Most people have come across coaching in sport or business but how can it be helpful in our day-to-day lives? In this post I look at what life coaching is and isn’t, where it can be helpful and what happens in a life coaching session.
Life Coaching Sessions – an Introduction.
What is Life Coaching?
Life coaching is a process in which you can explore a situation, challenge, life stage, project, etc. Looking at where you are now, clarifying where you would like to be, creating and implementing a plan to get there. It can be helpful when looking at changes you might want to make in your work – finding a new job, a change in career direction or setting up your own business. Perhaps you might be considering a change at home, in your current or future relationships, a creative endeavour or improving your health.
Life coaching sessions are a neutral space in which to focus upon and work with achieving those changes. A coach will ask questions and use particular approaches to help you find your own answers and resources. It is a supportive and non-judgmental space that gives you time to focus on generating solutions.
Coaching is not counselling. Sometimes people need the space in which to discuss their difficulties or obstacles at a deeper level, exploring the roots and patterns of an issue. Counselling and psychotherapy can be of immense value in helping people towards a deeper understanding of themselves. With coaching the discussion is around clarifying an issue or situation, and then moving forwards. Although coaching can prompt light-bulb moments, it is not attempting to be “therapy”. It is a question of picking the right tool for the job and important to differentiate as the way the sessions run and the process is quite different for each.
Sometimes people are confused about the difference between coaching and mentoring. A while ago I came across a lovely quote along the lines of: in coaching the coach asks the client how they are going to achieve their goals, and in mentoring the client asks the coach. Unlike coaching, in mentoring it is more common for the mentor to have expertise in the client’s field, although this is not always necessary.
Who Can Benefit From Life Coaching Sessions?
Life coaching offers an opportunity to anyone who feels they would like to make changes or more progress in a particular area of their lives.
There are many scenarios where life coaching sessions can be supportive for people. A buisinessman or woman looking to start a new enterprise, find a new job or optimise a redundancy situation. Anyone wishing to find ways of integrating healthier living into their everyday lives.
It can be a wonderful way to explore possibilities for a new direction or creative project, and find a framework in which to bring it to life. Or perhaps for someone exploring different times and stages in our lives, such as the shift in roles parents can experience as their adult children leave home or when moving into a fullfilling retirement.
The Life Coaching Process
- Establishing Where We Are Now
Most of us are usually quite clear about what we don’t like or want and as we start life coaching session we explore where someone is now, what is working well and what is not. This is the platform upon which we can start to build as we move out of a ‘problem-centered’ focus and into a ‘solution-focused’ framework.
- Setting Goals
Turning our attention to what it is that we do want, we begin a process of creating clear and specific goals. You can read more about this in my Life Coaching Checklist. This is a vital part of a life coaching session, as we create clear destinations to be reached.
- Looking at What Might Get in the Way
Having established where we are now, and where we want to go, we can then look at existing and potential obstacles. Some of these may be within us and are outlined in Breakthroughs When You’re Feeling Stuck. These are key because they can be an ingredient in the glue that is holding us stuck.
It is inevitable during most effective kinds of personal (and professional) development that you might hit a mental or emotional wall. This can be that you run out of momentum, come up against seemingly insurmountable obstacles or self-sabotage gremlins emerge. There can be so many reasons for this. Sometimes it seems that life is not playing ball. Yet when we look back I find we often see a logic or benefit to these obstacles. Stretching us and allowing us to dig deeper!
- How Strong is the Force with You?
Another key aspect of using Life Coaching is to be clear about what is within our control, and to take ownership of that. We need to believe we can change and can create change. The life coaching session creates the space to build on this, expanding our potential – connecting with our own inner strength, problem solving ability and creativity. Whatever our path in life – Jedi Knight or otherwise!
- Finding Ways Forwards
I write from my training and experience, and in practice use a wide range of approaches and techniques. These will be tailored to the individual and to the situation they are working with. Sometimes simply asking the right questions can help someone find previously elusive answers. It is about creating clarity, insight and action, and maintaining that momentum.
What Happens Between Sessions?
As we move forwards we monitor and update progress: plan, do and review. Modifying and adapting the goals, plan and resources needed as we go. A key part of the coaching process is the ownership the client experiences. It is their goal, and their process as they work towards accomplishing it in their everyday lives. The coach and the space the life coaching sessions provide are there to support them in that process.
How Many Life Coaching Sessions Do I Need?
This will vary depending upon the individual and the goal they are working towards. To give you an idea someone might book three one hour long coaching sessions to cover the initial groundwork, set positive and clear goals, and explore some of the approaches mentioned. They may then have a longer gap between appointments as they make progress and check in at intervals to update and consider how to keep moving forwards.
We usually establish this initial framework for the number and scheduling of sessions at the outset, updating as we go. If people find the process useful they can work through particular projects initially and then meet as is useful to review the bigger picture to see where their attention and focus may be fruitful.
Where Do Life Coaching Sessions Happen?
Life coaching sessions can happen as face-to-face appointments where-ever the life coach works from. I see people in Lewes at the Cliffe Clinic. When it is helpful in terms of timings or location coaches may offer sessions by Skype or phone. It can depend upon the area you bring to work with and the way you and your life coach work best together.
Life Coaching Sessions – Moving Forwards
People can use life coaching to help them if they feel stuck, have a challenge to address or a change to make. Please do contact me to book your free introductory life coaching session to see if my aproach might suit you – thank you.
References and Resources:
[1 ] Life Coaching Checklist – Part 1, Chantry Health
 Breakthroughs When You’re feeling Stuck, Chantry Health