me. The answer is always about my client.

A coach needs coaching skills, not skills on the client’s subject matter

The difference between a mentor and a coach is that a mentor knows the matter or the job, he lived it. and coach helps the client to find more effective ways to live his/her life, or to do his/her job.

You’re not coaching you… you’re coaching them… coach from a position of experience!

The experiences and lessons I have learned in my own (personal) relationship-life must not be the lens through which I coach my clients.

It is not despite divorce , but Because of the divorce that I feel so much stronger, more clear, clean and free in the Relationship area

 You can coach anyone on anything, but knowing how to achieve a goal from experience, not just theory – is a big bonus if you are a coach specialising in that particular issue.

 Being real and at times vulnerable, are attributes of a good coach.

By acting as a sounding board, getting the thought process moving and by pushing him forward I can help my client even if they know a lot more than I do.

We can observe our client’s blind spots, which are probably not the same as ours.

You as a coach are not responsible for the content, you are responsible for the process, the framework, and the focus.

When a coach is working through a particular issue in his/her own life, he/she may be more likely to get hooked or triggered by the client’s similar situation or issues.

If we worked through every last bit of our baggage before becoming a coach, we wouldn’t be coaches, we would be enlightened masters!

We cannot take clients beyond where we have gone ourselves, and to have gone through a journey ourselves gives a much better inner platform from which to work authentically on it with a client.

 For many kinds of life issues we’re all “learning on the job,” NOBODY really has life figured out.

There’s one advantage when the coach is working on the same area themselves: They’re focused, interested, and engaged with the topic.

I feel an obligation to have gained some success in my own issues before attempting to help others with those same issues.

From a practical perspective, personal insecurity is a great saboteur of professional competence. Asking the bold, empowering question takes a certain level of confidence in oneself. Great coaching requires the coach to not be silently second guessing themselves and feeling like a fraud.

 If a coach or any other “helper” seems too perfect, the potential client usually feels “he/she could not relate to or understand me.”

THANK YOU to all the coaches who contributed to this article to provide encouragement and support to aspiring coaches!



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