“Everyone needs a coach”, said Bill Gates as he opened one of his TED Talks on the importance of feedback and coaching.

When quizzed about the best advice he’s ever received, Eric Schmidt recounts, “You need a coach. Everybody needs a coach”.

These are just two of the many prolific high-performers who include coaching as one of the enablers of success.

Atul Gawande describes his personal realization of why coaching can make a critical difference in our lives:

Turns out, there are numerous problems in making it on your own. You don’t recognize the issues that are standing in your way or if you do, you don’t necessarily know how to fix them. And the result is that somewhere along the way, you stop improving.

Paul Dolan, Professor of Behaviorial Science at London School of Economics and the author of the bestselling book Happiness By Design, wrote:

Just as people have for years been employing personal trainers to help them get fit and lose weight, so too achieving goals can be accelerated by using an advisor or coach to apply similiar principles to success in life.

Today, there are countless inviduals who work with coaches to help themselves navigate challenges from the professional to the personal aspects of life. It may be referred to as life coaching or executive coaching, but the purpose is the same – to support the coachee in reaching the goal, with less suffering and more freedom.

It’s often said that “success leaves clues”. If that’s true, coaching seems to be a recurring clue that apparently figures in the lives of people such as:

  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Leonardo diCaprio
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Metallica
  • Andre Agassi
  • Serena Williams
  • Bill Clinton
  • Barack Obama

Their anecdotes can be quite easily found and have been replicated in many articles, so I will not elaborate on them here. But I will share this passage from Trillion Dollar Coach, by Eric Schmidt, whom I quoted at the beginning of this article:

In fact, it is often the highest-performing people who feel the most alone. They usually have more interdependent relationships but feel more independent and separate from others. Their powerful egos and confidence help drive their success but may be paired with insecurities and uncertainty. They often have people who want to be their friends for personal gain rather than for friendship. They’re human. They still need affirmation and to know they are appreciated.

This is why there is nothing wrong with people who seek coaching. In fact, they are often the ones with strength in character. This is true of both life coaching and executive coaching.

But what about you? You might wonder, how can a life coach help me?

Or, how does life coaching work?

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