The Importance of Finding a Tribe as a Coach
You had the vision. You did the work. And now your dream of serving others through coaching is a reality. Whether you’re just starting out or have been coaching for years, there’s something really special about building and nurturing your own practice.
However—as many solopreneurs (single-entity entrepreneurs) will tell you—even when the work is at its most rewarding, it can get lonely, too.
See, as a coach, you help people every day live their best lives, and that often includes helping them find their tribe. But what about you? Private practice can be isolating. It’s no wonder why the importance of creating community is a key conversation within coaching circles. But as coaches, we know that intention must be supported by action in order to create the changes we wish to see.
Here’s Why Community Matters
Isolation and loneliness are reason enough to reach out to your fellow coaches, but when you are part of something bigger than yourself—when you feel that sense of belonging and connection—you’re set up for a more holistic kind of success.
You’re more effective. You’re more productive. And, ultimately, you just feel better and more aligned with your passion and your purpose. Decades of research support the notion that we are wired for connection, and without it we falter.
For example, in a recent BetterUp study, The Value of Belonging at Work: New Frontiers for Inclusion, we found individuals who feel a strong sense of belonging, compared to individuals with a low sense of belonging, demonstrate a 56% increase in performance.
In our research on meaning and purpose at work, we found that individuals who share a strong sense of collective purpose and social support, see dramatic increases in personal and professional growth, balance and inspiration.
And you don’t need research to tell you that being the best coach possible depends on connection. A community of coaches offers us a chance to get vital feedback from our peers, as well as new perspectives, insights and inspiration.
A diverse community is the strongest way to ensure we’re not unconsciously living in our own echo chambers, and so much more.
Sounds Great, but How Can You Make Community Happen?
The importance of finding your tribe is of course not a novel idea. However, some things are easier said than done, and actually figuring out how to find your community can be the hardest part. Here are three ideas to get you started:
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
As coaches, we know folks can get caught in a rut. If you’re out of practice making professional connections, look for micro opportunities to connect.
For example, challenge yourself to talk to three new people a day. It can be anybody. If you’re ordering coffee, ask the barista how their day is (and mean it). When you’re at the market, point out something you admire in the person helping you (e.g., “You’re so organized”).
The goal here is to develop the habit of connecting, then you can extend this to coaches as well.
2. Join a Group
One of the best—and easiest—ways to find your tribe is to join a group. There are so many terrific local or online coaching communities out there, from LinkedIn to Facebook to Forbes Coaches Council (which I recently joined myself).
Do a search, find a group, get involved and see what happens. Cross-cultural groups are particularly helpful for gaining new and diverse perspectives.
3. Reach Out
The simple act of reaching out has great power. When you join a group, offer feedback, send an affirming note to a colleague, or make time for a peer, you are actively saying “We’re all in this together.” That confirmation of belonging—no matter how small it might feel on its own—is the good stuff of which community is created.
What Works for You?
After years of private practice, I feel so fortunate to have found my growing tribe of practitioners through my work at BetterUp. I love the autonomy, rigor, and meaning within my work, but need a community to truly thrive. As a busy working parent, I’ve achieved this through trial and error, slowly identifying the strategies that are both effective and viable within the confines of time and space. I suspect many of you feel the same way, and I’d love to hear about the strategies that are working for you!