‘I want a better life.’ How many of us have muttered those words? Plenty, I’m sure. But how many of us ever do anything to make it happen?
Before we can answer the key question about whether or not life coaching can help, I’m going to describe what coaching is, and what it isn’t.
What Is Coaching?
There are a lot of misconceptions about what coaching is.
I regularly see people, most usually in business groups, discussing the expectations they have for any potential coaches they might work with.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these same discussions look very different in groups populated by coaches!
In the business groups, most of the posts talk about wanting a ‘coach‘ who has done the thing they want to do, and who can supply them with the steps they need to take to achieve the same results. This usually focuses on how much money they want to make from their business.
In coaching groups, people want recommendations for coaches who aren‘t afraid to go deep, to ask searching questions, and to fearlessly hold them accountable.
Therein lies the difference – coaches know that a coach is there to help you to uncover the very best of yourself. They are there to help you find your own answers, to call you out on your own bullshit, and to lead you to take actions that move you along your chosen path.
What Coaching Isn't
A coach is not a teacher, a mentor, or a consultant – although there are coaches who fulfill those roles too.
Your coach doesn‘t need to have done the things you want to do, to be able to coach you.
A business coach who isn‘t earning huge sums of money can still coach someone who aspires to earn, or already earns, millions.
Let me reiterate this point with an example:
I know of someone who is an excellent (and celebrated) sports coach whose coachees regularly achieve great results. These achieve these results even though their coach has never physically participated in the sport they are being coached in.
It's All About You
This is because coaching isn’t about the coach, coaching is all about you, the coachee.
Let me share an example:
I recently coached another coach through a block she had around her business. During a 30 minute session, we dug into what was holding her back; this lead her to some aha moments that enabled her to reframe the problem. We were then able to move on to exploring what actions she could take in the next week that would move her beyond her current sticking point. By the end of the session, she had a clear way forward, and the change in her energy around this issue was clearly visible.
When she messaged to say that she‘d taken the actions discussed, and as a result, the outcome she‘d wanted was now a reality, the win belonged completely to her. It wasn‘t my win.
It‘s certainly true that I helped her, but I didn‘t do the work for her, neither did I tell her what to do. I simply helped her to find her own solutions.
This is a much more empowering place to exist within. If you simply follow someone else‘s instructions, you don‘t have the same degree of ownership of the outcome.
Ownership of the Solution
Consider a time when you‘ve worked out a problem for yourself – how did you feel?
Now compare that feeling to how you felt when you simply followed someone else‘s instructions.
It‘s not the same feeling, is it? You don‘t have the same level of emotional connection to the problem you didn‘t solve yourself. It doesn‘t have the same energy behind it.
Now you might think it doesn‘t matter how you achieve the desired result, just so long as you achieve it. Sometimes that‘ll be true, but generally only for things that don‘t matter very much to you. For the things that you consider important, having ownership of the solution will give you so much more than an easy win. You will come away with a new level of faith and trust in yourself, which is so much more empowering than simply being given the answers.
Think back to your school days – did you ever turn to the answers page at the back of the textbook, before you‘d tried to solve the problem? Do you remember the way you felt when you wrote down the answer?
I guess that you most likely felt hollow. There was no sense of satisfaction.
Conversely, I know for a fact that my coachee had a huge grin on her face for days after she‘d had the result she worked for. She had that sense of pride and satisfaction that only comes from achieving something through our own efforts.
Don't Confuse Coaching With Teaching
This is not to say that there isn‘t a place for teachers, mentors, and consultants. Of course, there is! The point I want to make is that confusing coaching with these things is a fundamental misunderstanding that does a disservice to both coach and coachee.
Unfortunately, because coaching is an unregulated industry, anyone can call themselves a coach. There are many great teachers and consultants out there who perpetuate this misunderstanding, by referring to their services as coaching, when it isn‘t. Maybe they think coaching sounds sexier than teaching, I don’t know, but the two things are very different.
The Psychology of Coaching
It’s very important to note that coaches are not therapists.
Having said that, there is often a degree of crossover between coaching and therapy. The key difference is the point of focus.
Therapy is generally focused on the past, with the key aim being to improve the client’s now.
Coaching may touch on the past briefly, but it’s a much more future-focused experience, with the client’s now acting as a springboard to the future.
To Be Coached You Must Be Coachable
What on earth does that mean?
It means you need to:
• be willing and able to face difficult questions with curiosity
• be prepared to follow through
• be able to take responsibility for your actions
A coach‘s job is not to spoon-feed you, but to help you uncover how best you can feed yourself.
At the end of the day, a coach cannot help you if you‘re not ready to help yourself.
I Want A Better Life, Can Life Coaching Help?
The short answer to the original question then, is that if you’re prepared to:
- dig deep
- do the work
- be coachable
then yes, life coaching can help you to create a better life.
In the next few blog posts we’ll explore how The Sensory Coach’s framework for transformational coaching can help you do just that.