Can you imagine a professional sports team without an experienced leader? A company without a CEO? A student without a teacher? No matter what skill you are trying to learn, you need a coach to speed up the learning process.
Why should living life be any different?
What is a life coach?
A life coach is not a psychiatrist. He/she is someone who will help improve your personal and/or professional life by offering support and encouragement while suggesting new ways to achieve your goals. Having a life coach is a partnership. It is a support system with one goal in mind: improving your quality of life.
The idea of a life coach is nothing new. Everyone looks for help when they are embarking on something new and everyone needs encouragement when they are trying to do something they have not done before. The principle is to follow someone who has walked the path before you.
What does a life coach do?
Professional coaches, through a partnership with the client, are there to help produce positive results, whether in their professional or personal lives. They help people perform better and ultimately improve the quality of their lives.
In most cases, a life coach is required when the person is in a transition phase and needs support for any of the following reasons:
Trained to listen, observe and customise an approach to the client’s needs, the coach will work to find solutions and strategies that will help the individual out of the rut they are in.
Why it works
Unlike other forms of self-help or therapy, life coaching offers a new outlook on basic human needs. Partnership, support and know-how are areas that distinguish life coaching from other therapies.
Top athletes still work on improving their skills. To retain their edge over other athletes they rely on a top class coach. A similar bond exists between the life coach and the client.
Individuals are better able to make big decisions when they have the support of friends, family, peers, or a life coach. With a life coach a client is more confident in taking bigger strides to make the appropriate changes toward a better life.
Still not sure where you fit in? A cross examination of life coaching and therapy
The coach will know how to help the client achieve their goal -- whether it is to make more money, gain more influence, find more peace, achieve more happiness, health or balance, or simply to make better decisions.
Life coach vs. therapist
Life coaching and therapy are both based on support, trust and complete confidentiality. They also make equal use of listening skills and non-judgmental attitudes toward the client.
However, therapy is directed at healing past problems and handling emotional pain. Coaching deals with improving the future by devising action plans toward achieving a specific goal.
It is true however that in some cases, techniques used in therapy can be used to assist the client in getting past personal obstacles in order to achieve a goal. For this reason, it can be quite helpful to have a coach that has a background in therapy work.
The big difference between a life coach and a therapist is the relationship between the client and the coach. The relationship between the two goes beyond what standard therapy offers. Sessions are not confined to the usual meeting rooms -- more and more people contact their coach by phone, e-mail or even meet for a coffee.
Think more of a partner working together to achieve a goal rather than an expert trying to diagnose and treat a problem.
Do you need a life coach?
Only you will know if you really need a life coach or not. The following list of questions may help you decide:
Answering yes to any of the above questions doesn’t necessarily mean you need therapy, but might suggest that you could benefit from some life coaching.
Is coaching right for you?
Before you frantically flip through the phone book for some help, step back and ask what exactly you wish to accomplish with a coach. Once you establish this, a life coach can strategise a winning plan to help you attain your goals.
Life coaching may not be the best option for you if you have a hard time digesting constructive criticism or you just don’t think you can devote the time and energy to make a change for the better. Due to the partnership approach of coaching, it is vital that the client be open and willing to embrace the experience.