I come from a long line of hardworking German immigrants with a little splash of Irish independence thrown into the mix for good measure, so it was really no surprise while on vacation in an unfamiliar town that I refused to stop and ask for directions when I couldn’t find a particular restaurant.  My friend who was riding shot-gun said, “There’s a great place to get some help” and sadly watched out the window as I drove right past.  Several miles and about twenty minutes later, my hungry daughter who was in the back seat and knows me well decided to take matters into her own hands and texted her Daddy to get the right directions.  A little miffed, I said, “I knew that’s where it was!”  And we turned around and drove right there.  I admit it now–I needed some help.  But we’d probably still be driving if I hadn’t had some friends to help me get on the right track.

I arrived at coaching in a similar way.  It was becoming pretty obvious to those who love me that I was feeling terribly frustrated by a lack of direction.  I felt like the cow pond out in the middle of our pasture—green, stagnant, and more than a little stinky!  Lots was going into me, but not much was coming out.  But, I could handle it myself, thank you very much.  What did I need with some New Age, Oprah-esque experience called coaching?  Thankfully, a friend showed me that coaching wasn’t what I thought, and after more than a little bit of grief (for my poor coach as well as myself), I began to experience the flow of genuine movement as I rediscovered my long forgotten interest in writing.  Whew!  And what a huge relief it was.

A couple of years later, I am seeing that familiar resistance to asking for help in others.  Acquaintances casually ask me, “So … what is this coaching stuff all about?”  Or mention a “friend” of theirs who they think might benefit from coaching.  I do my best to explain the process.  That it is driven by the person being coached.  That it is nonjudgmental.  That it is a safe place.  But it’s a tough sell for some folks.  Here are some of the issues I see as standing in their way:

  • A fear of being too transparent
  • A belief that asking for help shows weakness
  • An unclear understanding of what coaching is
  • A presumption that a Christian who has enough faith can handle it all on his own

The list could probably go on and on.  And I am new to the role of coach.  (Don’t be shocked. But, yes, I admit that I could use some help here.)  What are the oppositions to coaching that you have had to help your potential clients overcome?  How have you dealt with some of the items I have listed or others that I have failed to list?  As a fledgling coach, what can you tell me that will help me to help others see that it’s not a weakness to ask for help?  To borrow from a familiar hymn, how can I help others see that it’s okay to “Come just as you are”—even if that is as a stagnant, stinky, manure-filled (but very stubborn) cow pond?  Help!