Coaching for life

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“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there” ~ George Harrison

What do you DO?

One of the first things most people say when I tell them I’m a ‘Life Coach’ (in response to the habitual way we identify people with their ‘jobs’ by enquiring ‘What do you do?’), is to ask what that means.

The enlightened amongst them may have personal experience of coaching, or know someone who has – and I believe this portion of the population will increase in the not too distant future.

By the end of this post I hope, as a reader, you’ll have more clarity around what I ‘do’ as a Holistic Life Coach, the far greater importance of what the client does, and why Life Coaching could help increase the happiness factor in your life.

Life Coach Training

The reason I chose to complete my training with Life Coach Associates (Auckland, New Zealand) was due to their initial focus on coaching for the student – they believe coaches can only take people as far as they’ve been themselves, so as well as an amazing training course, with ten long-weekend workshops over eighteen months, we also experienced group and individual coaching – lots of it. Oh, and 100 client contact case study hours (50% ‘free’, then 50% paid), including 30 supervised sessions.

I wish I’d known and availed myself of Life Coaching years ago.

Instead, I continued on my journey, not really knowing where I was going, unaware there may be something/somebody out there that could help me. Looking back I recall feeling frustrated and often unhappy, repeating the same old familiar patterns year in, year out, in so many areas of my life including relationships with others (family, friends, partners) and in my career, and wondering why I was getting similar results. However, I only really heard about the concept in 2002, when I’d begun my journey of self-discovery after spending nine months on a solo adventure, in the soul enriching country New Zealand.

Life Coaching in 2013

Some lesser known facts about Life Coaching include:

›  ~It’s not currently a recognised profession – but it’s only a matter of time!

›  ~There are literally thousands of ‘Life Coaches’ across the world

›  ~The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the largest professional body

›  ~Currently anyone can call themselves a ‘Life Coach’

In 2012 the words ‘Life Coach’ entered into Miriam Webster’s Dictionary. Their definition is:

an advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems

Whilst it’s been applauded in the coaching world to have the words in the dictionary, it’s also been a concern that the definition is a little inaccurate – Life Coaches never use the term ‘advisor’ to define their role, as advice-giving is more appropriate to the role of a mentor.

As a coach I may question, probe, prod, reflect, clarify, challenge and many other things but virtually never do I advise, direct, instruct or provide recommendations. Together with the client I will suggest tools and exercises to use in between our sessions that may help to move them forward and shift their energy, and could bring those enlightening “Aha!” moments into their lives.

Holistic Coaching is an empowering relationship enabling people to create real sustainable change in their ’self’ and life.  With a holistic awareness-based approach, I can help identify opportunities and options to bring greater purpose, clarity and satisfaction for clients. I can weave threads into a coaching conversation so the client can visualise the cloth they’re describing for themselves at that moment.

We explore in depth:

The present: How to understand their current status quo and how they got there

The future: Look at creating a vision that fulfils their potential

Barriers: Possibilities to resolve the issues and patterns that stop them

Action: Find ways to develop a plan that will take them forward

The butterfly story

A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared in the cocoon, so he sat and watched for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress, appearing stuck.

He decided to help the butterfly, and with a pair of scissors he cut open the cocoon. The beautiful butterfly then emerged easily. But something was strange. It had a swollen body and shrivelled wings, and as the man watched the butterfly expecting it to take on its correct proportions, nothing changed.

The butterfly stayed the same. It was never able to fly. In his kindness and haste the man didn’t realise that the butterfly’s struggle to get through the small opening of the cocoon is nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight.

Like the sapling that grows strong from being buffeted by the wind, we all need to struggle in life sometimes to make us strong.

Doing it for your self

When we coach and teach others, it’s helpful to recognise when people need to do things for themselves.

And that, in essence, is what Life Coaches like me do – we support and encourage clients to dig down into their belief systems, get curious about their behavior and patterns, why they do the things they do and find ways to look at what they want to, and can, change.

Life Coaches have been likened to ‘midwives who will transform the world’, which certainly resonates with me.

There’s an inspirational YouTube video by Wayne Dyer called

When you Change the Way you Look at Things, The Things You Look At Change

… that really shows how ridiculous it is to imagine someone outside of us can make us happy.

Life Coaches inspire in their clients the motivation to love themselves first and foremost, as only then will they find that mirrored in others.

I’d love to hear what experience you’ve had with a Life Coach, or what you’d be expecting from a Life Coach – the feedback from clients is generally that it’s not what they thought it would be, as they have preconceived thoughts of what’s ‘wrong’ with their life and what they think needs to be ‘fixed’.

I’ll be sharing some topics on this blog that could be helpful to support you to live extraordinary lives – or maybe open up a desire to explore a coaching relationship with me that could lead you into incredible “Aha” moments of your own …

If you enjoyed this post, I'd love your feedback and comments :-)

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