A life coach is someone who aims to help and empower others to make, meet and exceed personal and professional goals. This can include achieving promotion in the workplace, becoming happy and fulfilled in your relationships, or exploring your potential and achieving other ambitions.
Using techniques based on psychological principles and their own intuition, life coaches provide their clients with the tools to face difficult situations and push past any emotional barriers that might be stopping them from achieving their goals.
A life coach will never try to tell you what to do. Life coaching is about objectivity and empowerment; they can’t do something for you but they can help you do it for yourself.
At the centre of it all is the idea that clients are given the power to help themselves. Coaches will not offer advice, give their opinions or pass judgement, but instead guide to an answer. There are some basic principles of life coaching that all coaches should follow:
– Subjectivity: we all have different perspectives, none which are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but some perspectives can be restrictive and can stop a person becoming who they want to be.
– Empowerment: it is within everyone’s capability to adjust their own perspective. With the tools that you learn through life coaching, anyone can learn to open their mind to achieve their goals.
– Guidance: there is a difference between an instructor and a guide. An instructor shows a person exactly what to do, whereas a guide provides the tools and support a person needs to do something for themselves. A life coach is a guide, not an instructor; they will not tell you what to do.
Life coaching sessions typically last between 45 minutes and 60 minutes (depending on the coach you choose). Sessions are conducted over the phone, face to face, over email, via Skype or even through instant messaging.
During the session, your life coach will ask you several questions, such as what you want to get out of life, what areas you want to change and where you see yourself ending up. Although a life coach will work with you, it is ultimately up to you to reflect upon certain ideas or to challenge your own perspective to help you move forward to achieve your goals. You will never be forced to make any decisions you don’t feel comfortable with and all sessions will be confidential, allowing you to explore your thoughts and feelings privately.
Life coaching is a partnership between you and your life coach, who will encourage you to explore how to make positive changes in your life. A life coach will also offer support and feedback to help you to stay focused on your goals and keep you moving forward.
There are many different coaching techniques used by coaches to address different situations, whether it be a relationship goal, personal goal or business goal.
Life coaches can cover all manner of subjects, but some specialise in specific areas. Business coaches, for example, have expertise in the business world and therefore choose to coach people looking to achieve different goals in business. This could include entrepreneurs, company owners, managers or even employees.
One difference between counselling and life coaching is that counselling can investigate the underlying causes of mental health problems, and often focusses on what has happened in your past to help you understand your current issues.
Life coaching focuses more on the future to encourage personal-development and self-improvement to help you achieve whatever goals you are aiming for.
Life coaches are not medical professionals and so are not qualified to diagnose or treat any health-related problems.
Life coaches help their clients in all aspects of life. Your goals don’t have to be monetary or business related, they can be as personal as you like. If you’ve ever struggled with something – learning a language, moving out of your comfort zone, or even sticking to a diet, then talking to a life coach could help you.
A life coach will approach things pragmatically. Through questions and exercises, they will try to get a good idea of how you see the world. From this, they will be able to identify the most effective route to your goal.
You might feel intimidated by the idea of change and so need to take things slower. In this case a life coach might divide goals into smaller bite-sized pieces. Other people might be impatient to make changes, so their coach might introduce stronger incentives to help them reach their goals.
No matter your approach to life, your life coach will tailor sessions to fit you. Life coaches can help you with the following and more:
– Love life – From having the confidence to approach someone, to commitment, to divorce, a life coach can help you understand your live life and help you start improving it.
– Business life – Starting and running a business is hard work. Sometimes we get so absorbed in hard work we neglect ourselves. Life coaches can help with confidence, leadership, decision-making and work/life balance.
– Personal life – There’s so much to see and do in the world, but often a lack of confidence, time and will-power can mean we don’t make the most of it. Life coaches can use their skills to motivate clients to do all the things they want to do
You can have as many or as few sessions as you like. Because many life coaches operate over the phone or via the Internet, the sessions can easily fit around your schedule and can fit into your budget!
Some people hire a life coach once every few months when they have a tough decision to make or they feel like they need a helping hand. Others will have a session once a week to keep them on track long-term with their goals.
Ultimately it is entirely up to you to decide when and for how long you want to see a life coach.
In the UK, life coaching is an unregulated profession, which essentially means anyone can call themselves a life coach. Because of this, it is essential to do your research.
Search online directories to find coaches that have memberships with a professional body and have the appropriate insurance cover and qualifications.
Having said this, qualifications and memberships don’t mean much if you don’t get on with your life coach. Rapport is one of the most important factors of life coaching. If you don’t feel comfortable with your coach, it is unlikely you’ll gain much from the session. It’s a good idea to get in touch with a coach before you book a session. This way you can get a feel of what the coach is like before you commit your time and money. Don’t feel obliged to continue if you don’t want to – this is not a sales pitch, you are choosing someone to help your personal goals so make sure you find someone you’re comfortable with.
There are many resources online where you can find the right coach for you. You can search for specialist business coaches, relationship, spirituality or even creative coaches (if you need some help finding creativity in your life!).
Sites like Superprof are full of resources to find a coach. Simply type in your postcode or town and hit the search button to find a coach near you. Here you’ll find different profiles which describe who they are and what they do. Chat with them on the phone before you make a decision, check their references and be picky.
Life coaching is all about you so whoever you choose if your decision!
Even if you’re not dealing with a crisis in your life right now, life coaching is something we can all benefit from. It can help all of us find different perspectives on life and anything that can enrich our lives and help us lead a happier one sounds pretty good to me!