Need an Ally? Here’s Why One-on-One Coaching Works

Wondering if you could use coaching to take the next steps in your life? Or if one-on-one coaching is even right for you? A life coach can be a powerful support partner, guide, and ALLY. Someone to help you navigate your future and create the life you know you are capable of living. 

An Ally Like No Other: The Hidden Bonus of One-on-One Coaching

Need an ally in your life? I cannot imagine anyone who would not want more.

We usually define allies as people with whom we share a common intent or outcome. 

  • Ally (noun): one that is associated with another as a helper: a person or group who support and help in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle
  • Ally (transitive verb): to combine or unite a resource or commodity with another for mutual benefit.

And we often assume our friends are our best allies. But that is not the case. An ally can even be someone you do not like or who holds values you detest. Especially if they challenge deep, limiting beliefs you have carried around for a lifetime.

The first thing you should know about one-on-one coaching is that you are paying your coach to be an ally—to unite the resource of their expertise with your goals and desires. If a coach does not function as an ally, they cannot in good faith support you and should withdraw and refer you to someone who can. 

In other words, you should fire them.

But before we talk about firing one, let’s talk about why you should hire one!


Coach as Ally: How Allies Differ from Friends

Friends may support our goals and dreams. Allies always do. Their job is to be on your side 100% of the time—even when you want to quit your job working for a big corporation and pursue your lifelong passion for candle-making. (I am not hating on candle-makers! I am just using that as an example of an extreme decision.)

An ally’s job is to be on your side in the bigger picture. They support you to identify and overcome obstacles. For example, you might want to switch from your corporate job to becoming a self-employed potter, which might be a strong move, but an ally helps you explore the “why” of this move and reconsider or set you up for the greatest success.

Can’t our friends do the same thing? It may shock you, but your friends are likely NOT allies. They can actually be enemies to your growth and development. They may not want to see you change, or they can remain closed to seeing you in a new light. They are thinking, “Why can’t you just be happy the way you are?” Your desires may threaten them, though only the rarest might admit it. 

On the other hand, the coach/ally invests in helping you to emerge into an even better, happier, and more effective you. Here, we use the word ally as someone aligned with us succeeding in our ventures and growing into our best selves.

CAN your friends be your allies? Absolutely. Allies and friends are not mutually exclusive. But when you are thinking about expanding your life, changing significantly, or looking at where you want to go and how you want to get there, friends and allies often serve different purposes. Friends stand by you. Allies align around your desires and yearnings that empower you to become a better you.

Forget Outcomes, Focus on Becoming

When I am not happy with the coach/allies I pay, it is incumbent on ME to say what does and does not work. (It is one of the reasons I am so good at getting coaching. I let them know when and how I want something different and what I will and will not do!)

Too many coaches today are outcome-oriented and not emergence-oriented. That means they focus on what you do to accomplish your goal and often miss your yearnings and emerging self. Dr. Richard Boyatzis at Case Western’s research definitively highlights the superiority of vision over goal in accomplishment. Both CAN work together if driven by vision

Focusing on outcomes only leads to short-sighted goals that empower you LESS than visions and purpose. Vision and purpose help you focus on emergence—becoming who you can become, a person who achieves goals by looking beyond them

Emergence happens when you work from the inside out toward your becoming. It is a longer journey, but one that will pay off with better outcomes.

I said it earlier, but it is important, so I will say it again. YOU are in control of this relationship. You are hiring the coach/ally to help you emerge into your best self. If a coach cannot bring things to both your current and your emerging perspective, then they will not optimize both accomplishments and emerging into your best self.

That said, having a coach does NOT mean you just sit back and listen. One-on-one coaching is a relationship where you co-create the experience leading to your growth and learning.

An ally invests in your authentic self, being true to whom you could become—the existential definition of authenticity.


Business Coaching vs. Personal Coaching vs. Life Coaching: What is the difference?

Eventually, all coaching is whole life coaching. The point of departure is the only distinction.

Executive coaching starts in a business. Personal and life coaching can begin with physical health, self-esteem, relationship with your family of origin, connection to your friends and social network, principles and mission, life purpose, and spirituality.

It comes down to who you are and what you are facing inside, as it’s reflected in the challenges you face outside. A coach who is a true ally will guide you to learn and grow into greater unity with your inner and outer lives.

The most important thing to remember is that this coach should be your ally in the truest sense of the word—someone who invests in YOU and your authentic growth and emergence.

You do not want someone you can be so passive that they are able to put their agenda ON you. You want someone who inspires you to engage in your own growth—someone who inspires you to push them to push you.

Are you ready to take the next steps toward living your best life? Explore our coaching resources. You can learn about our Chicago-based life coaches and discover more about our workshops and educational offerings. In addition, we offer courses for download at Wright Now, so don’t miss the opportunity to get ahead in your career, relationships, and life.

Why Am I Not Good at Anything: Finding Your Talent

Does figuring out a spreadsheet make you feel sick? When you cook, do your friends run for the take-out menus? Did you learn early in your life that you were NOT going to be a child piano prodigy, and have you held onto that belief ever since? Here’s why it’s time to let that all go. 

What Makes You So Special? Everything.

So maybe you can’t hold a tune. Or write a novel. Maybe you’re not a natural athlete or a technical genius. And maybe you occasionally find yourself thinking, “I’m just not talented”… “There’s nothing special about me…”I’m not smart enough”…”I’m not organized”…

I’m here to reassure you that yes, yes, you are!

We ALL have talents and gifts. Sometimes they are just less traditional, and they may take some seeking out. But the first thing you must do is move forward, knowing without a doubt that you have a divine role as a human being on this planet.

Your job is to find it and use it. To keep getting better at being YOU. Because that is what the world needs most of all.


Four Truths About You

Several years ago, I went on a spiritual journey to France. I meditated and prayed at ancient cathedrals. I discussed philosophy and divine worship with monks. I explored the countryside.

And as I sat in a café one day, I had a moment of divine inspiration—the idea of Four Loving Truths. (I wrote about them in my book, The Soft Addiction Solution.) I find myself coming back to these Loving Truths time and again whenever I struggle or need inspiration.

They open me up to the possibility of MORE in my life, and I want to share one of them with you here: the Fourth Loving Truth.

Gifts are given to us to develop and use in the divine symphony of life.

Even though there might be days when you feel like you were absent when the gifts were being handed out, you, like the rest of us, have been given them. What are they? This is where the adventure begins.

Because if you find yourself saying that “you’re not good at anything,” it’s time to embrace the Fourth Loving Truth and discover what those gifts are!


Redefine the Word “Gifts” to Discover Yours

Ask yourself: What do you excel at? What skills give you meaning and purpose? What do others appreciate about you? How are you helpful to others? Pause for a moment and make a list of answers.

Often your gifts can be something you wouldn’t normally consider gifts. Perhaps you have a kind heart—a rare gift in these challenging times. Or maybe you have a green thumb. Our planet needs every green thumb there is! Are you a good listener? Everyone needs a good listener in their lives.

Gifts can also surprise you. For example, if you had or have trauma in your life, you have a particular perspective that no one else has. You may have a deep understanding or sensitivity to others from your experiences, or value how people should be treated, or a much-needed empathic viewpoint. Mary Oliver reminds the reader of this in her poem, “The Uses of Sorrow.”

“Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this too, was a gift.”

– Mary Oliver

As a culture, we tend to think of being “gifted” in traditional and obvious ways. But the gift of YOU is unique, nuanced, and 100% necessary to the divine harmony of life. Claim it proudly. However, if you can’t do that yet, simply act as if. Live your life being the best you possible.

I didn’t start my life knowing I was good at something. I began by knowing my purpose, my mission. I wanted to contribute to people and to make a difference. I felt there were things for me to share. So, I invested in learning how to write. I explored how to speak to larger audiences. I took classes, I hired coaches, I practiced. Because these things mattered to me, I asked myself, “How can I get better at them?”

I developed my gift.

Developing your gifts is very different from pre-deciding your gifts. When you develop your gifts, you let them emerge. I didn’t decide I wanted to be a speaker and author. I engaged in my life and listened to where I was inspired. What moved me? What was calling me to lean in further?

I also gathered clues from my childhood. Growing up I would do plays and big shows and put on crazy events for family and friends. When I was doing that, I wasn’t asking myself, “How will this work out? How will it ultimately lead me to my perfect career?” I was 4, 8, 12. I was becoming me by engaging with what naturally brought me joy.

As a child, you’re free to try things without worrying. You can experiment and PLAY without judgment. You can engage with what brings you joy. And if it doesn’t bring you joy, you can stop doing it.

Here’s the good news: you can still do that as an adult!  You can engage in your life to find out what your gifts are. You can play, explore, try things out, and laugh the whole time you’re doing it. There’s NOTHING you can do to mess it up!

So go back to your list of things you excel at and things that bring you purpose and meaning. What’s on those lists that also bring you joy? What matters to you? Circle those things. They’re your gifts starting to reveal themselves!


The Best Isn’t Always What’s Needed

You don’t need to be an opera singer to sing a lullaby to your child. You don’t need to be a math wizard to help your child with their homework. You don’t need to be a best-selling author to write a heartfelt note to a friend.

Being the best isn’t always what’s needed, although it might feel good to your ego.

And if it turns out that you ARE the best at something, celebrate it and find the best usage for that. Develop it. Grow it. Share it.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

– Frederick Buechner

Everybody has different gifts – you don’t need someone else’s gift – that’s theirs! When everyone develops and shares their gifts, everything is covered. You don’t have to know/do/be everything. It is enough for you to just be You.

Close your eyes and imagine a world where everyone develops and utilizes their gifts. Where everyone ‘sings’ the ‘song’ that is theirs to sing. This is the divine symphony of life.

You are the only you that ever was. And the only you that will ever be.  We don’t take that in enough, do we? Unique. Talented. Beautiful. And beloved. A gift.

That’s you.




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