A Client and a Coach’s journey through Coaching remains a mystery for most people who have not been in Coaching. To shed light on this, I sat down with a Healthy Gamer Coach and their client to discuss their experiences. We talked about the client's goals coming into Coaching, how it affected them, what the Coach thought about the sessions, and how Coaching changed their life.
Note: All identifying information in this blog post has been anonymized to maintain the client’s and coach’s privacy.
Client’s Goals and Experience in Coaching
How did Coaching help the Client?
“That’s difficult to answer because there were a lot of things that I wanted to change or improve in my life”, answered the client. “I was introverted, shy, lacked confidence and self-esteem, and wanted to use Coaching to improve those aspects of my life. Moreover, as I was doing Coaching, I realized that there were many problems in my life that I did not know about, and I wanted to solve those too. Coaching was very insightful and it helped me understand myself better.”
“I am a lot more confident than I used to be. I have been able to do things that I did not think I could do earlier. When I started Coaching, I didn’t have a job and I did not know what I wanted to do. I was super lost in life. Now, I am working in my dream job. I have also gained the confidence to go to interviews and handle my anxiety better in all these new situations. Coaching really changed my life.”
What did the client’s progress in Coaching look like? Were there any milestones?
“That’s a hard question to answer since changes were very gradual”, said the client. “A few months into Coaching, I realized that my self-esteem was a lot better. I felt a lot more confident, and I started to do things that I did not dare to do earlier, such as going to job interviews. I was able to be normal and relaxed. That was very hard for me in the past. The change within happens slowly and gradually, and its not something you actively realize when its going on.”
“I remember that in our first round of Coaching, the client was trying to figure out what they wanted to do”, said the Coach. “There was a time where you were doing a bit of everything and didn’t know what to do.”
“Yeah, I was very lost”, the client nodded.
“Now they’re much less lost. That is an obvious change and its great to see.”
“I didn’t realize this too much, but I was very scared of going out on my own”, added the client. “Now I go to work every day, go shopping on my own every few days and do all my appointments on my own. Sure, I sometimes feel anxious but its definitely a lot less bad than it used to be. I also know how to handle it better.”
“It’s also about knowing why you have the anxiety”, the client continued. “When I get anxious, I ask myself why I feel anxious. Then I realize the cause for my anxiety and think more about it, and somehow the anxiety diminishes. Over the course of Coaching, I went from being scared to go out to going out everyday. I have a job and everything. It is a huge improvement that I didn’t really realize.”
“I remember, you had to make a phone call, and it was excruciating”, the Coach remembered.
“Yes, and now I make phone calls everyday!”
“Lots of times, we start a session by talking about a particular problem that the client is facing”, said the Coach. “However towards the end of the session, we end up somewhere completely unexpected, but also come to an understanding. That’s the great thing about Coaching, you never know what you’re going to come to understand. You may think its X but its actually Y.”
“Exactly!”, exclaimed the client. “Sometimes it feels like we’re going somewhere else, but its not somewhere else. Its actually the right place — you just don’t realize how it is connected to the problem. That's what I mean about understanding yourself. Its very complicated and Coaching really helps you unveil everything in your mind.”
The Coach gets a snapshot into the client’s life every week. Were there any changes they noticed over time?
“I would feel that a win happened every time we could develop a semblance of understanding”, answered the Coach. “Its not always easy or clear how to measure outcomes or progress. I remember when my client told me that they got a job, and also when they were able to go out and not feel anxious. They also told me that if they felt anxious, they were able to handle it much better than before. Generally speaking, change is quite gradual.”
“Approximately 12 weeks into the client’s second round of coaching, we were talking about how the client was wronged, but placed the blame on themself”, the Coach added. “That was an aha! moment for both of us.”
“Yeah exactly!”, exclaimed the client. “Those kinds of things happen very frequently, which is what I mean when I talk about understanding myself.”
Did the client have any reservations about starting coaching? Did those doubts change in the first few sessions?
“I had some doubts about Coaching starting out”, the client said. “I was wondering how it would work, since I heard heard that there are no professional requirements to being a Coach. I don’t think you need to have a psychology degree, they cannot diagnose you or provide medical treatment, etc. But at the same time, I have been to many psychologists in my life, and Coaching has provided me with something that many psychologists have not.”
“It is a place to be myself and be an open book. If someone is looking for a diagnosis then Coaching is not for that. But if you need a place to be supported, understood, and to help you with your problems and daily life, then its perfect for that. It’s amazing and life changing.”
Did Coaching help in ways that the client did not expect it to?
“Yes, definitely”, said the client. “Earlier I didn't realize how helpful it was to talk with someone without having any worries. Also, I didn’t plan with this, but it helped me understand myself, which helped me see more things that I didn’t know about, but in the end they ended up being super important.”
What is Coaching? How Does it Work?
According to the Coach and client, what is Coaching?
“Coaching is many things.” answered the client. “It’s a safe space for me to talk about anything, which is necessary for anyone. It is a place where I can unwind and vent, and have someone listen to me and understand me.”
“The most important thing Coaching taught me was how to understand myself”, the client added. “I think one of the biggest reasons we have all these problems is because we don’t understand our emotions. We don’t understand what we’re feeling so it’s very hard to manage our emotions. Coaching taught me to understand what I’m feeling, and as a result, I can handle those feelings better.”
“I think Coaching is about helping people develop an understanding of themselves”, said the Coach. “Understanding is an umbrella term, and I think Coaching is about understanding more than just emotions. It is also about understanding why they think the things they do. It’s about understanding values, beliefs, thoughts, and anything that might come up. As a coach, I try to dig into those as much as I can.”
“Coaching is also a great source of support”, added the Coach. It is the time to be one’s self and decompress. It’s like opening a can of beans and spilling it on the carpet. It doesn’t matter if you make a mess, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t want to clean it up. That seems to be very helpful to the clients.”
What is the difference between Coaching and Therapy?
“Coaches offer a unique understanding of the client because they belong in the same culture as the clients”, said the Coach. “In my experience, psychologists and psychiatrists often tend to not have a baseline understanding of who their clients are, what they might be going through, what their headspace is like, and what experiences they might have had. I have had shared experiences with so many of my clients that I can relate and understand why those would make the clients feel a certain way. That level of understanding is very inviting. I’ve heard clients say that its nice to be understood.”
“I had a client who used to play Call of Duty a lot, and I used to play COD back in the day too. I made an analogy using the game, and the client told me that was the first time they felt understood.”
“Most psychologists or psychiatrists I’ve seen are pretty old compared to me”, said the client. “You could say that it doesn’t matter, but I think it does. We think differently and see things differently. Coaches are of similar ages as their clients, are going through similar things, and can relate more to our issues. Many psychologists don’t understand what I’m talking about. They tend to want to find a diagnosis, give me some tests, and then tell me to go to a psychiatrist to get meds. But what I really needed was someone to talk with, express myself, and have a safe space. Having that space to unwind is a basic necessity in my opinion, and most people don’t realize that.”
What is the difference between what happens on the HG Stream and what happens in Personal Coaching?
“Generally, when people watch the stream, there is an expectation of a moment of catharsis, because it has happened so many times”, said the Coach. “Its also a meme at this point, and Dr. K sometimes even asks the guest if they want to cry. He acknowledges that the viewers would love that. However, every time you go into a Personal Coaching session, you don’t have an expectation of what’s going to happen. There is no twitch chat and nobody is watching you.”
“When I watch Dr. K do an interview with someone, they always go very deep into everything”, said the client. “It runs for 2 hours, and it feels like everything has been unveiled about that person. They really dive into that person’s life very fast, probably because this is a one time interview. However, Coaching is planned to work over months, not in one session. You can’t expect Coaching to be like an instant cure for something, even though it might seem like that when you watch stream. Coaching facilitates gradual improvement.”
“In my experience, some people come in with an expectation about Coaching, and that tends to be a point of resistance that we work through”, said the Coach. “In Dr. K’s stream, he makes a lot of 500 IQ plays and figures things out to create moments of understanding. Dr. K figures out paths for the guests quite often. But in Coaching, we tend to let the client do the work in terms of figuring out where to go.”
Who are the Coaches?
What are the background and qualifications of the coach?
“I meandered a bit and eventually got a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology”, said the Coach. “I also have the shared experience of being addicted to video games, which is something clients sometimes like to ask about. I eventually overcame that addiction. I have also gone through the Coach Certification and I use what I learned to help my clients. Dr. K taught us particular techniques and then we practiced them with free Coaching clients to solidify our foundation.”
Did the client think that the Coach was qualified to help them?
“If I’m honest, I never really thought about it”, answered the client. “I knew that Coaches had gone through a training process, and that Dr. K taught them. I just thought it might be helpful. I didn’t really care too much about qualifications. However, after starting Coaching, I realized that my Coach was definitely qualified to help me because I started to feel the benefits myself.”