What is Life Coaching?
By life coach Adrian McDowall
Life coaching is helping a person to manage their life towards attaining their goals. It is an optimistic approach to personal achievement. It takes its starting point from the principle that each individual is a vessel of untapped potential, where present performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The life coach's job is to help an individual to realise his or her potential and perform at the maximum of that potential.
Some common principles of Life Coaching:
The essence of life coaching is the attainment of positive goals by self-management. These goals may take many forms, for example: better work life balance, time management, relationships with family and friends, losing weight, health and fitness, career, business, stress, self-development and job hunting. The coach in partnership with the client helps to set realistic, challenging but obtainable goals. Life coaching helps to give clarity of purpose by setting clear and precise goals.
To plan a strategy towards any particular goal, each person in partnership with the coach needs to ascertain the current reality of their position in respect to the goal. In order to get somewhere the client needs to know where they are starting from. For example there is significant difference between a well trained athlete with a goal to reduce their best time by a few seconds and an unfit middle-aged businessman who wants to increase their level of wellbeing and health. Each goal will need a different plan of action because the individuals start from different places and have different targets and ambitions.
The coach raises awareness of the many paths that can lead from the current situation towards the attainment of the desired goal. The coach helps to give different perspectives and a range of options are discussed. Choosing the best option is unique to personal circumstances, the time frame, the goal itself and the level of commitment.
4. Taking Action
The actual doing is often the most challenging part of the coaching process. Taking action usually demonstrates the level of commitment of the individuals towards their goals. Coaching should enable the appropriate actions by the client to take place. In the coaching partnership the client is accountable for his or her choices. Where actions are not taken then non-judgemental feedback occurs to discover the reasons why.
What life coaching is not?
Life coaching is not therapy, mentoring, consulting or counselling. It doesn't review and focus on past events. Nor does it deal with mental illness, psychiatric problems, abuse or addictions. It is primarily a pragmatic approach to realising a person's potential in pursuing a particular goal. At the same time ensuring that the rest of that person's life is well balanced to deal with the constant challenges of living.
What can life coaching do for me?
There are no guarantees in life. What life coaching can do for you is to greatly increase the possibility of getting what you want in life. If you want to perform at a higher level or to the maximum of your potential - then life coaching is for you. If you want to achieve your goals sooner - then life coaching is for you.
How does life coaching work?
Life coaching sessions sometimes occur in person, face to face, but also occur over the telephone.
Telephone appointments have a number of advantages, including:
1. No travel time, no traffic jams and no problems with public transport.
2. The client chooses the most suitable place to have each session.
3. No judgements of personal appearances can influence coaching sessions.
These advantages help to make each session an even more effective use of the client's time. Sessions usually take 30 or 60 minutes, once a week and initially for a set number of weeks or months. Consistency is a significant factor in the effectiveness of the coaching process. Making progress takes time to achieve, just as getting ‘fit and healthy’ takes time to achieve.
What is needed to get the maximum from life coaching?
1. Commitment - the more commitment you have, the greater the potential progress.
2. Openness - to the coaching process and to different perspectives.
3. Honesty - with the coaching partnership to enable accurate feedback.
4. Patience - because most worthwhile things in life take time.
5. Investment in yourself - because the biggest gains come from investment in your potential.
About the author:
A big thank you to Adrian McDowall for writing this excellent article. Adrian is a life coach with his own business Quantum Renaissance Life Coaching, with a background in personal training and life coaching he brings expertise in health, fitness and coaching to help his clients fulfil their goals.