Coaching vs. Self-Help: Which Path to Personal Growth Is Right for You?

February 24, 2022 by Fergie Verantianes


When it comes to personal growth, there are many paths that you can take. You can do it yourself by reading self-help booksor using self-help apps. Another path is to have professional guidance by getting coached. But which path is right for you? In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of coaching vs. self-help and help you decide which route is best for you!

Why the need for personal growth?

As a human, we constantly look for more ways that we can do to become our best selves. Everyone has areas where they can grow and improve, and reaching your full potential requires work and dedication.

It ultimately leads to your need for self-actualization. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we see that self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid. Self-actualization of an individual can be defined as the whole realization of his or her potential, as well as the full development of his or her abilities and appreciation for life. Self-actualized individuals are comfortable with who they are, even when they make mistakes and have limitations. They have a desire to be creative in all areas of their lives.

This is the point at which you become all that you are capable of becoming. To reach that point, you would need a process of personal growth and expansion that leads to a life of fulfillment and happiness.

What is coaching? What is self-help?

In essence, coaching is a partnership between you and a coach that is based on the growth you desire. Together you and your coach will work to set your goals and strategical actions to achieve the set goals. Even when in practice you are working with someone (the coach), the work is focused on you and your growth. Your coachwill be a partner in your success, offering client-focused, personalized service that includes direction, encouragement, and suggestions for resources to help you advance, gain confidence, and continue the momentum.

Self-help, on the other hand, is a do-it-yourself growth effort. You are responsible and accountable for your own growth. However, in the process, you might seek guidance that can support your learning and improvement through self-help books, apps, or following self-help gurusand their podcasts or shows. In this case, the guidance that you have is not really centered on you, but on those gurus or thought-leaders. It is based on their method, beliefs, and path to success. Feeling that their values are aligned with yours, you adapt and follow their path for your own growth.

Is coaching better than self-help?

The short answer is not necessarily. You can do your personal growth with self-help all by yourself, given the perfect tools and a high sense of awareness. Here is the tricky part of self-help, awareness. Oftentimes, we are limited by our reality and not able to see our own patterns. These limitations blind us from seeing what needs to change and our own potential. That's when a professional coach comes in handy. Coachesare trained to notice these patterns, it is easy for them to find what needs to change and plan a set of actions for you to maximize your potential to reach your goals. They help you break away from your usual patterns and your limitations, then navigate the path into a fulfilling life and success. Beyond that, in a group coachingsetting, you get to cross-path with other people with similar goals with which you can share and learn together.

What do we need to go on the self-help path?

It is important to have a high self-awareness when you are going on the self-help path. Knowing what you need, what you want, and what you can do to move forward is the foundational first step towards personal growth. When assembling your own toolkit of personal growth, look for the right messages and content that are aligned with your value. Follow and adapt them to your own needs. Last but not least, you need to have high accountability. A little tip for this is to pick a set of tools that you truly enjoy. Maybe journaling, mindfulness, or daily affirmations. By enjoying the process, it will be easier for you to commit and stick to your personal growth journey and achieve your success.

How do we know we are ready to get a coach?

There are several signs that you may be ready to get a professional coach to guide you on your personal growth journey. One sign is that you feel like you are stuck and you don't know what to do next. A coach can help you identify your goalsand create a plan to achieve them. Another sign is that you feel like you are not reaching your full potential. A coach can help you define your strengths and weaknesses, and help you develop a plan to maximize your potential. Finally, if you feel like you are not living a fulfilling life, a coachcan help you find your passion and live with purpose.

Which path to take?

So, which path you will take for your personal growth? To help you decide, I'm sharing with you a beautiful quote from Carl Jung, "Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."

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