Those of us who are vehicle owners want to make sure our cars will get us through the winter or dog days of summer. Unfortunately, the average person rarely schedules the inspection or gets the tune-up. Service is called when the unthinkable happens: a total breakdown!

Cheryl on the phone with a coaching client

Metaphorically, the same can be said of our former coaching clients. We get that emergency call when nothing seems to work, or they can sense that something is drastically wrong with their parts. The good news? They are confident that we can help with repairs. They come back to us because they know coaching works!

Checking in with your coach from time to time is often viewed as more of a bother or needless expense. Actually, tune-ups are less costly when weighed against the cost of an engine overhaul or replacement. These regular check-ins with the coach can help prevent damage caused by poor behavior, lack of awareness and other factors. Here are five signs that you, a former coaching client, may be overdue for a tune-up:

Occasionally Stalling or Getting Stuck

It doesn’t happen often. Occasionally, you’re not at the top of your game for no apparent reason. It passes. No big deal? Consider finding yourself stuck at a most crucial time in your personal or professional life. You are unable to demonstrate your strengths, to shine. You’re responsible for your own personal brand and reputation. It may be difficult to change a first impression.

It Takes More Effort to Start the Engine

Your energy is low. It is becoming more difficult to get excited and motivated. You’ve lost your spark for the work and it is affecting other parts of your life. Before this gets out of hand, coaching can help.

Hearing Strange or New Sounds

A year ago, folks were singing your praises. Now, not so much. You are receiving feedback that some new, undesirable behaviors are emerging. Understand you are a living, complicated human being. It could be that something is loose and needs tightening. These strange or new encounters are an indication of a potential issue that could get worse.

Brakes Aren’t Working Properly

You leave a meeting saying to yourself, “I can’t believe I said that!” Your self-awareness and empathy quotient are dropping below the desired levels. You are never sure when you might say something you’ll regret later. And, because you don’t trust yourself, you withdraw.

A Warning Light is Flashing

There are indicators in various parts of your life that suggest repair is needed immediately. Some mistakenly believe they have more time than they actually do to sort it all out. They reflect on the earlier coaching received and are confident they can make the needed repairs on their own. The truth is, most issues get worse.

We know that change is constant in our lives. Change complicates how we show up in the world and how we pursue the life we want. We are not cars. But like cars, we are impacted by external and internal forces. The external forces can range from the climate to the conditions of the road we’re traveling on. The internal forces can range from guilt and fear of what others will think to threats of harm, both real and imagined. Regular maintenance is smart. Coaching is rarely a one and done proposition! Semiannual or annual tune-ups with your coach, even if you are budget conscious, is the best investment you can make in the long-term sustainability of your most important vehicle: you!

Cheryl I. Procter-Rogers, PCC Cheryl I. Procter-Rogers, PCC is an ICF-credentialed coach based in Lincolnshire, Illinois, USA. Cheryl specializes in the areas of change management, executive communications, strategic planning, leadership development, business strategy, team building, and work-life balance. You can learn more at

Cheryl is also featured in Erica’s Story from Season 1 of the #ExperienceCoaching video series.