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The Truth About Life Coaching: What You Need to Know

Are you trying to find balance in your life? Struggling with a challenging time or new changes to your life? Read on to learn how a life coach can help you reach your goals, live with purpose, feel more connected, and more!
Life coaching: what you need to know

Have you ever set a goal hoping to achieve something, faced a challenge, or just wanted to improve yourself in some way? Going it alone comes natural to a lot of us, and some of us are fortunate enough to have friends or family to support us through these types of changes. What about when that’s not enough? If you’re struggling to adapt, need guidance or clarity in a situation or are in need of additional support, a life coach may be the solution for you. You might think I can figure it out on my own or I have a support system to help me. A life coach is unique in that they are non-judgmental, unbiased, and can empower you to use your own strengths and skills to make sense of your life. They offer a unique perspective as well as techniques and strategies to help you overcome and excel with confidence. Still not certain? Keep reading to learn what you need to know to get started with life coaching.

What life coaching isn’t

First and foremost life coaching is NOT therapy. While therapists focus on healing the past to face your future, life coaches help you progress towards your wants and needs to help you live a more meaningful life. A life coach is no substitute for therapy and vice versa and while the two can work well in conjunction they serve different purposes. Therapy is clinical and focuses on the treatment of mental health issues. Life coaches help you focus on realistic self improvement using skills you already have to achieve goals that will help you curate a life you love. Coaches help their clients identify goals, clarify obstacles holding them back, and empower them to use strategies to overcome and reach those goals. Life coaching also isn’t magic. It’s not just about manifesting and setting goals, it’s about activating and using your own abilities and strengths to achieve them. Ask yourself if you need advice or guidance? A life coach can help you be accountable in making progress to your goals as well as offer strategies to make the changes easier and simpler. 

Do I even need a life coach?

If you’ve ever asked someone for advice, wondered if you’re living up to your fullest potential or even doubted the path that you’re on – you could probably use a coach. Life coaches can help you give a voice to the questions in your head and provide clarity on which issues in your life are causing the questions to help you identify solutions and answers.

What could a coach actually help me with? No matter if you’re facing a major change such as a new career or relationship, or are simply wanting to build a more meaning-filled life a coach can help. Feeling a lack of purpose or direction in life, needing help goal-setting or being held accountable to reach your goals? It might be time for a life coach. 

Could a life coach help me?

Coaching is about change, so you have to truly be ready to change either your behavior or your perspective to make progress. Coaches provide a framework and a safe environment to help you move through hurdles and support you in adopting changes to help you build a brighter future for yourself. A good life coach can bring out the best in a person and help you to have more clarity of thoughts and plans as well as empower you to be more committed to the things that matter. If you’re not ready to do the work and make the space for change, then there’s no point in wasting your time  or money with a coach.

What can a coach do for me though? Coaches can offer support to help you rediscover your confidence, find your purpose, confront new career pathways, improve your wellbeing, and stay motivated to reach your goals. While a coach can help you see a different perspective, gain new insights, or help you identify negative patterns or behaviors that could be standing in your way, you still have to do the work.

What do they address? Life coaching can help in many areas – offering support in eliminating self-doubt, rediscovering confidence, finding purpose, venturing into a new career path, improving your wellbeing, and staying motivated to reach your goals. Your life coach’s ultimate goal is to empower you with the skills you need to succeed at whatever you are trying to achieve. The point is, find a coach that is compatible with what you are trying to accomplish. 

What should I look for in a coach?

It is essential that you choose a coach whose personality and professional philosophy resonate with you. A compatible coach isn’t just ideal, they are essential to your success in the relationship. Their coaching style should leave you feeling empowered and uplifted after each session. Each coach has a unique approach, so make sure that you can appreciate their perspective and feel comfortable enough to ask questions as needed. A successful coaching relationship requires good chemistry. You’re going to be spending valuable time entrusting this person to help you reach your goals, so you better like them. If you’re not able to be open, authentic, and genuinely yourself you won’t get the most out of coaching. This relationship is rooted in trust, so your coach should be as honest and direct with you as you are, because their goal is to help you achieve yours.

How to prepare for your first meeting with a coach

Each session is unique to the coach you select. Some coaches meet in person, conduct sessions over the phone or even by video. Keep your preferred communication method in mind when selecting a coach. You should also try to have an idea of how long you would feel comfortable taking to reach your goals. Your coach can help you formulate an action plan no matter if your goals are short or long-term in nature. Good coaches will also ensure that they have given enough time for you to implement and measure your goals to keep in check that they are helping you the best they can. Remember that results are not immediate. Lasting change can take time and coaches help you make plans, address hurdles that come up, and hold you accountable for working towards your goals. It is truly up to you to take action and decide the focus of your sessions and the skills you want to build in order to reach your defined goals.

Consider the following lists of questions for yourself and a potential coach in a discovery or introductory session.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What goals do I want to accomplish?
  • What challenges do I want to overcome in my life?
    • What is important to me?
    • What do I want to focus on in coaching?
    • What does success in life coaching look like for me?
    • Is the life coach’s experience a match for my goals/wants

Questions to ask your potential coach

  • What are your core beliefs when it comes to your practice?
  • What do you believe makes change happen?
  • What is your coaching experience like? What is your approach? Are you flexible?
  • What have you achieved in your life? Are you using your own tools to reach your goals?
  • Will you do more talking or listening?
  • What kind of life coach relationship are you trying to create?
  • Do you provide structure or a more customized approach?
    *Tip:
    As a client, think about what you prefer to help you reach your goals. Trust your gut!
  • What framework guides your practice? What is your approach?
  • How do you measure progress? Have you ever had a client not work out? How did you navigate that?
  • Are you reflective and clear on your role in the outcome?
  • What’s your professional background? How many coaching hours do you have?
  • What types of clients do you typically work with?

There should be a sense of harmony and congruence in the answers to these questions between yourself and a potential coach. Being coached can be a transformational experience when done well and with a compatible match. Try not to take the introductory session lightly and if things aren’t working out, speak up! 

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