What is Life Coaching?

by Personal Development

In recent years, there has been a craze around the world about coaching; in particular about life coaching. The life coaching industry has seen a tremendous rise in uptake among companies and individuals alike. But do people really understand what it really is or are they simply following the trend?

Life coaching at its most basic level is a conversation. But it is not just an ordinary conversation. It is a process whereby the life coach helps people grow into their highest potential as human beings. Life coaching helps to identify the interference or obstruction in their life and device concrete ways to remove or overcome it. Life coaching at its core is all about overcoming the obstacles and equipping one’s self with the necessary tools and strategies to face any new ones. The life coach concentrates on balancing all the areas of the clients’ lives. They work from the premise that the clients have all the resources they need to solve their own problems and that it is their job to help them remove the obstacles that prevent this from happening. It has absolutely nothing to do with imposing knowledge or giving advice to the client.

Their main job can simply be defined as helping individuals turn their lives into extraordinary ones and experience life to the fullest, and who wouldn’t want that?

Life coaches inspire, encourage and guide their clients to push further than they have ever done before so as to create their best life yet.

A competent life coach skillfully creates an environment that lets the client see their blind spots which constitute doubts, beliefs, and fears that are holding them back and then help them to overcome both external and internal barriers towards fulfillment and happiness.

The crucial elements in life coaching

1. Life coaching bridges the Gap  

A crucial element of Life coaching is the gap analysis. It’s about helping the client close the gap between their life and their dreams.

In most cases, even for clients with really audacious dreams, there is a tendency to underperform because there is a conflict between their value systems and their desires. People unconsciously depend on their belief systems and values for guidance, most of which were developed in their childhood. Most of these systems may no longer serve them well in adulthood. Nevertheless, people will still act and judge based on those obsolete principles.

For a life coach to effectively help the client to address these barriers, they should first identify the client’s desired outcomes. Eventually, any conflict between beliefs and desires should be looked into but, primarily, the job of the life coach is to get results – results, results, and nothing but results! 

Which brings us to the next crucial element of life coaching.

2. Life coaching is result-oriented

Anyone who goes for life coaching is focused on one thing: can they get to their desired goal and can they do it fast.

For this reason, any life coach who spends the initial time with their clients on anything other than results diminishes the impact of the coaching process. They convert it from a coach-client relationship to a therapist-client situation. They radically change the whole process and affect the coaching agenda.

But when a life coach focuses on outcomes or results, they enable their clients to define and achieve these with ease. The clients can then be guided to examine their beliefs and values. The main work of a life coach is not to change the client’s beliefs and values. Although changes in negative or undesirable values and beliefs can accelerate the achievement of outcomes, such changes should only be addressed with care and after a clear working relationship has been well developed.

3. Life coaching empowers the client

Another crucial role of life coaching is to empower and enable the client. This is achieved by leveraging the client’s commitment to the actions they set to take. Once a client agrees to an activity, they will only get it done if they are committed to doing it. The level of commitment is closely linked with the client’s identity.

It is the work of the life coach to tap into this power. The power of commitment relies on a simple social reinforcement of people conforming to who they say they are. It uses the power of honesty. Clients would be perceived as dishonest if they do not fulfill the commitments they make. Commitment and trust in most cases go hand in hand. People who do not fulfill their commitments are generally considered not to be trusted. They are seen as unreliable, devious and shifty.

Most clients would not want other people, especially a life coach who they have committed their hard-earned cash to, to think they possess these negative characteristics. Instead, they will do whatever is in their power to achieve the targets, actions, and goals that they have agreed to.

4. Life coaching is holistic

Life coaching helps clients in every aspect of their lives. Unlike business consultancy or sports coaching, it is holistic and considers all the dimensions of a client’s life. This includes health, career, wealth, business, social relationships and one’s contribution to society. If life coaching were to concentrate on just one area in isolation and develop that area only, then the client’s life would become unbalanced. When a person overachieves at work but underachieves in personal relationships, the negative effects of their personal relationships can have an adverse effect on their performance at work and vice versa.

A client may be succeeding in business, but at the same time ignoring their health. As a result, they can develop a serious illness which means that they would have to take time away from the business and the business may consequently suffer. A life coach can advantageously use this effect when persuading high achievers to look to their health and the contribution areas of their lives.

In other instances, a client might be focusing on their physical body to the extent that they or skip or miss work in order to maintain that model beautiful. In the end, they might end up with financial problems which would cause them to worry and lose sleep. Loss of sleep will have an adverse impact on their body. A life coach can leverage this so as to encourage the clients to focus on financial matters as well.

Life is a wonderful cycle. Its various facets give the life coach many options of persuasion and leverage when they find compelling reasons for the client to follow through on actions that will lead to a holistic improvement by achieving the set goals in all areas of their lives.

The action of bringing achievement and balance into the lives of their clients produces great rewards for the life coach also. As they help the clients to define goals in all areas of life and then guide them to achieve the results, they too get is a sense of awareness of the importance of harmony and balance in their own life.

What skills are needed in life coaching?

The world’s leading life coaches share a few attributes that play a big role in how they help their clients. Below are 7 attributes of a good life coach.

01 Extraordinary Listening Skills

A good life coach is a master listener. They believe in the power of deep listening- by listening a whole lot more than they speak. They practice this deep listening with their clients, looking out for the thoughts and emotions left unsaid between and behind the words.

02 Skilled at Drawing the Line

They understand the importance of creating and maintaining healthy boundaries with their clients. They know that for them to do their best and help in the best way, they must allow themselves time to constantly replenish and restore their energy. This means they must create space and time for themselves from their work by introducing clear boundaries such as “no messages or  calls on weekends and after hours.”

03 Non-Stop Focused Learning

A good life coach is a learning machine – especially in their area of expertise or niche. Great life coaches believe one can never know ‘too much’ about how they can help their clients. They are always testing and working with new techniques and strategies and are constantly trying to upgrade their skills through workshops, trainings, and seminars.

04 Self-Awareness

The best life coaches are constantly looking for new and unique ways to improve their self-awareness in both their outer and inner worlds. They fully understand that for them to help their clients find the clarity they too must strive to have it for themselves first.

05 Open-Minded and Open Hearted

They strongly believe that each of us has a right to happiness. However, they also recognize that each individual has the freedom to choose. For this reason, they maintain a  non-judgmental view of a client’s life choices or goals. Great life coaches understand that their main objective, and the most important one, is helping each client live their best life based on values and personal beliefs even when these differ from the life coach’s own values and beliefs.

06 Committed to Creating Results

They are committed –almost to the point of obsession – to creating results for their clients. They are willing to create their own coaching methodology and customized techniques or even work with unconventional methods so as to help their clients get the results they desire and deserve.

07 Compassionate Truth

They recognize the need for their clients to know the truth –which more often than not is the hard truth. Mostly this is the truth about themselves or what they really need to change or do so as to make progress and achieve their goals. The best life coaches are never afraid to be honest and truthful with their clients. For this reason, they have skillfully learned how to share these truths with kindness and compassion.

How does Life Coaching work?

Life coaching helps clients in every aspect of their lives. It is holistic and considers every dimension of a client’s life. This includes health, business, social relationships, career, wealth and one’s contribution. If life coaching concentrates on a single area in isolation, and in turn only that area  develops, then the result for the client is an unbalanced life. If a client overachieves in their work work but under-achieves in their personal relationships, the resulting negative effects of their personal relationships might seriously affect their performance at work.

When clients exceed in business success, but ignore their health, they can develop ulcers or serious illnesses. In the cyclical pattern of life, this means that they must take time away from the business and the business may suffer as a consequence. The life coach can advantageously use this effect when persuading high achievers to look to their health and the contribution areas of their lives.

On the other hand, if a client focus on their physical body to the extent that they miss or skip work in order to maintain the body beautiful, they may end up with financial problems. Financial problems will cause them to worry and lose sleep. Loss of sleep will have a negative impact on their body and this perspective can be leveraged by the coach to encourage the clients to focus on financial matters. Life is a  wonderful cycle, that gives the life coach great areas of persuasion when finding compelling reasons for clients to follow through on actions that will lead to achievement of goals in all areas of their lives.

As a result of the coach helping to bring achievement and balance into the lives of their clients,  they also get rewards in their life too. As they help their clients to define goals in all areas of their lives and then work to help them achieve results, it make them aware of the importance of harmony and balance in their own life as well.

Life coaching brings about an interdependency between client and the coach. It is a relationship based on respect, honesty and the life coach’s strong beliefs in their client’s unlimited potential.