Blog Post: What Difference Does a Coach Really Make? 



I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I was in my twenties before I started brushing my teeth at night.  I brushed every morning (who can stand morning breath?!), but I had just never established the habit of brushing before bed.  That changed with my first cavity and a conversation with my dentist.  In a loving but challenging way, she told me I only needed to brush the teeth I wanted to keep.  I have brushed at night ever since.   

Thank goodness for the dentist!  What a difference she made in my life.  She saved my teeth and saved me from a lifetime of pain, frustration, and poor health.   

I wonder if coaches make that kind of difference.  I think we do.   

While we might not save anyone’s teeth, we definitely make a difference.  Here are three differences coaches make. 

Clarity.  Life is confusing.  Sometimes the speed of change, the novelty of emerging situations, and just the pace of life can keep people in a fog.  Even the best people are moving from one thing to the next quickly, with little downtime, and with far too little opportunity to collect their thoughts, get their bearings, and see things clearly.   

Coaches help blow away the fog.   An hour-long session provides time for the client to focus, breathe, and gather herself.  The coaching relationship prompts the client to shift perspective, change their viewpoint, and get a full look at their life.  With clarity, the client can affirm what is working, notice what is not working, and determine what’s worth the effort to change. 

Confidence.  If I could bottle confidence and sell it, I would be a gazillionaire.  By my estimation, 95% of all my clients in 25+ years of coaching struggle with confidence to some degree.  This is true of pastors, students, multi-millionaires, non-profit leaders, school superintendents, CEOs, and world-class sales professionals.   

So many clients doubt themselves unnecessarily.  Low confidence interferes with how a person lives, experiences life, and the legacy they leave.  Low confidence holds the client back, resulting in them leaving so much promise on the sidelines as unrealized potential.  Needless doubt is wasted energy.  Needless doubt delays action, interferes with forward movement, and downgrades the impact one life can make.   

A boost in confidence boosts one’s quality of life.  Confidence brings some great friends along for the ride: assertiveness, boundaries, courage, vulnerability, and a willingness to grow. Want to make a difference in someone’s life?  Improve their confidence. 

I had a client recently who was struggling with the decision to terminate a longtime employee who happened to be a respected member of the community.  The employee also happened to have misrepresented himself in the application process and had been underperforming for nearly two years.  My client knew what he had to do, but he was uncertain.  Together, we dug into the issue, looking at it from every angle, exploring the emotions involved, looking at the facts, and mapping the things that could not be known.  It was a tough decision and an even tougher action, but our conversation empowered him to move forward with confidence. 

Character.  Every coaching client who is moving forward in life enters a territory for which they are not yet prepared, equipped, or capable.  The coaching relationship helps them get what they need for the next stage of life, and the number one thing clients need for what’s next is character. 

Character is the quality of the person.  Coaches help clients mature in character.  Clients who are moving forward in life must develop the virtues needed for what’s next. They must cultivate courage, grow greater in wisdom, map their moral code, and develop the discipline necessary to live life at the next level. 

Coaches bring intentionality to the character development process, shrinking the virtue curve so the client becomes a higher quality person, more equipped for life’s responsibilities, and strong enough to bear the weight of significance.   

Do you make a difference as a coach?  While you probably do not prevent cavities, you do promote clarity, confidence, and character – three incredibly valuable benefits for every client.   

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