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  • Vanessa Anstee

Can 3 months of coaching really be transformational?

Does working with a coach for 3 months really create a transformation in someone?

One of my GP partner clients recently wrote to me to say, “Thank you very much Vanessa. The experience has been transformational; even better than I had hoped."


But what does transformational actually mean? According to the dictionary transformation is a noun and means, “a marked change in form, nature, or appearance.”


This particular client showed up to coaching in the survival zone. From the moment they got to work they were “on” in a very demanding role that was imperative that they got it right. The consequence of this was the joy had been squeezed out of their work, they were left questioning themselves, their chosen career and were on the edge of burnout.


The thing about being in the survival zone is that we can’t see clearly. We try to keep up. We work harder on the same things thinking somehow we will create a shift and get on top of things. The bottom line is it never does. We end up caught in loopy thinking patterns, producing cortisol and over time become increasingly despondent, isolated and anxious.


Einstein had it right when he said that you can’t solve a problem from the same level of thinking that got you into it. Many of us fall into a thinking habit trap of running over the same thoughts, believing they’ll somehow magic up a new answer for us. If you recognise this habit next time stop and ask yourself, “when have I thought this thought before?” It will help you see that you're not thinking a new thought just the same thought differently.


For my client to have a transformation (marked change in form, nature or appearance), they first had to be at a place where they were willing to let go of the way they were working and try something new. It sounds easy but when we’re scared and in survival it’s often the last thing we want to do. We grip on to the way it is and defend our territory. It was her willingness to accept there might be another way of working and her ability to trust that she needed to put her own oxygen mask on first before trying to help others, that opened the door to her transformation.


We worked on some key areas including managing her stress through her physiology, mental and emotional patterns, establishing clear boundaries and including coaching as a skillset to add to her leadership style. This helped her to take charge, change her approach of taking too much responsibility and in doing so hold others accountable for their own performance.


If you are hungry for a transformation and are thinking about working with a coach I urge you to ask yourself a question first:

  • Are you ready to let go of the current way you’re doing things?

  • Are you really motivated to do this?

Not because you think something’s broken that needs fixing but because you want more for you, your life or your work.


If the answer is half hearted, save your money.

The bottom line is no coach can do the work for you. It’s the age old saying that when the student is ready the teacher appears.


The question for you are you ready?

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