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It would be fair to say that people living in the UK have seen their share of challenges over the last few years. From an unyielding job market to Brexit – to say nothing of health concerns, you might say we Brits have had a plateful.
People manage difficult situations in a variety of ways: some feel overwhelmed while others end up crushed under the weight of the issues they have to deal with. Some practice indifference while others muddle through and still more get angry and rail about it.
Those who are proactive find a way through adversity, coming out better and stronger on the other side. How do they do that?
Simply put, a life coach is someone insulated from your particular scenario who is trained and qualified to cut through all of the distraction and get to the root of whatever problem you’re facing.
Their job is to help you attain your best life based on your stated goals. Your relationship with your life coach is short-term, one year at the most, and can be terminated if you fail to reach mutually-agreed milestones.
A life coach is not a psychologist, psychiatrist or a therapist. They have not completed a medical degree programme, nor are they qualified to dispense medicine. They are not counsellors who will encourage you to discuss possible causes of emotional trauma.
Much like a football coach doesn’t care about what compels players to play – only that they do it to the best of their ability, a life coach doesn’t care why you’ve enlisted their services, only about effectively getting you from where you are to where you want to be.
Essentially, a therapist looks to the past to help you find and fix what led you to where you are today. A life coach looks to the future, to where you want to be, and helps you get there.
To a therapist, you are a patient in need of their services. To a life coach, you are a client who has hired them for a specific purpose and nothing else.
While therapists and life coaches must maintain a professional distance, a therapist is much more likely to create a comfortable, empathetic environment for you to lay bare your deepest hurts. By contrast, a life coach is, by necessity, all business – whether s/he cares about you on a personal level or not.
All of that makes life coaches sound like a rather heartless bunch, in it only for themselves. Keep in mind, though, that life coaches fulfil a specific function, and that function is not to coddle you but to get you to where you want to be.
People hire life coaches for a variety of reasons. If you’re repeatedly passed over for a promotion at work, you might need a life coach to learn confidence and maybe even interview skills. Conversely, if you’ve just landed that big promotion you’ve been angling for but now feel uncertain whether you’re up to the task, a life coach can help you hit your stride before any major blunders ensue.
Life coaches aren’t only for professional situations. Perhaps you’re having trouble getting your financial life together – too much frivolous spending, or maybe you’re having trouble asserting yourself in family relationships. You could be contemplating a career change or transitioning from parent to grandparent for the first time.
Whatever situation you find yourself currently in that you need a roadmap out of, life coaches are there to guide you.
At your initial meeting, you and your life coach would outline your goals and lay out a path to reach them. Your life coach will assign you several tasks, among them, to lay a foundation of steps you think you should take to reach your goal. And then, it’s all up to you.
Your second meeting would most likely be a checkpoint; an assessment of how far you’ve come and what you’re next steps should be. You may also discuss any reservations you have and/or uncertainty about going forward.
The venture progresses thus until you arrive at where you want to be.
This is another way in which therapy differs from life coaching: you will be able to contact your life coach via phone, message or email, but face-to-face meetings will be limited.
Before searching for a life coach, you should have a firm idea of what you want a life coach for. Should you have several matters you feel would be helped by engaging a life coach, determine which one is the most impactful and start your search for a coach who deals specifically with that issue.
Note: it is uncommon for life coaches to tackle multiple issues you might be dealing with at once; here again, that methodology is more the purview of therapists.
Next, make sure that any coach you make contact with has the proper credentials. Unlike therapists, life coaches are not accredited by any government agency but are certified by a review board.
You could appeal to a Superprof life coach; we’ve already verified all of their credentials!
The answer to that question depends on your level and type of need.
If you have past issues to sort before you can move forward, this is not the time for life coaching. However, if you need a guiding hand to get you to the next level in your life, a coach is just what you need.
It’s important to remember that your life coach will have other clients to work with and will not be your coach exclusively. S/he will not be able to come running at the drop of a hat; indeed, that defeats the purpose of you leading the charge.
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