What is Life Coaching?
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines life coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Coaching of this type is also sometimes referred to as personal coaching.
What are the benefits of working with a Life Coach?
As a personal coach, I believe that the coachee, or client, is the expert in what he/she is hoping to achieve and striving for in life, work and their career. As a coach, I supplement the clients’ inherent knowledge of what they want to achieve, by using proven techniques that aid them in reaching the goal or goals they have set for their future. I do not tell the client what to do, but instead, will actively listen, and ask powerful questions to bring to light the vision they have for themselves. I support the client in taking steps to make each goal a reality and as a team, we brainstorm and strategize to identify possibilities as well as potential obstacles in the journey toward their success.
What actually happens during the Coaching session?
During a coaching session, I am fully attentive and actively listening to what the client says, how it is said and what they are leaving out. I am able to intuit the clients’ emotion and will reflect back what I hear, so they can identify the truth in what they say. I ask powerful questions to bring clarity and focus. I will partner with the client when they are ready to take action in reaching their goals. I do this by providing a safe and confidential environment of support and accountability.
How is Life Coaching done and how often?
Coaching can be done through my free conference line or via skype or in person and usually takes place through scheduled weekly or monthly sessions for a term of 3 months or more. Different session types are either personal, one-on-one sessions or in a group setting.
Can you contact your Coach between sessions?
Clients can follow up and check-in at any time to share wins, successes, insights or challenges by email or phone as needed. Before each scheduled session I ask my clients to take a few minutes to fill out a session preparation form to identify challenges, opportunities, and the focus for that specific session.
How long will it take to address the challenges a client is facing?
Typically, client & coach commitment is 3-6 months, as clients are introduced to tools that can be used both during that time and beyond the coaching sessions. Many clients experience exponential growth and find coaching to be life changing and therefore, go on to continue the coaching relationship past the 6 month mark.
How can one prepare for Life Coaching?
The best way to prepare for Life Coaching is to focus on self-care. I suggest that clients begin by making small changes to habits that no longer serve them and to shift to new patterns and actions that support fulfillment. Doing so, allows the client to have a foundation by which to take on new, healthier habits such as adding better nutrition, becoming more physically active and simply having time for personal reflection and "me" time.
How Life Coaching be incorporated into one's schedule?
Coaching sessions usually take 45 minutes, but can be as short as 30 minutes or go beyond 1 hour. I work with clients to identify how action items identified during coaching sessions can be adopted into their routines. The client makes the final decision on how long each session is and how the action items discussed are to be done. As mentioned above, in order to best prepare for each session, I encourage clients to complete the session preparation form. This helps the client center his/her thoughts and goals before the session begins.
How can I do Life Coaching on a budget?
Payment and the coaching relationship are discussed during our free consultation session. A format that works best for both client and coach, on how to proceed can always be arranged.
How much does Coaching cost?
Professionally trained, certified coaches charge fees in line with other highly trained professionals. Fees vary from coach to coach, and are based on a variety of factors. The fee arrangement is worked out at the conclusion of a free consultation session, taking into account a client’s current situation and goals.
Potential clients often ask: "My life is actually quite good, so why should I hire a Coach?"
The reason I tell them, is that we all have some things that we would like to improve in our lives and we, in the back of our minds, all have those things that we would like to have more of, and of course things that we would like less of! As human beings, we are constantly looking for improvement in some way, shape or form, whether it is consciously or subconsciously. Even if we have achieved certain and great success, according to social expectations, there is always room for improvement and work to be done. If one is able to reflect on his or her life, and sees that a specific area brings a sense of conflict, frustration or disappointment, they can resolve that by partnering with me. The coaching relationship is designed to complement a person’s long term wellbeing, fulfillment and speaks to ones highest level needs. It is a gift that this person gives to himself or herself (not many people do this these days!) and in turn, a gift that this person give to others as a result of their own personal happiness and confidence.
Potential clients also often ask: "I don't know where I want to go or what my goal is in life. So, how can Life Coaching help me?"
The reason I tell them is: By partnering with me to bring to the surface their true core values, beliefs, and the things that bring them fulfillment; we are able to establish the goals and aspirations that they truly seek in their life. By doing so together, clients gain clarity, fulfillment and become the "happy" they seek to be. I "walk with" the client every step of the way, all the while pushing them to create change and take deliberate action.
Doesn’t a Life Coach do what friends and family can do?
There is actually a huge difference in conversations with friends and family vs. a client’s sessions with a life coach. Firstly, the coach acts with complete integrity and the client has the confidentiality that is unlike most conversations with friends or family. The coach encourages solely the goals of the client in a judgment free zone. This recognizes that the client is the expert in his/her life and the coach walks with them by providing that sounding board and the tools that bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. By working with me, clients are able to positively impact and build upon their relationships for their own benefit and in support of friends and loved ones. As the coach, I will act as the advocate for my client, his/her goals and I am friendly, but not the friend. If I feel that certain actions or changes are in some way self-limiting, I will let the client know.
How is life/personal coaching different from therapy, consulting, mentoring or just talking with a good friend?
Life coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advising, or therapy. The coaching process addresses specific personal goals, projects, successes, general conditions and transitions in the client's personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what obstacles or challenges may be present, and choosing a course of action to make the clients life as they want it to be. As mentioned above, Life Coaching is defined by the International Coach Federation (ICF) as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
Therapists work with people who may be in crisis or are suffering from diagnosable conditions such as depression, anxiety etc. They also work with people who may have suffered a loss in their life. The entire focus in therapy is on the past and talking about what got the person to the point at which they currently are. It is about gaining knowledge of the "Why". It is about healing the past and Therapists are licensed to prescribe different treatments in order for their clients to overcome and heal.
Consultants are sought out by many because either an individual, company or business person seeks advice and action items in order to get results. Consultants are experts in their areas and focus on problem solving. They often give direction on what should be done, and what should not be done in order to reach the desired results.
Mentors, like consultants, also tend to be directive in telling their mentees what goals they should have and how to accomplish them. Like consultants, they are most often experienced individuals in a chosen field and are brought in to direct the action of a less experienced individual. The focus of a mentor is mainly focused on new learning and direction, and less on personal fulfillment or personal goal achievement.
Drawing feedback from friends and family in discussing your goals can sometimes be inadvertently shaped by their own personal views on life, work, career and their own idea of you as their family member. In their best attempt to assist you, they have an emotional connection to you that may limit their support of your goals, in an effort to keep you safe or to influence less risk. In a nutshell, they care for you and may be reluctant to tell you to "make it happen" because they may perceive it to be too much of a goal, or their own personal beliefs may influence their support of your goals.
Life coaches use a proven system and various tools to reach the client’s goals and to hold the client accountable. The coach challenges the client to grow, in a judgment free zone and they push their client to do more than they can do. All the while, the coach walks with the client to push, pull and stretch the client in ways that they may be very new to them. To put it simply, unlike a friendship, the coaching relationship is unilateral-It is completely focused on the client, his/her goals. It is not focused on the coach’s personal views, pre-conceived notions, beliefs, the coach’s family or friends, or what he/she did over their last holiday. The coach and client, by partnering together, bridge the gap to where they want to be by discussing action plans, different choices, pros and cons and all the while, the coach listens and searches for the client’s purpose. The coach restates what they hear the client say, and are a continuous sounding board for the client on their road to the fulfillment they seek. Lastly, Life/Personal coaches focus on the "right now, today" and the "What" on how to proceed forward in one’s life, career, and road to fulfillment. They look into to the past infrequently and solely in order to understand possible limitations that could potentially resurface in future action planning. They ask not the "Why" but the "What" and the "How" and as mentioned prior, they honor the client as creative, resourceful and whole and as the expert in their own life and the goals they themselves want to accomplish.