This is a line occasionally used in therapy and counselling to differentiate the various stages and outcomes of the work. It can apply to coaching too and sometimes highlights a common trap some people get into when they first consider coaching.
The initial stage of a coaching relationship, which involves discussing the current situation (and sometimes issues and problems), often serves to make you feel better. This might be in part because you have been considering coaching for some time but have just summoned up the time/courage/energy to get started. Having that first conversation can feel like a positive "phew!" moment. Having someone to listen to you, who is interested and focused specifically on you and your situation, can be a revelation, overwhelming for some, and a huge relief to others. Whilst this can sometimes be difficult, for most people, this provides a feeling of well-being and a sense of feeling better. However occasionally, perhaps if the timing isn't right or because of other problems, the person doesn't move on from this stage - which is to think about their goals, the changes they wish to make and to doing things differently. Instead what happens is the person keeps reverting back to further "problem talk" and strongly resists thinking about possible options or solutions. Engaging in problem talk makes us feel better but it doesn't help us get better or improve or change the situation.
When we move into the 'getting better' stages the real work is beginning. This is the stage when you are focused on your goals, on creating new possibilities and the sometimes difficult task of doing things differently and sticking to it. This stage involves defining the changes, the goals or the future you are looking to achieve. It involves getting 'out of your head' and getting into action. It risks you being out of your comfort zone, being uncomfortable and risking failure. It also risks you succeeding, achieving your goals, changing your situation - what might that mean to you? How will that change other relationships, your lifestyle, your expectations? This stage is all about growth and development - it's where you succeed in moving from A to B - it's where things get better.
Often making changes is the easy bit. Maybe you have determined upon a brilliant new way of managing your time and workload better, or have improved your skills in dealing with difficult people. You may be itching to get cracking. As we all know, sticking to those plans, good intentions or the assertive 'new you' can be the hard part. This stage is where the changes you are making become consolidated and more habitual. It can take time and certainly takes sustained effort. Coaching helps you to find appropriate ways to keep going, help you develop effective strategies and support you through the process.
To embark successfully upon any change, a readiness to move on from the initial "feel better" stage is essential. If you're considering coaching, ask yourself whether you are ready and committed to accepting support and challenge to find your own solutions and put them into practice. If you sense that you are seeking a coach to fix things or do your thinking for you, coaching is probably not right for you at this time.
Find out if you're ready for coaching with my short assessment: Are You Ready For Coaching?