Sure, books are great and there are no shortage of ‘self-help’ books on the market that have the potential to change how you see the world. I’ve read lots of them, I know this is true.
My own experience with books has been good, in fact it was partially through reading that I realised being a coach was my path, but I’ve realised the majority of people don’t take away what they need from a book to sustain the change they’re looking for.
Here’s what I believe goes on:
People have a sense of a problem and buy the book they believe will help. They half do the exercises, practice for a short space of time and then they give up because they don’t see any results or they see another book with another approach / answer and place the book on the shelf with the other ‘shelf help’ books.
Let’s deconstruct this:
People have a sense of a problem and buy the book they believe will help: Consider this – People are unique, and you know that buying a ‘one size fits all’ shirt isn’t going to fit perfectly.
We half do the exercises: I believe doing the exercises will make a difference, even if it’s not a perfect solution, but people do them in their head or tell themselves they’ll come back to them later and then never do.
We practice for a short space of time then give up because we don’t see any result: Chances are that you’ve been doing what you do for a long time. Changing it isn’t going to be like flicking from Amazon Prime to Netflix. We live in a fast-paced world and people expect deep personal change to be fast, but it’s usually not. The reality is you need to practice this new habit or ritual daily until it’s second nature. Know that sometimes you’ll forget, you’ll fall off the horse… you just need to get back on.
The other less obvious consideration is whether you set realistic success criteria, so you’d recognise when you make improvements.
We see another book with another approach and place the book on ‘Shelf help’: Building on the idea above, people don’t believe change should be that hard. They tell themselves all sorts of things and they convince themselves it must be wrong in some fashion, so they invest another £7.99. And, at that price point you’re unlikely to have buyer’s remorse if it doesn’t work out and the relatively small investment doesn’t ignite the psychological effect of loss aversion. Rinse and repeat.
Working with a coach is different. The initial investment will be more than £7.99, although you will be working with someone who’ll know more than what you can get from a book and they will be able to guide you to the appropriate answer or better still the right question. A coach will ensure you do the exercises, think about the goal and the reason you’re doing it. They’ll help you define the habits you need and how to integrate them into your life so that they stick. Coaches also encourage and believe in you, where a book never can.
I believe that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got. If you want to create your future and change it from its default path, then you need to begin following those exercises and practice daily. Alternatively, you could invest in a coach, and you might just be surprised at what happens in your life.