One reason coaching is so effective is that a coach can help you see possibilities you missed and seize the opportunities those possibilities bring. Most people are caught up in their everyday lives, so focused on what they are that they can't see what they could become.

Ara Parseghian, the renowned coach of the Notre Dame football team, said, "A good coach will make his players see what they can be, rather than what they are."

How does the coach do this? In three primary ways.

Firstly, a good coach sees the possibilities in a client's strengths. This takes some insight on the part of the coach; they can also have the person take a test, as I encourage my clients to do. Tools such as the "DISC profile" or the test included in the book, Now Discover Your Strengths, are good tools to help you help others see their strengths. Sometimes people stop seeing their strengths and focus on overcoming their weaknesses. They stop seeing the potential victories their strengths could bring to their lives and careers. It is our job as coaches to help them see those victories.

Secondly, a good coach reminds the person that where he is now is not where he will always be. The other day, I said to a gentleman who has been out of work for a year, "Remember, you will be in work a lot longer than you are out of work." You could see the stress drop from his face. He had begun to see himself as "out of work." I helped him to see that the majority of his life is going to be spent as "in work." This is simply a matter of helping others see the possibilities of what they can become.

Lastly, a coach encourages people to take the risks needed to become what they can be. Sometimes it takes a person to believe in you to get you to move. That is what the coach is: someone who believes in you and thus gives you the courage to take the risks. At the age of 25, I was taken under the wing of the CEO of a $25 billion corporation. The most powerful thing he did was to tell me he believed in me. People are much more likely to take risks when others whom they respect tell them they believe they can do it.

See the possibilities, give them hope, and believe in them--those are things that make coaching effective!


Chris Widener is the president of Made for Success.