Life Coaching – Is it really for you?

I love where our world is at right now. Yes, I know there is a lot of strife, but amidst all that, I love that there are so many people wanting to help and serve others to live healthier lifestyles, reach personal goals, launch a business, have a bigger impact at work, get that promotion or follow a dream. Coaching is one of the biggest trends right now, which I believe has the staying power and is here for the long haul. As long as people want to continue to grow, take steps forward, uncover their purpose, realize a dream, or get-unstuck, there will be a place for coaching.

I’ve been asked by friends and colleagues “Is coaching really for me”? And I answer this question pretty much the same way every time. Coaching is for everybody and anybody, if you are willing to do the work.

My first real experience of coaching was when I was in high school, with my basketball coach. At the time I was a self-centered teenager so didn’t really give him the props he deserved. But in hindsight he was, what I would consider, a great coach. He gave the team a goal: a vision to reach the provincials. He brought out the individual strengths of our team members. He held us each accountable for showing up and doing our individual and collective work. And he made us work hard! He ran dribbling drills, running drills, foul shot drills, offensive plays, defensive plays – he pushed us and made us practice and practice to prepare us for the real show. I didn’t love those drills, those hard practices, but I realize now the importance of learning, making mistakes and trying again in a safe environment – to be able to perfect (as much as a pimply narcissistic teenager could) the skills we’d need to get out there and be a contender (cue Rocky music). And he showed up. Every single practice. Every single game. He was positive, fired-up and encouraging. He was all-in. While there were fans in the stands, I’d argue that he was our #1 fan. And here’s the thing… we did really well with him as our coach. We made it to provincials and played well all year long. I’m not convinced we’d have done so well without him.

Flash forward to 2007 when I started my life coach training. At first I thought sports coaching and life coaching were completely different. But they are more alike than I originally thought. Life coaching is about supporting the “client” to get clear on their own dreams, purpose, goals or intention. It is about helping, in a safe place, to try things out before taking it back to the real world. It is about tapping into strengths and bringing out the best in you. It’s about helping you tackle obstacles. It’s about motivating you to step outside that super-safe comfort zone to live the life you crave. It’s about having a #1 fan (your coach) to celebrate the small steps as well as the big wins. Much like my basketball coach, a life coach is on the side-lines, but in a good way – cheering you on, supporting you, helping you pick up yourself up after a tumble, brush off and try again.

So is life coaching for you? It all depends on your readiness and willingness. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and do some work (sometimes outside your comfort zone)? Do you have dreams or goals you want to realize? Obstacles knocking you off course? If so, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Not every coach is the same. In fact, this is where is can be overwhelming but also an important part of finding the right coach. There are coaches that specialize in areas such as health, executive, business start-up, career etc. For example, when building my consulting business I hired a coach/mentor with entrepreneur and business expertise. If you know you have something specific you want to tackle consider a specialized coach. If you are not clear or have broader needs, consider a life coach. Ask friends or colleagues for a recommendation.
  2. Be sure to talk to a few different potential coaches. The coaching relationship is based on trust and it’s got to be a fit for the coach and the client. You are spending your well-earned dollars on a coach, you need to trust them and feel comfortable working with them. Interview a few coaches to determine who is the right fit for you.
  3. Take the leap. Commit and get started. If you go into it with an open-mind and ready to do the work, you might just amaze yourself at what you can do. Oh yeah, and have fun!

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