Unbundling Coaching & University Education

Investing in a professional coach can range from as $1K to a hefty $50K. I’m not criticizing paid coaching. In fact, it can be extremely valuable. Paid coaches possess the potential to expedite your professional journey, equip you with resources and frameworks you didn’t know you needed, and unlock networks to broaden your professional horizon.

However, the concept of paid coaching can be akin to the college experience - both are bundled with multiple services. The key question to ask yourself is whether the bundled services are right for you. Sometimes it is better to pick the parts that best align with your ambitions.

Consider today’s university experience. There are five key components: instruction, credentialing, support services, research and development, and networking and social connections.

Instruction traditionally involves a faculty delivering lectures, leading discussions, and providing feedback. However, the rise of online platforms has facilitated a significant shift from physical campuses to remote learning. Students can now access high-quality lectures online, often from the world’s most esteemed institutions, and sometimes even for free.

Credentialing historically has been a stronghold of universities, conferring degrees and diplomas. Now, we witness alternative forms of credentialing emerging, such as digital badges, micro-credentials, and strong portfolios, particularly in design and software development fields where work can be showcased publicly.

Support services offered by universities encompass a range of amenities like career counseling, academic advisement, and extracurricular activities. However, these can also be found through other channels.

Research and development is where universities can significantly contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge and innovation. Even though this is increasingly happening in the public sector, universities continue to play a pivotal role.

Lastly, networking and social connections form an integral part of the university experience. It’s not just about meeting classmates, but fostering relationships that often turn into lifelong alliances. Interestingly, this invaluable aspect doesn’t necessitate hiring a service. Universities simply aggregate a group of individuals, hence creating numerous other possibilities for you to forge such connections independently. Travel, for instance, can provide similar opportunities, although the financial feasibility might be a concern for some.

All of these valuable components don’t necessarily need to be bundled together. If the cost of a college education appears reasonable to a 17 or 18-year-old, then by all means, pursue it. Some disciplines certainly necessitate it. However, if your intended path does not require traditional credentialing or other elements of the university experience, it is worth questioning the relevance of the college path.

Investing in yourself, honing your talents, building relationships, and practicing financial stewardship can form a robust safety net, without the need for a college degree.

Much like universities, paid coaching shares similar features. The merits of hiring a business coach are numerous. A competent business coach can provide personalized guidance, tailored to your unique needs, goals, and challenges. They can pinpoint your blind spots, leverage your strengths, and formulate strategies aligned with your circumstances.

A business coach also serves as an accountability partner, keeping you motivated and focused on your objectives. They offer real-time feedback on your ideas, challenging your thought process and helping you refine your strategies.

Moreover, a business coach, with their hands-on experience and industry expertise, can impart practical insights that might be difficult to acquire otherwise. They can also facilitate networking opportunities, introducing you to relevant contacts, potential partners, and clients, which can significantly benefit your professional journey.

The point here isn’t to undermine the value of a paid coach. However, they aren’t free. Therefore, it’s important to assess the return on investment. If their combined offerings align with your needs, go for it. Otherwise, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of reading great books and watching YouTube.

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