Have you been seeing the words “life coaching” in various different online resources and wondered what exactly is that? What does a life coach do? What don’t a life coach do and what happens when someone invest in a life coaching series?
What is life coaching?
According to the ICF (International Coach Federation), coaching is defined as:
… partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
- Encourage client self-discovery
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
- Hold the client responsible and accountable
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.
Basically, a life coach helps people create change in their lives. This means helping them move forward from where they’re at to where they want to be. Here are some examples that a life coach could help someone with:
- Get more clarity with their life purpose
- Think and behave differently by reframing their fears and self-doubt
- Improve confidence and belief in themselves
- Develop closer and more meaningful relationships
- Create and maintain inspiring self-care routines
- Take control of their health and wellbeing
- Improve their financial situation
- Change their careers
- Transition through a major life change
- Progress through goals by providing accountability
When working with a client, I am committed to her and the goals she wants to achieve. One of the things I’ve learned as a life coach is to empathically listen to my clients.
According to Stephen R Covey, the author of bestselling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, there are five levels of listening. The five levels, starting with the lowest are ignoring, pretend listening, selective listening (side note: whose kids or husband use this level of listening a lot? :)), attentive listening and empathic listening.
Often when we’re carefully listening to a friend relating her woes, we are using attentive listening, which is when we are already formulating our reply in our head and waiting for our friend to finish so we can interject. As a coach, I’m trained to listen at the highest level – empathic listening. This means I’m not just listening to your words but to what you truly mean and being attentive to the slight hesitation you might have when mentioning something or to a rising of your voice in excitement when you’re talking about another.
When is the last time you felt truly seen and heard?
“To truly listen means to transcend your autobiography, to get out of your own frame of reference, out of your own value system, out of your own history and judging tendencies, and to get deeply into the frame of reference or viewpoint of another person. This is called empathic listening. It is a very, very rare skill. But it is more than a skill. Much more.” – Stephen R. Covey
What life coaching is not…
So what’s the difference between life coaching compared to other profession like counselling or therapy?
Life coaching is not the same as counselling. Deep psychological issues requires the help of professional counselling or therapy to help uncover and recover. Counselling someone often involves looking back over someone’s life history to uncover why they’re at where they are. Life coaching involves looking at the present situation into a client’s future.
Life coaching is also not the same as consulting or mentoring. Usually consultants or mentors are there to help give direct advice based on something they have already achieved themselves. In life coaching, we believe that our clients have the answers themselves to move their lives forward with guidance, support and accountability.
What happens during a life coaching session?
Most life coaching packages or sessions are quite similar. The things I’ve noticed are different are the length of the package (3 months vs 4 months), length of each call (60 mins or 90 mins) and frequency of sessions (once a week or biweekly calls).
If you are a potential client who is interested in working with me, I direct you to a detailed questionnaire so I can understand your needs and what you are looking for. We will then hop on a call that will allow me to go over the questionnaire, ask some questions to get to know you better. This is also a chance for you to ask me questions and get a feel for my coaching style.
Let’s say for an example, you decided to book a coaching package with me. For our first session, I will work with you on the goals you want to achieve during our coaching period. We spend the time to really craft the goals so they are inspiring for you and really meet your needs. What do you want to feel when you have achieve your goal? I want you to leave this first session energized and inspired to start working towards what you really want.
Sometimes, a client will get knee deep into actions in between our sessions and when we go over our goal again, a client often realises on their own that some of the actions she had taken doesn’t align with her original intent of her goal or how she wants to feel when she reaches her goal. An inspiring goal can help steer your actions and help you focus so they have the impact that you want.
I’ve experienced more than once where previous clients after finishing our last session together chose to print their goal out or write it out somewhere big and visible to remind them of their why, the feelings they want to feel so it continually inspires them to maintain their goal. And that’s the power of an inspiring goal.
At the end of our first session, we will also set some actions. Worksheets, resources like journaling prompts will also be provided to guide you. As well, anytime you’re unclear with an action or just want to celebrate having a productive week, you have unlimited email access to me. I want to hear your wins and celebrate with you and/or hear your losses and be there to cheer you on.
For the rest of our coaching sessions, we go through previously set actions to ensure you have accountability and support and then set new actions towards achieving your goal.
Do you feel you understand what a life coach do and don’t do? Are there any questions still left unanswered? If so, please leave a comment or contact me.