Originally published on Medium - CoachillaHQ by Chitrak Mitra
As you might expect, we at Coachilla have a lot of conversations about coaching every day. It never ceases to amaze us just how many misconceptions there are about coaching and coaches. Unfortunately many of them originate from the fact that coaching is still a new profession that is not widely understood. This leads to ideas of incompetent con men, who want to ‘bark orders at you’, ‘tell you how to live your life’ and give generic advice. In reality quality coaching is something totally different.
Thanks to these common misconceptions in the back of the mind, many people make the decision not to try coaching and forfeit serious benefits for self awareness and personal development.
Well, we won’t let that stand. We decided to talk to real, successful coaches and shine some light on coaching and what it can bring to your life. Tune in regularly for our #CoachConversations. Our first conversation with the always lovely Sophia Fromell can be found here.
Today we’ll be talking to Dr. Rakish Rana, from The Clear Coach. He’s a graduate of the Academy of Executive Coaching, having attained a Practitioner’s Diploma in Executive Coaching, and a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF). He specialises in working with highly successful and determined people, who are unhappy or dissatisfied with their lives, to help them find happiness and purpose.
Chitrak: Let’s start with the obvious question: What made you decide to start coaching people?
Rakish: I had a very successful corporate career, well-paid salary, cars, a home, family and holidays — but yet still felt as if my life was unfulfilled. I sought out a life coach myself to help me answer some of these questions, and from that discovered my belief, values and passion was to help people.
I’ve always helped and developed people through informal coaching in my management roles, but it was the decision to embark on a coaching qualification that was the turning point. I saw my own life coach as a very positive role model and a great influence.
Chitrak: That’s pretty interesting. Our founder Eeppi also started the Coachilla journey by seeing the benefits of coaching in himself. But, coaching someone is a huge investment of time and effort. There’s much easier ways to make a living. What, to you, makes coaching worthwhile?
Rakish: Coaching is a mindset. It’s a passion and purpose to want to help other people. Coaching is not about money, it’s about happiness. I believe coaches want to make a real material difference in the world.
By being able to transform people (hopefully into the best versions of themselves), these people could then help start a domino effect.
Chitrak: If you were looking for a coach, what would you look for? What signs would let you know that this is someone worth keeping around?
Rakish: I’d look for a coach with experience, possibly someone recommended, but more importantly someone I would get on with and trust. I’d definitely read testimonials and look at the types of people the coach has worked with in the past. Has the coach got a track record of success?
A great sign to keep hold of the coach would be the growth in me as a client and the change that should be brought about by the coaching process. As well as the constant challenge of me falling into routine.
Chitrak: Conversely, what would be the red flags that let you know that you should look for someone else to coach you?
Rakish: A coach who doesn’t listen, or is always interrupting or being judgmental. A coach that is constantly advising and giving their opinions. I think a coach should ‘walk their talk’. Bad time-keeping is another big no-no.
Chitrak: What makes sessions different from each other? Do the problems start to seem the same after a while?
Rakish: Coaching is about being on a journey with the aim of reaching a destination (or goal). And like a journey with changing scenery, speed, pit-stops, etc, coaching is the same. There’s a start, middle and finish. At times, a lot is discovered in session, and at times a session can be a lot more sedated, with longer periods of reflection.
Problems are as varied as there are a number of different roads. But in the end, it’s all about human nature. Most issues have underlying themes of lack of confidence or the inability to face one’s fears.
Chitrak: Do you find it easy to get to know your clients? Is it difficult to get past the walls people put up?
Rakish: I make a strong effort to get to know my clients and find it relatively easy to do that. It’s down to my personality maybe ;-) I try to put them at ease by creating a comfortable atmosphere not only with the physical location, but with with my general approach.
I also use techniques like NLP to build rapport. Part of the coaching process is to get through the walls. People who engage with a coach are usually fairly determined in the first place. Determined in the want for change. So personally, I find that they readily open up and engage.
Chitrak: Most high performance teams and big achievers have coaches and recommend coaching to others. They’re already experts in their field. What makes it worth their time?
Rakish: Although someone may be an expert in their field, there’s always room for improvement. A coach does not need to know more about their client’s business, they just need to be able to coach.
Even when someone is successful, they eventually hit a plateau. It then takes a new type of learning to get to the next level. I think it was Albert Einstein who famously said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Chitrak: People can often be quite prickly about advice, and don’t accept that someone else knows enough to coach them. How would you deal with this?
Rakish: Coaching is not advising, and a true coach will never advise. With my clients, I make it very clear, the less I know about their work, the better a coach I will be for them. I let them know that the coaching process is for me to support and challenge them, and to look inside themselves for answers. When coachees come up with their own answers, they then take a sense of ownership and accountability to see the actions through.
As a coach, I try not advise. But if I ever advise, I make it clear to the client that we are stepping out of the coaching process. The advice I tend to give isn’t really unusual / offbeat (for me anyway) — but tends to be about interesting reading material, and what could help the client in the long run — like meditative techniques, different hobbies, etc. One thing I do always ask my clients, it to dream big — when they come to me with a goal, I ask them to think bigger, and not to limit themselves in any way.
Chitrak: What could I expect from a first coaching session? How about the next one?
Rakish: The first coaching session is about getting to know one another; explaining how I coach and what the client expects from being coached. I try to understand the client’s background and achievements to date (especially what hurdles had to be overcome to achieve them).
I try to ensure the client is enthused and motivated to want to change and achieve big. To be able to understand what the overall goal is, requires coaching and what success would look like. We aim to break the large goal down into smaller achievable goals. Further sessions would then work on these mini goals. The second session tends to be a continuation and where the client feels a lot more comfortable
Chitrak: Does coaching take a while to show results? Are there ‘quick wins’ that might help someone in the short run?
Rakish: It varies, some clients can have breakthroughs in the first session, others much later. But as I mentioned previously, coaching is a journey — and you could say it will take as long as it takes.
However, I do try and make it clear to the clients that the more they are committed to the process, the more value they would gain from it. I try and help identify some quick wins if possible to ensure client has belief in the process. Though this is not always possible. I will always try and use analogies to help the client move forwards.
Chitrak: We’re planning to do a bunch of these interviews with many coaches, and we’d like to start a chain of questions between each one. Could you think of one question that you’d like to ask another coach? It can be as weird as you want :)
Rakish: If there was one person in the world you could coach, who would it be and why?
Chitrak: Hehe. That’s a pretty interesting one. In turn, I’m gonna ask you the question Sophia asked last time: “What makes you an expert in your field?”
Rakish: I’m hoping I understood Sophie’s question: One of the reasons to become a coach was the burning desire to always want to learn and develop myself.
So, as a coach, I am always growing and getting better. Would I call myself an expert? I’d leave that for others to decide. But as a coach, I am qualified, having an attained a Practitioner’s Diploma in Executive Coaching, with additional skills in NLP and mindfulness.
What makes me stand apart from the crowd is my sincerity and genuine approach to want to help people. I genuinely want people to learn to be happy and to then spread this happiness to others. Because of this I am open, honest, and always willing to share. Since we only have this one short life, let’s try and make the most of it!
That’s the end of this week’s coach conversation. Be sure to drop by our website to sign up for our early access to find your own coach. We’re already matching people to coaches, so as always, right now is the best time to get started on the road to a better life.