What is Life Coaching?
Life Coaches and Life Strategists, are usually people with a passion for learning and sharing life-skills; and for helping other people achieve their full potential.
They can help you manage your life, and your life’s challenges, in an objective manner; and give you tools and structures to achieve this. Structures are techniques and tools, to remind you, and ensure you, do, or not do something.
Yet a Life Coach would be very aware of human dynamics, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. He or she would take into account your emotions, and likely pitfalls, in devising this plan with you.
A Life Coach can be of support during a major life change; whether you already know the end goal; or you still need to define what needs to change. A Coach will help you define the end goal clearly; lay down a plan to get there, and support you along the way.
A Life Strategist, on the other hand, is a Life Coach who as you outline your future life-vision and set a plan of how to get there. A life strategist’s job is to ensure you create a balanced vision, and a solid road map to achieve it. It may include, finding out your life passion, and/or your life values, to ensure that your future life is aligned with your highest purpose.
Life Coaches and Strategists are not limited by the client’s self-bias and perceived limitations. Therefore they can challenge the client to set higher goals and visions. They usually have gone through similar experiences themselves, and learned various structures and life-skills, to apply in different life situations.
Life Coaching, can also assist you, to see the situation from different perspectives, and come up with alternatives, you may not have considered on your own.
The Client’s Role in Coaching
In the end, Life Coaching is only as effective, as the commitment of the client.
The client needs to be ready and willing, to do something different. Nothing will change, if you, simply attend the sessions and changes nothing in your life. As with all change, it will come with some fear and trepidation, and also resistance from others close to you. A resourceful Life Coach will take you through practical exercises, to overcome these fears, and prepare yourself for the push back from others.
All actions are agreed upon with the client, and nothing is forced on him or her. However there must be a willingness to try something new and do things differently, otherwise, nothing can change.
Can I Coach Myself?
Yes, of course, you can! Many of us do, to one extent or another; and some are more successful at it than others. We are self-coaching, whenever we spend time, planning the direction of our life; working on improving, or changing something in our life; or when we are looking back, and taking corrective action.
So how would a Life Coach add value?
- We all have our strengths and weaknesses. We cannot be experts in everything, in all the challenges life throws at us. Sometimes we encounter that one thing, where we are completely at loss. Our friends and family are not much help either, and we feel out of our depth. This may be the time to get external help.
- Not everyone has had the chance to research, and experiment, effective life skills. A Life Coach’s business and passion is exactly that. A well selected Coach would have gone through the related research, and practice, for themselves, or for his or her clients.
- Enrolling a Life Coach could be a way of ensuring, you dedicate time to an issue, on a regular basis, and not let it slip.
- Objectivity. We are sometimes so enmeshed in our problem; the emotions attached to it; what our family and friends think about it; etc.; that the more we start moving towards a particular direction, the more we feel we should be doing the opposite. A Life Coach can help you see the situation more objectively, and see more clearly how our unique being wishes to approach it.
- One of the key roles of a Life Coach is to hold you accountable. The Life Coaching process usually includes agreed tasks, which the client has to complete between sessions. In each session, you would report progress and move forward from there. Most people find this useful to make them take action.
What to Look For When Choosing a Life Coach
If you are looking for a Life Coach, use their website, and your first session with them, to find out, as much as possible about the below.
- What they specialise in – As we saw above, there are many different types of coaching areas. Choosing a Coach, who has had similar experience in the area you want to address, will be priceless. It will mean the Coach would have had various clients with a similar issue, and approached the problem in different ways. A genuine Life Coach will usually get a brief understanding of your situation, before deciding whether to not to take up your case.
- Make sure you feel comfortable working with the Life Coach. Working with a Coach means you must feel accepted and understood. They must share your values. You also want to trust the Coach to want your best interest, and be able to guide you.
- You may need a couple of sessions with the Coach before you can fully judge this. The Coach must be aiming at a practical, step by step plan, of how to get you from here to there. Some Life Coaches just use the vision of your goal, and a lot of powerful words, to get you there.
- Having invested time and money in a good coaching course shows a certain level of commitment. However, no amount of training will make up for the lack of passion and understanding of life challenges.
- Their life story. In most cases, a Life Coach will share their story, on their About page on their website, as this is known to be a key factor in coaching. If not, you can prepare some questions for your first session – Why did they choose this occupation? Why does he or she feel he can help you with your challenge? How does she or he plan to work with you?
- Check their reviews. Unfortunately, most Life Coaching reviews are anonymous. However, unless their website is a complete hoax, it is unlikely they would post fake ones.
The Ripple Effect on Your life
Needless to say, all the areas in our life, affect each other. A positive change in your career may affect your relationship, your income, and your overall happiness. If you stay in a de-motivating job for too long, it may affect your health.
Taking action, as soon as possible, will at best reduce the negative effects on other areas of your life.
The skills you learn to deal with this situation might be applicable to other issues in your life, now or in the future.
When speaking to a Life Coach, you are more than likely, to learn at least one useful life skill, you did not have before. What if you learned how to make better decisions? Or a great technique to handle your fears?
However in some cases, it goes beyond that, and you see wonderful transformations in your client, and his or her life.
The biggest effect I have seen with my clients is when we work on their self-esteem. Imagine how life can be transformed, when one feels better about themselves and starts relating to the world with more self-respect. Imagine how that can change relationships, job success, lower anxiety, and more.