If you have or are thinking about getting a coach, the key reason is almost always the desire for something to be different in your life. Whether it's a promotion or a pivot to a new career, there are two major factors to consider.

You need to identify the differences you want and then to develop the skills and internal capacities to make these differences a reality.

Life is filled with both the desire for the safety and security of sameness (homeostasis), as well as the desire to adventure into new realms (growth). This creates the tug and pull that is at the core of real change. And, just about all change, I guarantee, either strengthens or weakens your relationships.

You want that plum promotion. Your boss doesn't think you are ready. You do. How do you show her you are ripe for the position? Or maybe you have a law degree that was highly encouraged by your dad and yet, you just can't imagine living in that competitive world for the rest of your life. How do you follow your passion?

Human behavior, constantly influenced by the relationships around you, is like having a rope long enough to move forward and yet so strong it won't let go.

You, me, all of us, are conditioned by what we learned as kids. Our reactions become thinking-feeling behavior patterns that we get so used to, we don't think about them very much. Kind of like always brushing your teeth with your dominant hand. No thought, just do.

And then you want to change, want something else, something more. That rope around you becomes too tight. You resist and the rope is ready to hold you there, right at the edge of new discovery.

Real change involves a change in thinking and behavior. You practice different ways of responding. Where you used to get sparked you simply say "I hear you." If you used to go numb you stand up and tell your truth.

You improvise and innovate. That's how change likes it. There is no direct route, no magic pill, it takes time and effort, trial and error.

Anyone who says you can change in a day, a one-time workshop, the read of a short book, smile, thank them, and blow them off. It's just not going to happen.

Here is how you know change is real:

You finally stop tossing and turning at night and find some peace in deep sleep.

You begin to have moments of pure inspiration. New ideas come to you at the oddest moments, like when flushing the toilet or paying a toll.

You smile more and laugh a lot.

You see your parents, all older people, from a larger vantage point with less judgment.

You naturally reach for fruit and veggies and love the taste.

You know you've really changed when you think and behave differently and you feel that difference in your body.

In my experience the kind of life change I'm talking about can be as fast as three months, or take as long as three or thirteen or even thirty years. Depends on how much elbow grease you want to put into the process.

Is it worth it? You decide.