Life Coaching – The facts about what it is, and is not.
Many people often believe that coaching (and counselling) is where the facilitator is some kind of expert with all the answers on how to fix you and can magically give you all the solutions to achieving your goals in life. The reality is you know more about yourself than they will ever know – they do not know your world, what experiences you have had, your perception of things, your values, the environment you grew up in, or what genes you were provided with a birth. You are a blank canvas to them and they can only work with what you provide through both verbal and body language.
So if they are not the expert and they know nothing about you, or how to fix you, or what the magical solutions are then how can they possibly help you? And that is a great question.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as:
“partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
The very first thing that I make all my clients aware of right from the first moment is….. If they are not willing to do the work required, and they are expecting coaching to provide them with all the answers and all the results without putting in the effort themselves, then they will be very disappointed with the final outcome.
I can be the best coach on the planet – but if the client is not putting in the effort – it all will be for nothing. You can have the best camera money can buy – but sadly it will never capture great photos unless the user puts in the effort to learn about it and practices the skills.
“You will only get out of it what you put into it”.
A coach believes that you are the subject matter expert in your own life and that you are the best
person to help you. Nobody knows what your needs and wants are; what your goals and aspirations are; what your strengths and weaknesses are; or what your abilities and limitations are – better than you do!!
A good coach will listen to your situation and then through a series of tools assist you to unlock any barriers to your life and then support you in creating a road map for the way forward. They then become your accountability partner by checking in on you to see how things are going and help you to make any adjustments if necessary – if everything is going well we become your cheer squad to keep you motivated and driving forward.
A coach does not:
- focus on the past (counselling).
- tell you what you need to do or how to do it (teaching, consulting).
- go through every step of the process with you (mentoring).
A coach does:
- help you to clarify exactly what it is you want from your life.
- develop your own set of goals and action steps.
- encourage you to dig deep into your imagination and unlock the possible options you may have available.
- ask non-judgemental questions about your thoughts and ideas so that you can maybe open up new perspectives.
- give you the occasional nudge to keep you focused and on track with what you really want.
The GROW model
The GROW model is one example of the many tools a coach can use. Whilst it may not feel like exactly what you see below and the stages may not be as clearly defined, many coaches have this process in the back of their mind and working through it with you. The four stages of the GROW model are:
G – Goal
Clarify your goal.
R – Reality
Open the awareness to what is really going on in life right now.
O – Options
Explore the options available to you in order to achieve your goal?
W – What now
Clearly define the action steps required to move forward.
I hope this helps clarify what it is we do as part of the coaching process. I hope that one day we can help you set yourself up for success.
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