What is a life coach and what does he or she do?
Put simply, coaching enables a person, group or team to move from where they are now to where they wish to be through a process of exploration and action.
A life coach is there to guide and inspire his or her client to bring about a clearer understanding of their aspirations, goals and life purpose and to effect the necessary changes in their behaviour to ensure the realisation of those objectives and desires.
So, how does coaching help the client? By
- Establishing clear, motivating goals
- Identifying blocks to achieving the goals
- Exploring and resolving mental barriers
- Overcoming particular emotional or practical challenges
- Enhancing self-awareness and interpersonal interactions
- Developing greater skills to manage decisions and actions more effectively
- Increasing ownership of feelings and self-responsibility
- Building confidence in their accomplishments
- Identifying the next steps and clear action plans
- And much more!
Whereas counselling/psychotherapy deal with the past and mentoring shares experience, life coaches work with their clients to look to the future by helping them design and execute their own solutions to their problems and challenges.
To this end the coach skilfully listens, questions, reflects, encourages, challenges and supports.
Life coaching is underpinned by some core principles which differentiate it from these other areas:
- Forward looking: coaching helps the client look forward to the goals they wish to achieve.
Action-oriented: coaching aims to create change and practical results.
- Empowering: coaching should enable the client to have greater skills of self-management for future success.
- Results-driven: coaching needs to be measurable by focusing on clearly defined goals and outcomes.
- Non-advisory: coaching encourages the client to shape their own solutions in accordance with their beliefs and values
- Non-judgemental: a coach does not judge the decisions or actions of the client but instead creates a conversation that enables self-scrutiny
- Equal: the relationship between coach and client is one of mutual respect and trust with the shared aim to generate the desired results from coaching
In summary, coaching helps people clarify where they are now, what are the real challenges that need to be faced and what obstacles need to be overcome. Finally, it creates clear sighted decisions, specific plans and committed action.
All of this is achieved through a process of focused questioning, objective feedback plus powerful tools and techniques. These are the skills required to make someone a good coach.
Dr Claire Maguire teaches these skills to a select handful of students to enable them to become great life coaches.