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Give a Fish or Teach to Fish?

If you’ve read my blog, you know that I credit coaching as the best personal development I’ve ever done. I firmly believe that all change occurs internally first and externally second. So, I’ve always been a student of leadership and motivational theories. Maintaining a positive mindset and energy to be productive in all aspects of your life takes work. It’s akin to becoming and staying physically fit. One must be disciplined and dedicated to sustain a healthy body. If we need help with this, we know that we can hire a personal trainer or sign up for a class at a local gym. A coach works in much the same way. As we make goals for our life and/or personal development, sometimes we need help with motivation, making a plan, and accountability. I know I did. I was overwhelmed with the many aspects of life that needed to be tamed to achieve my goals. My life coach has helped me sort those out and empowered me to take action. In a nutshell, she has helped me to name my fears and find my courage to overcome. Now she is holding me accountable to take the necessary steps to work towards success. I can’t stress enough to you how life changing and fulfilling this has been for me.

What can a coach do for you? The real answer is – that’s up to you! Each person has different goals and areas of personal development upon which they’d like to focus. In turn, there are coaches with various specializations to allow you to choose the best one for you.

I’ve found confusion surrounds the distinction between coaches and consultants. A coach is not a consultant. The best way for me to describe the difference for you is with an example. Let’s pretend you are hungry and want fish for dinner. You are eager to learn to fish and to prepare them yourself, but have no idea how to start. You meet with a consultant and a coach for help in achieving this. A consultant will give you a written plan on the best places to fish, a list of equipment needed, and a recipe for how to cook them. Acting upon this plan will be up to you solely. Alternatively, a coach will help you learn to do the research for finding the best places to fish, the best equipment, and finding the recipes you like best. Further, a coach will walk with you through the entire process to provide guidance and accountability as you learn to cast, reel in the fish, and prepare it to cook. You and your coach will celebrate together after you’ve enjoyed a wonderful meal. Now, let’s pretend you are hungry again, but this time you want to fish in a different area of the world and prepare it differently. If you used the services of a consultant, chances are you must hire the consultant again. However, if you hired a coach, you will have learned how to do things yourself. A consultant finds the answers for you, while a coach helps you find the answers yourself. It is much like the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Consultants provide, and coaches teach. There are appropriate situations for both consultants and coaches. I have been fortunate to have done both consulting and coaching in my career. I value the services provided by consultants and fully understand their importance. Personally, I find coaching more fulfilling. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which is best for helping you reach the success you seek.

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