Life coaching is one of the fastest growing industries next to information technology, but there are also many misconceptions about life coaching. It’s an industry that people either love or hate, and this is mainly due to misconceptions. If you were to ask one hundred people off the street what coaching was, you would get a variety of different answers. The majority of people confuse consulting, coaching, and counselling, and it’s not because they all start with the letter C, but to someone who is unfamiliar with coaching practices, the distinction can be hard to make. For some time now, I have been avoiding writing this post purely because; I’ll be just another coach talking about coaching. However, I now realise there’s a bigger issue at play: expectations versus reality. For those of you who are looking for a life coach, it’s important to understand what life coaching is and what value it can bring to your life. This post isn’t an attempt at shameless self-promotion but rather, an opportunity to provide you with a tool to help you make a great choice when looking for a life coach. So, what is life coaching?
You’re probably wondering how long coaching takes to work, what happens when you commit to coaching and what you can expect to achieve. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about coaching.
What is Life Coaching and What Does a Life Coach Do?
As a life coach, I help you get more out of life. In essence, I help close the gap between thought and action. For example, if a client came to a coach and said ’I feel like I am stuck in a rut, I am just not getting the most out of life’. In that situation, a great life coach would help the client to determine which areas they’re feeling stuck. The coach would also help the coachee understand what is currently working, what is holding them back, identify any potential key areas that may need improvement, and work together to create a plan of actionable steps, so the client can move on to create the life of their dreams
How Does a Life Coach Achieve This?
The role of a coach is not to give you the all the answers. A life coach is not an expert, and this is where life coaching differs from consulting. A consultant, in essence, has the answers and gives them to you; this means you are limited by a consultant’s knowledge and life experience. Life coaching does not have this limitation; you’re only limited by a coach’s curiosity and ability to ask thought-provoking questions. Life coaches all share the same fundamental belief about human potential. As a life coach, I believe that you have all of the potential and the resources you need to create the life of your dreams, you are the expert on your life. In its purest form, a coach is a cheerleader, someone who sees your potential and believes in you and your ability achieve your goals, even if you currently doubt your abilities. It’s a life coaches job to listen actively without judgment, to question, to challenge, to inspire commitment and to enable you to see what you really want to do and what action you need to take for you to more forward. It’s the coaches job to simply guide you, by listening and asking open questions, which engage your awareness, creativity and motivation.
A life coach does not have any attachment to outcome, unlike a stakeholder in your life, such as friends or family. A good coach should be very objective, but in the kindest possible way, have no invested interest in the goals you set, the decisions you make or the course you take, as long as they are the right decisions for you, and you are not submitting to the expectations of others. The only role a life coach has is to make sure any action you take or decisions you make, are the right decision for you, and enable you to move on and create a life you love. A life coach will also hold you accountable for the decisions you make and the actions you commit to during the sessions. A life coach will challenge you and if you fail to take action a life coach will want to understand why; this isn’t just an excuse to kick your butt. This accountability aspect of the coaching relationship is to aid your understand about why you aren’t moving forward, so the coach can help you overcome obstacles and achieve your goals. Coaching sessions are designed so that you walk away with all of the key skills to keep creating your life long after your sessions are over.
In any given life coaching session, as a client, you should feel like you are doing the majority of the talking and the coach should be actively listening, and asking through provoking questions, and taking notes. This is where life coaching can appear to be similar to counselling; however, counselling is about looking back and picking up the pieces so you can start again. Counselling is great if you need to work through a few major life issues. Life coaching is not concerned with your past; it looks to the present and future to keep you moving forward.
Do Coaches Record Their Coaching Sessions?
Some life coaches will record their sessions, and if they do so, they need to inform you and ask you to sign off a consent form. Recording coaching sessions can be beneficial for the life coach to look back over the session and take more notes, and will give them more insight to help you achieve your goals. Recording can also help with fine-tuning a coach’s skills.
What Is a Complimentary Session and Why Do Coaches Offer This?
A life coach will also offer a complimentary coaching session. This session should not be free coaching because you will need to establish whether you feel comfortable working with them as a coach. Coaching is relationship based; you need to feel like you can trust, feel comfortable, and want to work with them. At the end of a complimentary session if you feel that you are not a good match for your coach, that’s ok. It’s important that you do not feel obligated to buy a coaching programme at the end. This is something that I cannot stress enough, you need to find a coach who is good match for you. As a coach, I’ve had to refer clients on to other coaches because I realised that the client and I were not a good match.
Is Coaching Right For Me?
A lot of people who are looking for coaching tend to want to know whether a coach can get them the results they are after. While, this is a good thing to be concerned about, a great coach can only help you achieve the results you are after if you are willing to do the work. To assess your commitment to achieving your goals, ask yourself the following two questions; fast-forward to ten years in the future, will you regret not achieving this? On a scale of one to ten, rate the level of regret you would feel?
If you are committed to achieving results but do not know where to start or would like the support of someone who believes you have what it takes to get the results you want, then coaching is a perfect fit for you.
My Approach to Life Coaching
As a coach, I observe the co-active coaching method; just as I have described above. As a coach, I ask my clients questions that are thought provoking and allow the client to find their own solutions because I believe that you know yourself better than I ever could, and you already have the answers; you just need support and to be challenged. I rarely give advice, and if I do, it’s only to help you brainstorm solutions. I know this sounds super frustrating, but there is a good reason for this; your brain loves a good puzzle and is capable of finding solutions, life coaching is not about creating dependent clients, but helping clients reach their potential.
Below is a list of things I aspire to be as a coach, things I will do, and things I will not.
As a life coach I will be:
- 100% committed to your success
- Available in between sessions for free email coaching to keep you continually supported
- Constantly inspire and motivating you along the way
- Giving you a completely confidential service
- Be your cheerleader or a hand to hold
- Offer unconditional support throughout the coaching process
- Always provide creative ways of helping you
- Believe in you even when you don’t
As a life coach, I will endeavour to:
- Help you make decisions and gain clarity
- Help you understand what you want out of life
- Help you maintain motivation and stay focused
- Help you to develop techniques to cope with the pressure and stresses of life
- Enable you gain insight and awareness about how your world works.
- Enable you set goals and determine your values, beliefs and identity
- Enable you understand how and why you think and feel the way you do
- Above all, I listen to your issues and goals and then enable you to solve them and achieve them.
As a Life Coach, I will not:
- Patronise you or make value judgements
- Promise what I can’t deliver
- Give you all the answers, but will help you decide what you want for yourself.
- Predict your future, perform miracles, cleanse your aura, or rearrange your furniture
Thank you for reading this long blog post, I really appreciate you reading, commenting, and sharing. Now, I’d love to hear from you. What is your take on life coaching? Have you undertaken life coaching sessions? I would love to hear your story, share your story in the comments box below.