What’s the difference between a friend and a coach?

I get this question all the time.
Here’s the difference.

I retain a consultant to assist us with one of my children, on a six month, advance pay basis, at great cost.
A while ago, she cancelled an extremely important meeting one and a half hours before I was due to leave.
I had cleared the entire day to make this appointment, at great expense and inconvenience to me, my family and friends (who jumped in to help with all the stuff I couldn’t do, on the Friday before we were about to leave for vacation. I travel 3 hours for an appointment with her).
Stuff had been happening.
She shortened an appointment a few weeks before, at the last minute again. We move mountains to be able to make these appointments. She had arranged to view a new office. During our appointment.
Lately, she’s not prepared for our appointments, as she used to be.
Lately, she seems distracted, less focused.

Here’s what my friends said:
“She wouldn’t have done this to a new or potential client”
“She wouldn’t have done this if you were paying her by the hour”
“She’s taking you for granted”
“I can’t believe she did this to you”
“I haven’t seen much progress lately, maybe you need something different”
ShesaidIsaidwesaid.

I sent an email based on this advice, and received two highly unprofessional emails in response.
ShesaidIsaidwesaid.

Here’s what my coaching buddies said.
Her cancelling you is a neutral circumstance.
Your thought “this should be important to her” is causing the feelings of betrayal and hurt.
The truth is “it’s not important to her”.
They helped me find replacement thoughts:
“This is just what she does”. Ah, calm. It’s not personal.
“This is important to us” Ah, clarity.
“We can take steps to meet our needs”. Ah, strength.

My friends were in my game*. Lovingly, sympathetically sharing my pain and disappointment. Helping me with what needed to be done. Suggesting what I should do to solve the problem.
As they should be.

My coaching buddies were outside my game*. They didn’t enter my story. They helped me find my belief that was causing the pain and disappointment. Compassionately coached me to turn it around.
As they should do.

From a place of calm, clarity and strength (from my coaching community), and love and support (from my friends), I switched consultants.
This outcome was inevitable.
Here’s the gift that coaching gave me:
This was a deeply personal relationship, and I effected the change with absolutely no drama, and with lots of love.
For all of us.

(This post is dedicated to Rowdys  Katie, Susan, Kira and Meadow – for your compassionate coaching when I really needed it)

*Thanks to  Meadow Devor for this analogy. Just as you would hire a coach to help you perform at your peak in a sport you want to excel in (to avoid risking your friendships), so you hire a coach to help you maximize your performance in life.

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About Forever Free with Bev Aron, Certified Weight Loss Coach

I work with emotional eaters who desperately want relief from emotional eating, but can't seem to do it on their own. They know they need to eat less and move more, but can't figure out why they aren't doing it. My specialty is showing them the why and the how. I also work with parents who are worried about their children's weight. I help those parents encourage their children to have a healthy body image and a healthy relationship with food.
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