Ever since reading an article about life coaching back in 2003, I have been fascinated about the concept of coaching as a means of support for people seeking to make change in their lives. At the time, I had just come through many years of therapy and was ready for a different type of support. I found coaching’s action-oriented process exciting, challenging, and motivating. Instead of seeing my life through the lens of my past, coaching offered me a different perspective, one of looking towards the future.
After completing my coaches training, I worked with a coach who helped me find my focus and attain my goal of finishing my college degree. Last year, I decided it was time to get back into coaching and found a coach to help me realize my new goals. I found Amy through a coaches collaborative website recommended to me by my sister. I agonized over the process of choosing a coach as I do with choosing any type of professional. (Just ask my father about the time I needed a plumber.) I can’t remember the exact formula I used to make that choice but I know it wasn’t my usual eenie-meenie-minie-moe way. After much deliberation, I gave Amy a call. I now feel more on purpose and have a greater focus on where I want to go. Thanks, Amy.
Here are some of the reasons I like having a coach.
– Coaches ask insightful questions. By asking questions, the coach puts the ball in the client’s court. It is up to them to find the answer. This is a powerful way for the client to discover things about themselves and to learn more about what is making them tick. The coach does not tell the client what to do, but leads them to the answers they seek. When the answers come from within, they are more meaningful and therefore, lasting.
– Coaches provide accountability. So, you say you want something, but what is keeping you from accomplishing it? Coaches help peel away the layers that keep us from moving forward. Once uncovering where we want to go, they ask the question, “What steps are you willing to take to get there?” They go even further by asking, “How will I know you’ve accomplished your goal?” My coach caught me this week by asking that question and when I replied, “I might be able to get it done this sometime this week”, she replied, “Will you commit to sending me an email by next Sunday evening?” My initial response didn’t assure her that I was committed to getting it done and she called me on it. Having someone holding me accountable and setting a specific timeline for accomplishing the goal helps me to stay focused and moving forward.
– Coaches listen and reflect what they hear. Coaching is about listening. My coach will listen to everything that I say and provide valuable feedback about what she hears. Subtle changes in the energy of my voice give her a clues that she has hit on something important and reflect it back to me. This reflection opens my eyes to things I may not have noticed or thought about on a conscious level. I am always amazed at how this process helps me feel more clear, like a window has opened and allowed the fresh air to come in.
– Coaches are a great support. Above all, having a life coach means having support. You are not alone. This is a very important piece for me because even though I know I have the potential to do things on my own, I sometimes fall prey to old habits and self sabotage. Let’s face it, we all do. Having a coach is like having my own personal cheerleader who believes in me and keeps me believing in myself.
– Coaches are focused on your future. Even though we all know that everything happens in the now, we all make plans for our future. We have goals and aspirations, things we want to achieve that will take place in our future. Coaches listen to what you want and keep the focus on that. They remind you of your goals and challenge you to continuously take the steps needed to get there. They help you keep your eyes on the prize. Think of what a sports coach does. They help the athlete focus, provide feedback, and then set up a routine for the athlete to practice their skills, become stronger, and become the best they can be. Translate all that into life skills and you have a life coach.
One thing I often hear from people is that they feel as though having a coach is a luxury. In a world where competition is tough, jobs are uncertain, and families are challenged, why not offer yourself some support to help you stay clear and focused on the things you want for your future or help you become more secure about where you are now? Having a coach provides me with a feeling of security. I know I am supported through the tough times, held accountable for what I want, and championed for who I am. Being a coach allows me to provide that for someone else.
I know that people are “naturally creative, resourceful, and whole”*. I know that each of us has the answers we need inside us. I know that our lives, our egos, and the world can cause us to become estranged from those answers. I know that a coach can bring us back to those answers and hold us securely while we get there. Listen to your inner voice and decide if a life coach is someone you need on your team today.
Yours in transformation,
*Coaches Training Institute