Life Coaching has been given many definitions but it is essentially an ongoing conversation between coach and client that seeks to be purposeful and inspire the client to create the life that they want. This is done by creating the right conditions for the right outcomes to happen, and crucially the client must be inspired to find the answers themselves, typically through the use of questions from the coach as well as mirroring of the client’s own language, rather then being given ‘advice’ and instruction. Essentially, life coaching uses dialogue to continually move in the right direction towards the life for the client that they aspire to, helping them along the way by identifying strengths and limitations, refocus their life goals and move past challenges that stand in the way of these goals. Coaches have semi-humorously been described as ‘part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist and part rent-a-friend’, although the fact that the role encompasses different strands shouldn’t detract from its fairly concrete definition and the well-established methods involved in successful life coaching.
In what areas can life coaching be useful?
Life Coaching can be useful in such areas as negotiating better interpersonal relationships, improving physical wellbeing and fitness level, deciding a career path, managing time and energy better, organising personal finances and improving the image of an individual or perhaps a department or entire company.
A Life Coach is not a qualified therapist, a counsellor or mentor, although there is undoubtedly overlap in those areas. A good coach will be a person with specific skills and knowledge who will come armed with exercises and activites to help the client adapt their outlook and see things differently (not unlike Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), but crucially they will also have a manner designed to give the client a safe space to fully express themselves and if required both unlock and offload emotions that are not useful and need to be expressed and/or discarded. And who couldn’t do with that?