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written by Dwight Mason


Prioritizing personal development in 2024 can be a game-changing experience for you or your organization. We know that Olympic athletes don’t get to the Olympics on their own. They train with the guidance of coaches that help them reach their peak potential. But Olympic athletes are not the only ones. Coaching can help a person get to where he or she wants to be faster and more efficiently. Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, and George Clooney all come from different backgrounds and have succeeded in different arenas, but they all have benefited greatly from personal coaches. 


Those who have grown from coaching say the main benefits of coaching are clarity, control, confidence, and courage. We need those qualities to thrive in any area of life, and they need support to thrive. Why is personal growth important?


Many people are struggling. In our world, possibilities are both open and endless but they also seem inaccessible. Social media is an endless parade of people seeming to be “living their best lives.” We know they are showing their highlight reels, but still …We are continually bombarded with filtered and shapes of unrealistic perfection. We know it’s not real, but it still can be difficult to keep from making unfair comparisons as we grapple with the day-to-day input.


Even more, our world is changing fast. If we are going to become our best selves, we must be willing to change. We must develop new skills of flexibility, adaptability, and agility.


On our way to success, we must decide to adapt to the newness around us instead of trying to make things work the way they once didWe must break bad habits that have never served us well, and grow into the new spaces and opportunities we have. We must take the responsibility to do the work and create the life we want by acknowledging and overcoming the challenges, habits, and hangups that hold us back. This is personal growth.


We really need help to get there. A coach can assist and encourage you without judgmentalism or coddling you. A coach can help you perform at your fullest potential and help you get over those hurdles in your relationships, career, health goals, communication skills, debt, and spirituality. The primary goal of a coach is to assist clients in identifying their goals, developing strategies to achieve them, and providing support and guidance throughout the process.


Those who have engaged in coaching say they have seen these results:


• Establishing and implementing systems for achieving their goals

• Increased self-reliance and accountability toward commitments

• Increased life and job satisfaction and work engagement

• Contributing and communicating more effectively in their organizations

• Improved performance and ease of working with others


When you engage a life coach, more than your work will grow. Life coaches are skilled at guiding individuals through personal growth and development journeys, and helping them to uncover limiting beliefs, patterns, and behaviors that may be holding them back in all areas of life. Through their encouragement of a growth mindset, you explore new perspectives, build self-awareness, and develop the necessary skills to overcome obstacles.


• According to a report by Luisa Zhou, 80% of life coaching clients say that they improved their self-confidence and self-esteem while working with a coach. 


• Coaches can assist you in making more informed and effective decisions. They provide a supportive space for exploring different options, weighing pros and cons, and considering the long-term implications of your choices.


• Many individuals struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, but life coaches can help you assess and prioritize different areas of your life, set boundaries, and develop strategies to prioritize time management.


• The support and mentorship that coaching can offer may also affect an employee’s mindset which can translate into greater career advancements.Employees who receive mentorship tend to be paid more, receive more promotions, feel more satisfied and committed to their careers, and believe that they will advance and be successful in their careers.


In fact, an ICF Global Coaching Study found that 73% of those who receive coaching reportedly improve their relationships, 72% increase their communication skills, 70% report an increase in their work performance, 67% achieve a better work/life balance after coaching, and 63% have a higher subjective wellbeing.


How can you find a coach? If you don’t know where to look, follow coaches on social media.

For example, you can search on Instagram for the type of life coach you’re looking for, then read their bios and follow the ones you feel you’d get along with. Over a few days, look at their stories and read what they post and watch their videos. This will help you know their life coaching philosophy and communication style. 


Look at testimonials. Some coaches use social media to share testimonials. If you don’t find testimonials, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be good for you. Ask the coach directly for references. 


Use a life-coach directory. You can find life-coach directories of databases to connect with coaches all around the world. That makes the task a bit less daunting. You can use their filters to narrow your search to what you really need. 


Tony Robbins, coach extraordinaire, says that life coaches share several key attributes:


• Effective communication. Look for someone who asks meaningful questions to ensure that you think about your process in the right ways. They are not there to hand you all of the answers; their task is more acute, and it includes helping you explore your problems to find the solutions yourself. Successful life coaches will also determine your communication style and alter their approach to ensure you understand and internalize their guidance.


• Deep listening. Communication isn’t just about talking – it’s also about deep listening. Life coaching is about you, your goals or outcomes and your path toward making them a reality. Top life coaches are willing to listen so they can truly know and understand you. They will make eye contact, provide nonverbal affirmations and follow up with insightful questions that show they were listening carefully. 

• Neutrality. Your coach must be able to confront you as needed yet remain non-judgmental about your choices. They need to call you out in a gentle yet honest way when they see you impeding your own progress. A successful life coach walks the line between trusted confidant and professional consultant, pushing you outside your comfort zone to the area where real growth happens.


• Accountability. Your coach must feel responsible for your success. You need to be able to trust your coach to follow up with you regarding your progress and monitor how well you’ve applied what you learn during your sessions to your real life. If your coach cannot hold themselves accountable, they will never be able to hold you accountable. 


• Strategic thinking. You and your needs are unique, and successful life coaches are able to help plot a path that addresses your limiting beliefs and the outcomes that you seek to achieve. 


• Goal-setting. It goes without saying that the point of coaching is to achieve lasting change as they help you reach your goals. How do you know whether you’ve accomplished this? The only way to measure your progress is to establish goals – outcomes – so it’s important to have a coach who can help you set the right metrics for success.


• Honesty. The ability to accept feedback from your coach and speak honestly and openly with them is absolutely essential. You need to be able to open up with your coach, but they need to maintain clear boundaries with you. They’re not there to be your buddy – their mission is to help you reach or exceed your goals. In return, you must make sure you’re honest with your coach about your learning style, preferences, and personality. The clearer they are about your needs, the better your experience will be.


• Growth mindset. Achieving change and personal growth will put you out of your comfort zone. The best life coaches have a growth mindset and will always challenge you to change, to do things that you otherwise would not and to improve. You are capable of incredible things and you need to find a life coach who recognizes that. Otherwise, that person will not be able to maximize your potential and guide you toward a truly fulfilling life (Tony Robbins website).


Make 2024 your year. Maybe a coach will help you get there,

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