A Broad Industry
If you're reading this, you probably already have some idea about what coaching is. If you need a little bit more info, check out my article 'Why You Should Get A Coach for 2021' for a description of what coaching is - and isn't!
The coaching industry is incredibly broad and covers multiple aspects of life. A quick search on Google will lead you to life coaches, confidence coaches, mindset coaches, executive coaches, relationship coaches, existential coaches, nutrition coaches, business coaches...basically, if you've got a problem or need, you can usually find a coach for it!
Probably the most recognised term is 'Life Coach'; but this simple label doesn't fully communicate the diverse areas a life coach can support you with.
For example, I support my clients with numerous aspects of life; building a stronger mindset and greater confidence, making life decisions, finding meaning and purpose, overcoming 'mum' guilt or imposter syndrome, developing positive habits to create happiness and life satisfaction, rediscovering yourself and your dreams, using cognitive behavioural and neuro-linguistic coaching to explore and redefine situations, and achieving personal development goals and accepting change.
So in covering all these areas, I myself am a 'life' coach. However, using my MSc in Positive Psychology Coaching as a framework to underpin my practice, I generally consider 'Positive Psychology Coach' to be a more accurate term to describe my work.
Who is Coaching For?
Basically, coaching is for (almost) everyone. If you want to achieve a specific goal, be it health, career, relationship or fitness related; if you feel stuck in a job you hate, a relationship you no longer want; or if you're tired of feeling like you have no control. You might feel like something is missing from your life, but you aren't sure what it is. Or, you feel like your life is so far from the one you imagine and dream of you can't help but ask; Is This It?
Why do I say almost everyone? Well, coaching requires an understanding that self-awareness and personal development is the key to achieving goals and overcoming challenges. It requires a commitment of time and money, an appreciation of accountability and the drive to take action to create the mindset shifts necessary to tackle your inner critic, confront your fears of failure and start living life to the full.
If you expect someone else to do all the work and give you all the answers, if you aren't ready to commit to the personal work and time needed to make change happen or if you need help with deep-rooted psychological issues, then coaching is not for you my friend.
Many celebs and highly successful entrepreneurs and business leaders swear that having a life coach has contributed to their success. But why has it made such a huge impact on their life? Read on to find out why coaching works.
Why Does it Work?
Research into coaching confirms that it has a significant positive effect on a number of individual outcomes, including: performance/skills, wellbeing, resilience and coping, attitude to work and goal-directed self-regulation, among others.
Truly there are a number of reasons why coaching works, but in my experience, the main reasons are as follows:
Time and Headspace
We are all so very busy that we don't often stop to think about the big questions. Like whether we are actually happy or satisfied with our lives, or what we need to do to achieve our goals. Regular coaching provides the time and head space for you to reflect on your life as a whole in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental environment. This allows you to consider what you really want, rather than just going through your daily motions on autopilot.
You Are The Expert
Coaches are often naturally curious and they will ask questions to gently encourage and challenge you to be open and honest with yourself during your sessions. This enables you to develop clarity or insight into yourself, build self-confidence, overcome mindset barriers and re-train your automatic negative thoughts to build resilience and inner strength. Good coaches will support you to learn to trust yourself more.
Unconditional Positive Support
Coaching is a partnership built on trust and unconditional positive regard. Your coach trusts that you are the expert in your life and will offer you support to help you develop the tools and personal insight you need to achieve your dreams.
Qualified coaches, especially those with a background in positive psychology coaching (wink), can offer a wide range of psychometric assessments and coaching approaches. They can enable you to uncover and understand hidden aspects of your personality, thoughts or desires, and can help you make use of practical tools to support your goal achievement.
Regular coaching involves an investment of time and money, which along with the setting of regular tasks or mini-goals, provides an element of accountability and generally promotes commitment, action & progress.
Program or Open-ended
Although most coaches offer open-ended coaching - which means that you bring to the session whatever challenges you are experiencing right now - many coaches also offer programs designed to help you achieve specific objectives.
For example, Keystone Coaching offers 'Is This It?' a 12-week intensive program designed to help you re-evaluate your life and find your purpose; and 'InsideOut Wellbeing', a 6-week holistic wellbeing and fitness course designed to help you feel healthier, fitter and happier mind, body and soul.
These programs are designed with an end goal in mind and the coach uses their experience, and in my case, scientific research, to guide their program development to increase their clients chance of success.
Both coaching approaches have their pro's and con's, however ultimately you need to be clear, open and honest with your coach about the end results you are looking for. Any coach worth their salt will either be able to adapt their program or approach to suit your needs, or will recommend a colleague or fellow coach who might suit you better.
As you can see, there are a number of possible reasons why coaching works, but probably the biggest thing you can take from this article, is that it will work if you are committed, make the time and effort, and of course, if you find the right coach for you! Look out for my article, 'How to Choose the Right Coach for You' later in January.
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