What is Life Coaching?
What is a life coach? How can life coaching help you and what is it that a life coach can help you with? I will answer these and other lifestyle questions in this post and hopefully clarify what a life coach can help you achieve.
I passed my Life Coach Diploma through the New Skills Academy in August 2020 and will continue to develop myself in providing help in this field. Life coaching is in my opinion a perfect and natural accompaniment to my personal training business.
I’ll start with a short answer, a life coach will provide an environment of strong support without judgement. In other words, a life coach will do for your mind what a personal trainer will do for your body.
A healthy body is also a great way to ensure a healthy mind. As part of my life coaching strategy I will always talk to you about your activity levels and physical wellbeing. If this is an area you are struggling with just now i.e. home workouts, training equipment for home use or what the benefits are in strength training then these article should help.
There are 5 key steps that a life coach will take you through on your journey to a more fulfilling, enriched and meaningful life. Each of these steps has its own steps and processes and may involve various questions as well as guidance and support.
- Recognise your core values
- Remove your limiting beliefs
- Crystalise your goals
- Write them down
- Follow through on your action plan
I will be providing some workshop style guidance as well as asking you some questions to work through within the full version of this post. This is only available to my The HIIT Works subscribers. If you want to see the full version and access more lifestyle information, healthy recipes, workouts and training programmes you can subscribe here.
The difference between counselling and life coaching
A life coach will not provide you with an answer to all your problems. A good life coach will guide and support you in making better choices over time. They will help you get past your internal obstacles to success and wellbeing. It’s a timely process, and everybody will require different time scales in realising their goals and dreams.
Here’s a quick summary of the differences between life coaching and counselling:
- Counselling aims to heal and treat, while coaching is orientated towards health, potential and wholeness
- Counselling emphasises healing the past and releasing pain, while life coaching helps you focus on the future and motivates you to pursue your passion and dreams
- A counsellor is perceived as someone who offers insights and intervention, while a life coach is regarded as a partner and guide
- A counsellor helps reinstate functionality and stability in your life, while a life coach helps you progress on your life path and discover your own calling
We as life coaches are not preachers or agony aunts, we don’t just chat over a coffee and give you some random advice. Life coaches provide a structure or framework, based on your emotions, beliefs and motivations that help you to explore and evaluate different areas of your life. In enabling you to have a deeper look at your life, a life coach guides you in seeing your life path more clearly and achieve your goals and dreams.
Our Beliefs and Values
There are certain elements and aspects that are common to us all, beliefs and core values. These are deeply rooted in our psyche and have a huge influence on our decision making, choices, feelings and behaviours.
Beliefs are conditioned perceptions that are formed in our minds, based on previous experiences, whether good or bad. These persistent and powerful perceptions rely on the way in which we have internalised our experiences. Beliefs do not reflect the actual experiences but are based on our perception of them.
Our beliefs can be limiting as much as they can be a strong underpinning of who we are. This is also true of our core values, these can be attributes of immense strength for us as well as areas of fear within ourselves and fear of others, their actions, thoughts and feelings.
Our values define us and help us to live meaningful lives. There are many values, and we each will take on and internalise those values that mean the most to us. This is most often a subconscious process as much as a conscious action.
Limiting beliefs can stop us from living fulfilling and purposeful lives, limiting beliefs can prevent us from living fearlessly. These beliefs can make us feel that we are less than we are and stop us achieving our dreams and goals.
One of our first and most important tasks as a life coach is to identify your limiting beliefs and help you to overcome your inner fears. Our subconscious thoughts, actions and behaviours are driven by our self limiting beliefs, and as such we are often unable to understand the reasons why we do the things we do or the decisions we make.
Negative beliefs about yourself can create the very circumstances that you have been hoping to avoid. Self doubt or a lack of confidence can often be driven by or lead to a reinforcement of these limiting beliefs.
These beliefs can be divided into three categories: psychological beliefs, global beliefs and convictions. The strongest and most deeply embedded of these beliefs are convictions which can stop us from realising our full potential.
Three Types of Beliefs:
- Psychological rules refer to the rules that support beliefs.
- We need to be aware of these rules, as they are instrumental in driving behaviours, motivation and fears.
- These ‘rules’ often determine that something that you see or experience is the truth, even if, in reality, it is not.
- While psychological rules mostly shape our opinions and beliefs about ourselves, global beliefs dictate our beliefs towards others and the world in general. They invariably begin with ‘People are good/bad’, ‘Life is great/rubbish’, etc.
- Convictions are the type of beliefs that are backed by the maximum levels of commitment, even if they go completely against logic and reality. These are the beliefs that are the most challenging to get rid of.
- Convictions are those beliefs in which we have invested the maximum effort, energy and time. Positive convictions invariably result in high levels of motivation, and people who have strong, positive convictions are not deterred by adverse circumstances.
Attributes of a Life Coach
A life coach needs to follow the old adage of “you have one mouth and two ears so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. In fact, our clients should do 80% of the talking while we listen, ask open questions and guide your thought process.
It is important that a life coach listens carefully to their client, using a process called active listening. This will reassure you, the client, that we are paying attention and taking on board all that you are saying. 93% of communication is non-verbal, body language, posture, movement or non-movement etc.
A life coach must be able to quickly build a rapport and develop a professional relationship of trust with you in order to help you effectively. This will better enable us to understand and evaluate your relationships with yourself, your family, friends, work colleagues and the people in our wider society.
Probably the most important skills a life coach should have are the ability to ask the right questions and to know when to shut up, to use silence effectively. In asking questions we are finding out about you and how we can guide you to make the right choices and decisions moving forward. If we do not do this well, then we can’t develop the trust and rapport needed for you to be honest and open with me as your life coach or yourself.
At its core, communication is said to have taken place when a message is said, received and understood as it was intended from both client and coach. Any change to this can hamper the communication process. As a life coach, effective communication skills play an important part in developing a successful working relationship with you, our clients.
How Can Life Coaching Help You?
This is the big question, the one that will determine whether you reach out or decide it’s all a load of rubbish. How can life coaching help you, what will a coach be able to do for you?
In these current times, I am writing this in January 2021 in the depth of another covid-19 lockdown, we are faced with many new situations and challenges at a personal, family and work level. These are unprecedented times and you may have feelings of helplessness or of being overwhelmed by it all.
It could be that this last year has forced you into a change of career or way of working as it did to me. Having someone to talk to, who could guide you to seeing a way through the challenges you face by making some simple choices or changing your thought process on certain aspects of your life could help you in more ways than one.
Most life coaches have specialities, certain areas of experience or expertise. Below is a list of some of the more common areas in which we work. I have highlighted my own key areas and will go into these in a little more detail below.
- Sports Coaching
- Personal/Confidence Coaching
- Women’s Coaching
- Career, career transition, and financial coaching
- Stress and anxiety coaching
- Relationship/intimacy coaching
- Wellness coaching
- Business/leadership coaching
- Money management coaching
This is not an exhaustive list, if what you need is not listed here then you will definitely be able to find a coach online that will have the necessary skills and experience you are looking for. Be sure to check their credentials, qualifications and experience. Do they have any references, are they registered with any governing bodies for example.
I have listed wellness coaching and personal/confidence coaching as my key areas. I feel that my experience as a personal trainer, strength & conditioning coach and gym manager where I am looking after the physical wellbeing of gym members, team members and clients naturally leads into helping with mental wellbeing and mindset.
Personal/Confidence coaching can be summarised in the following manner:
- I can help you, my clients develop self-confidence, self-esteem and examine areas of your life about which you may harbour limiting beliefs. Often, you may be unaware of inner fears and limitations that are preventing you from moving forward. Speaking with a life coach can provide you with the space you need for personal reflection.
- Personal life coaching covers several areas of life, including goals, feelings, achievement, success and relationships. As a personal life coach, my training and skills can result in far-reaching consequences for my clients and help you to improve your life in several meaningful ways.
- The very act of speaking to you can help you to take further accountability for yourself because you are articulating your goals to me. This in and of itself works effectively in terms of improving commitment and accountability.
- Personal coaching is excellent for those individuals who would like one-to-one time with their coach and prefer privacy, space and time in which to speak with you alone.
Wellness Coaching can be summarised in the following way:
- Wellness coaching is a combination of health and emotional coaching and helps bridge the gap between what people say they want and what they actually do. One of the most holistic objectives of wellness coaching is to help you overcome resistance to change and thus progress.
- Wellness coaches help clients identify what you want and why you want it and, based on that, they help you work out a realistic and practical plan that helps you reach your goals. A wellness coach will help you to own your goals, take responsibility and become accountable for your commitment to the plan.
- Wellness deals with physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and includes different aspects, such as nutrition, stress, weight loss and health. Wellness coaching helps put people in charge of their own health and wellbeing.
- A wellness coach is able to facilitate change, by integrating the client’s values, visions, goals and desires, by helping you bring out the best of yourself. The process promotes sustainable behavioural change, by highlighting your unique skills, strengths and resources, and then helps you to transform your dreams into achievable value-based objectives.
- Wellness coaching is best described as a process of empowering self-exploration and self-learning.
There is a very close link between mental and physical wellbeing as mentioned above, and quite often as a personal trainer I would discuss areas of mental wellbeing and mindset as part of our gym session. Often this was without agenda, just conversation.
A lot of my clients would say they felt more confident the fitter and stronger they got. I would ask why and more often than not their answer would be that in achieving something they didn’t think was possible i.e. lifting a heavier weight or looking and feeling better had led them to believe they could achieve more in other areas of their lives.
This led me to the idea of becoming a life coach and taking a diploma course. I am also self educating in this area through reading and various workshops.
So to answer the big question of how can a life coach help you, it depends. I know that this is a really poor answer but hear me out. We are not therapists or counsellors, we are coaches and as such we will guide and ask questions so that you come up with the answer yourselves. In which case, it means building a professional relationship built around trust and honesty.
I hope that you have found this helpful? For more posts on health and fitness please visit my website www.getcoached.net and if you want to access this post in full then sign up to The HIIT Works by Get Coached here!
If you would like to follow up on this and find out more about life coaching and how it can help you then please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Life Coaching as the subject.