Whilst at a friend’s party a few weeks ago I was talking to a couple I hadn’t met before. Not long into the conversation, she asked me what I do for a job. I replied, the two simple words ‘Life Coaching’ and before I could go on to describe my job in more detail, he blurted out ‘what the heck is life coaching? I don’t need someone to tell me how to live my life’. To which I smiled, and said ‘that’s great, because I don’t tell anybody how to live their life’.
It’s not the first time somebody has misunderstood my role. It gets even worse when I tell people I am also a trained psychologist. I then, in their eyes, become ‘someone who reads their mind’. But we won’t go into that now (and my supernatural powers).
So, this blog is designed to demystify for you, ‘what the heck is life coaching?’
If you separate the two words ‘life’ and ‘coaching’, they are pretty easy words to describe, without confusing them with some other meaning. But stick them together and it’s a whole different ball game.
The confusion may be down to the fact that there is no formal training to working as a life coach, ‘life coach’ is not a protected title, and there is no regulation. Which means anyone can call themselves a ‘life coach’ and make up the rules as they go along (and unfortunately some do).
It’s not all bad, there are many skilled and credible, professional life coaches, but as a potential client you have to do your own research. Always ask the coach what their training and experience is. There are some amazing coaches out there, who, everyday are helping people reignite their spark, become unstuck, reach their goals and live a more fulfilling and successful life.
So, what is life coaching?
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as ‘ partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.’
There are so many different types of ‘coaching’, which maybe one of the reasons that makes the term misunderstood. As well as coaches who work within a certain niche. I, for example, work with accompanying expats (women and men who have accompanied their partner for their job abroad). Trailing or accompanying (I prefer ‘travelling’) expats are my ‘tribe’, the people I love to work with the most, since I am also one myself.
There are also many different approaches to coach training, from a quick online course to more structured, work shop based ICF accredited training courses (like this one I have attended and highly recommend by Empower World based in Qatar).
There are coaches who have a background in business and do executive or leadership coaching. Coaches who have experience in nutrition and work as health coaches. There are also psychologists (like me) who use their training and background in psychology and encompass this with life coaching techniques. Whilst there are many similarities and differences between coaching and therapy, there is a distinction. I do not take on clients for life coaching where therapy or counselling is more suitable for their needs.
What life coaching isn’t
Life coaching isn’t about telling people how to live their life. In fact, I rarely offer advice to clients, unless it’s something I think will really benefit them, and even then I ask their permission to give my guidance. That’s because asking clients questions and allowing them to come up with their own solutions means that change is more likely to happen, and also more likely to stick, since the human brain responds much more effectively when it arrives at its own conclusions.
I commit myself to being an effective coach by supporting and encouraging my clients and I truly want the best for them. However, I am not a cheerleader. You won’t find me on the side lines waving my ‘pom-poms’. I will work alongside you, ask you questions to help open your mind and support and empower you. I am positive and optimistic about uncovering my clients potential and passions, in a more ‘down to earth’ way.
Is coaching right for me?
‘Isn’t life coaching a bit airy-fairy, a bit ‘out there’?
This is a comment I sometimes get from people. Many great leaders, creative people and of course sports people use coaches. Coaching is for people who want something to change, they want help getting unstuck or to take their life to the next level. They know there is so much more out there.
‘Therapy’ is often the first thing people think of when their life isn’t going according to plan. When people are stressed or feeling frustrated or confused about their life and its direction. However, depending on what you need or what you want will depend whether therapy or coaching is right for you.
Unlike most traditional therapies or counselling, the focus on coaching is in the future and the present, not the past. It recognises the past, but the main focus is in the now. We cannot change what has happened in the past but we can change how we think and feel and what we do in this very moment. All we have is the gift of now.
Coaching can help you become better equipped to deal with every day challenges, to see the world from a different perspective and to feel more in control of where life is going. It’s powerful, empowering and certainly life changing.
Want to know more and experience life coaching first hand? Contact me to book in a session.
Over to you…
Are you looking for a change in your life or situation?
Do you dream about something better, but don’t know how to achieve it?
Are you feeling stuck and don’t know what to do next?
Have you found life coaching useful and want to share your experience to help others?
Leave a comment below and let me know..
love & laughter,
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