Life coaching is a strategic collaboration or partnership between coach and client that catalyzes change, transforming thoughts and ideas into action. Coaching is a process for clarifying the gap between where you are today and where you want to be, and then designing an action plan to close that gap.
A coach acts as truth-teller, independent observer, cheerleader, and accountability partner. One of the basic principles of coaching is the assumption that the client has the intrinsic ability to determine and achieve their goals. A coach does not give advice or tell you what to do. By asking powerful questions that challenge you to think deeply, a coach helps you to focus, to consider other perspectives and possibilities, to strategize, and to draw out the answers that are already within you.
Just as a professional sport coach helps athletes at all levels tap into their potential and raise the level of their performance, working with a life coach can help you to access a greater range of your strengths and talents to take your life to the next level. Coaching can provide that extra ‘edge’ you need to reach higher levels of success, fulfillment, and satisfaction.
Working with a professional life coach can help you to:
- Clarify your goals, priorities, and values
- Maximize your personal and professional potential
- Reignite long-lost dreams
- Plan concrete steps to achieve your goals
- Develop strategies to overcome obstacles (internal and/or external)
- Remain accountable and stay on track with your plans
- Increase your self-confidence and courage
- Sharpen your focus and commitment
- See your situation from fresh perspectives
- Recognize and articulate the best path for you
- Learn to listen to and trust your intuition, or that ‘still small voice’ within
- Accelerate personal growth, change, and progress
- Identify and eliminate mental blocks and unsupportive habits, patterns, or beliefs getting in the way of your success and progress
Counselors and therapists typically focus on fixing or healing something that is broken. The focus is most often on discovering the past cause of an issue that is causing problems in the present. Typical issues involve relationship conflicts or emotional issues, such as depression, anxiety, anger, grief, addictions, or other mental health concerns. The goal is usually to help the individual reach a state of stability, where they are better able to cope and function.
In contrast, coaching is forward-focused – helping the client to move from where they are in the present to where they want to be in the future. Typical issues that clients bring to life coaching involve finding fulfillment or greater balance, improving professional performance, and achieving personal and/or professional goals. The purpose of life coaching is to help the client create a life that is more closely aligned with their priorities, passions, and values.
Consultants are experts, usually in a specific area or type of business, who are paid to analyze a situation and provide specific guidance and recommendations. Similarly, mentors are authorities in their field who devote time and energy and utilize their experience to develop and guide more junior individuals in the same field.
In contrast, coaching is non-directive, and coaches do not make suggestions or offer advice to their clients. Instead, coaches are experts in the process of change, and they use this expertise to listen and ask powerful questions in order to stimulate thought and deeper understanding, so the client can make decisions and design a plan of action themselves.
Coaching is for people who want to make a change in their life, people who want more (balance, satisfaction, fun, success, productivity, etc…) from life than what they are currently experiencing.
Some of the most common reasons people come to coaching are because they are:
- Feeling ‘burned out’ or overwhelmed by too many demands and an overloaded schedule
- Considering a career change or other major life transformation
- Experiencing a major life transition (ie, divorce, job loss, midlife crisis, empty nest, retirement, etc…) and opening a new chapter of life, asking the question ‘what next?’
- Looking for deeper meaning or purpose, or ways to leave a legacy and make a positive impact on the world
- Feeling stuck and frustrated because they are not making tangible progress toward their goals, or not getting the outcomes they want
- Unsure of how to get from where they are to where they want to be
- Wanting to reach their goals faster
- Needing a push to get outside of their comfort zone
- Feeling blocked by limiting beliefs, unsupportive habits or thought patterns, and/or fears
Essentially, life coaching can cover any area where you want to make a positive change to move forward and improve the quality of your life.
Some frequent topics that clients bring to coaching sessions include:
- Achieving professional or performance goals
- Exploring career options
- Streamlining an overstuffed schedule
- Reducing stress and increasing energy
- Improving health and fitness
- Finding new hobbies
- Overcoming procrastination and boosting productivity
- Managing time and competing demands
- Enhancing relationships and communication skills
- Setting boundaries
- Eliminating limiting beliefs and unsupportive habits
- Clarifying core values and priorities
- Identifying life purpose
- Creating vision and mission statements
- Developing a deeper spiritual practice
- Resurrecting goals and dreams that have been on the backburner
- Increasing courage and self-confidence
- Evaluating opportunities (personal or professional)
Coaching sessions can be conducted in person, by phone, or by Skype, and typically last from 30 – 45 minutes.
An initial complimentary discovery call is designed to get an idea of where you are in your life, the type of changes you want to make, and whether life coaching is a good fit.
Subsequent sessions focus on envisioning your future, setting specific and measurable goals, checking on progress, identifying blocks and obstacles, developing strategies to navigate challenges, changing unsupportive habits and thought patterns, and providing continued motivation and encouragement.
Techniques involve powerful questions to provoke deeper, more focused thinking, as well as “homework” exercises or action steps to keep up the momentum between sessions and to move you towards your goals, or to help you gain clarity about what you really want.