WHAT IS LIFE COACHING?
Nowadays most people will have heard of ‘life coaching’, but not many people know what it means. ‘What is life coaching? Is it the same as therapy? What does a life coach do?’ These are important questions frequently asked.
Simply put, life coaching is a series of conversations had in order to get a client to where they want to be in their lives. Clients can use better judgement, reflect on their decisions, and implement effective strategies when working with a coach. During coaching, a client and coach work together to establish, identify, and clarify the client’s aims or goals, then agree on steps that they will take to achieve them.
Coaching favours the focus of solutions over the analysis of problems.
Through questions and coaching exercises the coach facilitates this, by creating a suitable environment for the client to be able to reflect on what they really need, want, and how best to achieve this. Coaching differs from therapy as it instead focuses primarily on future action. Past experiences and behaviours are reflected upon when necessary, but not to the extent and depth one would experience in therapy.
Coaching is NOT appropriate for treating any mental health issues, for example:
- Severe anxiety
- Psychological disorders
- Personality disorders
Coaching can help with:
- Boredom/lack of purpose
- Clarity – deciding what they want and how to get it
- Confidence & Self-esteem
- Bad habits
- Balance (work/life/stress)
- Career improvement
The type of questions asked during sessions are usually open i.e. ‘what could you do tomorrow to get yourself a step closer to this goal?’ vs. closed. i.e. ‘could you do something tomorrow to get yourself a step closer to this goal?’ Simple and effective at encouraging clients to think independently and productively.
Active listening is fundamental to effective coaching. This means rather than just listening to what is being said and taking clients at face value, it is important to challenge statements or assumptions made by the client when appropriate. As a coach, I will often repeat and summarise what a client has said back to them in order to clarify and encourage the client to reflect on their choice of words and intended meaning. This is particularly effective in drawing out self-awareness and learning, helping the client to think for themselves and reach their own conclusions.
Coaching is NOT advice-giving. When working with clients the assumption I hold as their coach is that they are the most qualified expert when it comes to their own lives, situation, and profession. Meaning they are the best placed to reach their own solutions and strategies. The role of the coach is to work with the client to facilitate change, development, and success by creating the right conditions for clients to achieve this for themselves.
Coaching exercises are great for clients who are struggling to find their own answers or clarity. They can be in the form of structured questions, acting out scenarios, or physically interacting with objects for those who respond better with abstract thinking. The life coaching process will always be supportive but can be tailored and adapted to the specific needs of the individual. The consistent formula is me as your coach getting you to come to your own conclusions around what you want, how to get it, and how to maintain it.
The effectiveness of coaching is very much dependent on what the client wants and whether they are willing to take the necessary steps, not dissimilar to working with a personal trainer in that the input will determine the output.
Still unsure what life coaching is, or think you could benefit from it? The best way to really understand what it is and how you can benefit from it is to experience coaching firsthand. Get in touch for a consultation.