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  • Writer's pictureSam

What is Life Coaching? 10 ways it can help you

Updated: Sep 8, 2019

You’ve probably either never heard of coaching outside of a sports coach, or you’re seeing life coaches pop up everywhere; either way, unless you are a life coach or have actually had some life coaching (sometimes not even then), chances are that you don’t really know what this life coaching thing is all about, allow me to explain.

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What exactly is Life Coaching?

I think to a lot of people the word “life coach” means something spiritual, to some it might sound a bit airy fairy, the picture of a lady standing amongst a field of flowers with her arms out looking up into the sky might come to mind.  Well, that is life coaching for some people, but for others it’s about being the highest possible performer in your industry and smashing the competition into the ground.

Its about designing and creating your ideal life, no matter how spiritual or practical you want it to be.  Life coaches more regularly call themselves simply just coaches these days, some people stick with the Life coach title, but for ease I’m going to just refer to the whole thing as coaching/coach/coaches from here on out.

When you think of coaching, you probably think of a sports coach, and you’d be right to do so.  A sports coach coaches their client in a particular sport to become the best that they possibly can be.  The best sports coach assists the athlete first in what goals the want to hit, (come first in the London marathon, win gold in the Olympics ETC) then the sports coach helps them to establish the path and routine for getting them there, then they encourage their clients through the process keeping them accountable. They also assist in breaking down their barriers, look at what is holding them back and then work on strategies to get past such barriers.  This is exactly what coaching is like, but for any area of you life that you want to progress in.  

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We all know that sports coaches are pretty much essential for success in the sporting world, and life coaching should be viewed the same way.  For anything you want to succeed in or achieve in life, you can always try yourself and you might get somewhere, but the best thing by far is to hire a coach specialised in whatever you want to achieve something in.

How does Coaching work?

You probably know of coaches, you just don’t know that they are coaches, because all of us coaches have difference niches in where we most want to help people.  The best and most recent example is Marie Kondo, she’s a coach and her niche is helping people de-clutter and re-organise their living space.   Personal Trainers are like coaches, you say what you want to achieve and they devise a plan to get you there.  There are coaches who specialise in helping you find the perfect relationship, in writing that novel or screenplay that’s in the back of your head, in helping you set up your small business, in figuring out what hobbies to pursue, in getting your life organised; you name it, there’s a coach for that!  Time for quick bit of shameless self advertising: My niche for example is helping people find out who they are and then building a life that supports that.

We’re social creatures, the reason we evolved into the human beings that we are today is because we learned to ask and to give help when needed.  It is therefore against our very nature to be able to sort out our problems on our own, and I guarantee that there is no successful person out there who made it entirely alone.  Don’t sit there thinking that you should be able to sort out your problems alone, if you are human then that’s not how you have evolved to work, there is no weakness or shame in needing help, in fact I think that it’s more indicative that you need help if you’re constantly claiming that you don’t need any.

So, lets look at how coaches do what we do:

Coaching is all about you, it’s not about us giving you advice or anyone knowing what is best for you; it’s about you having the right questions asked of you to really dig down deep and figure out what you want and need.  All good coaches believe that you have all the answers that you need on how to move forward within you, coaches use their expertise to ask you the right questions in order to coax the answers out of you.  You control where the session goes and what you want/don’t want to work on.  The point of the coach is to effectively use the time in the session to help you see the path you need to take to move you forward toward your goals.

Now, you may just be thinking that you can read a book for this stuff, or you can find a good few blog posts (hello!), or youtube videos, and you’re right, there’s a lot of self help out there, there isn’t much that isn’t available for free if you look, this is great and I’m really happy that this kind of thing is accessible to everyone with an internet connection.  However, the beauty of hiring a coach is that you get tailored help.  It’s all very well reading a self help book but there may well be habits that you don’t realise that you have, or deep questions you’re not asking yourself.  As Coaches, we are trained in the science and the art of powerful listening (that means listing deeply with the focus on you, not shallowly with our minds wandering as we often do in social situations), reading body language, listening for what’s not being said, asking difficult questions, being present in the moment, staying on your agenda and not our own and maybe most importantly: calling you out on your bullshit, because lets face it, usually what’s getting in our way is our own bullshit!

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10 examples of actual things coaching can help you with

1. If you have no clue, nothing, you don’t know what you like doing or where you’d like to be, or what you want to do with your life then a coach will help you with figuring out where to start.

2. You know that you need help in figuring stuff out and need some kind of sounding board but your friends aren’t quite cutting it.  Coaches have professionally trained in listening skills (yes that is a trainable skill!) to be able to truly listen to you, making sure we understand what you mean and asking the right questions to help move you forward.

3. Do you have a vague idea of a business you’d like to create? A book you’d like to write? A product you’d like to create? A YouTube channel you’d like to make? Is there anything that you’ve thought you’d like to do, but you have no idea where to start, or maybe feel like you’re not experienced, knowledgeable or successful enough.  Hiring a coach will enable you to really explore you ideas and figure out exactly what you need to do in order to move forward to make it a reality if that’s what you want.

4. Sometimes the thought of success can be surprisingly scary.  It can be very overwhelming for example to go from just thinking about writing a book to realising that it could happen and it might be a best-seller and everything that could entail.  A coach can help you work through any possible fear that might come up for you regarding accomplishing your goal.

5. Speaking of success, Imposter syndrome!  This is when you feel like you’re a fraud, your achievement's or reputation are just luck, and soon enough everyone will figure out that you’re a fake.  If you suffer from this in any part of your life, hiring a coach can really help you look at the beliefs that you have around your success, why you have them and how you can change your beliefs in order to believe that you are deserving of all your success; similarly if you have any beliefs that are holding you back, maybe you believe that you’ll never be able to earn much money, or that you’re unattractive/unlovable (you’re not! But I get that just saying that won’t fix anything), a coach can help you put a lid on those beliefs for good and replace them with more empowering ones.

6. Do you spend a lot of time complaining about how stuck you are, you complain about having no money, no time and no motivation?  Sometimes people just want to complain a lot and if you’re not serious about moving forward and solving your problems then I wouldn’t bother with hiring a coach, but if you really do want to move forward and you’re sick of hearing your own complaining then, yes you guessed it, a coach can help!

7. If you’ve developed unhealthy habits that you want to get out of, this is quite a simple thing that a coach can help you with.  You’ll be able to figure out why you’re maintaining the habits and what little steps you’ll be able to take to change it.  More importantly, having a coach will keep you ACCOUNTABLE! Yes that’s probably the best part about coaching, having someone who’s entire agenda in your life is about wanting to know what you’ve done and what you’ve struggled with so that you can find the way forward that suits you.  Sometimes knowing that they’ll be someone next week asking if you’ve done the thing is the motivation you need to do the thing!

8. Do you look like you have everything together, people are often saying “oh my God, I envy how X you are!  You know what you’re doing with your life!” but inside you actually feel like a hot mess and have no clue what you’re doing?  Well, hiring a coach can help you get your thoughts in order, get some structure in your head and life, and help you feel like you do indeed have it together.

9. Do you feel like you should be further along in you life or career than you currently are? Like you should have your shit together by now?  Maybe you feel like you’re boring, as if there’s nothing to you other than going to work/college/university and you have nothing to offer or are no use to anyone? (absolutely not true by the way, but I digress). Or Maybe you over-analyse everything but still end up doing the same old stuff despite your best efforts.  All these things are things you can look at with a coach where you can devise your own tools and ideas to get you out of the rut you’re currently in.

10. And my last point I’ll make here, because 10 is a good number to end on and I could go on and on and on, is do you find yourself really comparing yourself to others in where you should be in your career, hobbies or just life in general?  I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy”, hiring a coach will help you to see your skills, talents and all you have to offer and genuinely help you to feel like you’re exactly where you need to be in life to enable the life you’re going after, a life you can be proud of.

There are so many more examples I could give, but I figured that 10 was a pretty good point to end on.  Basically coaching can help you with anything you’re stuck on or don’t know how to get to.  Coaches don’t need to have experienced in what you want to accomplish, we are trained professionals in figuring out what questions you need to be asked to move you forward.  Whether it’s becoming the next president, writing a book, transitioning gender or even just trying to tidy and de-clutter your bedroom, we’re not here to advise you or tell you what to do, we’re here to help you figure out the best route for you, so therefore we don’t need prior experience of your situation to help you figure it out.  (That being said most coaches have areas of expertise that they favour helping people deal with as mentioned above, but if you find a coach you really gel with, then they can and will likely be able to help with whatever your endeavour).

Coaching vs therapy/counselling

I’d like to take one last moment to talk about the difference between coaching and therapy because they do look rather similar.  There’s nothing to say that you can’t do both coaching and therapy at the same time, many do in fact, the main difference is that therapy looks at uncovering what has happened in your past to cause your current behaviour and ways you can deal with that.  Coaching is primarily about discussing what you want for your future and moving you toward that.  Any decent coach will know when a client of theirs needs therapy as opposed to coaching, so no worries because we can help you find a decent therapist if that’s what’s necessary and what you want to do!

This article is a bit longer than my other ones, but I hope it serves as some good information as to what coaches do, what coaching is and how coaching might be able to help you.

Drop me a message if there’s anything else about Coaching you don’t understand, or if you’re unsure if coaching can help you.  One of the beauties of Coaching is that we all have different areas of expertise, generally if a coach knows of another coach that is better positioned to help you then they’ll introduce you.  We want you to get the best results and if that’s with another coach then trust me on a more selfish note that’s far better for our reputation than taking you on ourselves and only getting mediocre results! Haha. It’s a healthy mix of altruism and self interest! And that’s the kind of mix that yields (in my opinion at least) the best results.

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