Lately I’ve received a lot of questions about life coaching and how it specifically works. It’s a great question of which I am going to devote my next few blog entries, to share how it has impacted my life and in general ways, others I’ve supported with coaching tools.
The International Coaching Federation defines professional coaching as:
“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
- Encourage client self-discovery
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
- Hold the client responsible and accountable
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.”
Given that this definition is quite lengthy and a lot to digest, I’ll break it down in a simple personal example, which can hopefully illustrate its power.
Ten years ago I knew I wanted to become a life coach, but I didn’t know how and I didn’t feel as though I had the resources or experiences to create the value I dreamed of providing to people daring enough to dream.
Denying this passion for years, caused a great deal of suffering and dis-ease, but also fostered a creativity in myself that I had not connected to before.
I didn’t know I was using “life coaching” tools at the time, but I spent hours in self-discovery, with books, worksheets and at life skill workshops. I questioned my thoughts, my material needs and what the “truth” really was for me.
I discovered what I needed most was a creative outlet to serve with compassion and personal peace. I wasn’t concerned about why my past had led me to wanting this, rather I knew that I needed to make changes to enable myself to have a better future. (I.e. coaching is future oriented, rather than focusing on resolving issues from the past).
At the time I was in a professional job that allowed me to learn and earn a great deal, yet it didn’t allow for me to have the few things I coveted the most— the creative outlet and personal peace.
I worked a lot with my thoughts to “love what is” and find peace in the circumstances of my life. From studying life coaching, I understood that it wasn’t always the circumstances that needed changing—often it was the thought behind the feeling.
This helped for some time, but daily my “why—am I doing this?” question become louder. I couldn’t deny that it didn’t feel right. It was time to be creative, resourceful and accountable to what I wanted most.
Change #1—I needed time to understand what “serving with compassion” meant in life coaching—so I dropped the weekend shopping, gym membership (to save time not driving) and hobby reading. I read everything I could about life coaching and joined a certification program.
Change #2—I needed to save money to earn time to build my business. I limited going out to eat from 3-4 times a week to once a week, learned how to cook, garden, can and created a love affair with Pinterest. Moreover, there was not one vacation I didn’t book with some free component and I read every financial investing blog I could get my hands on.
Change #3—I focused on my individual strengths of curiosity and connecting with others. Whenever I met with people who were successful in their field, I asked them “what gets them excited to come to work every day?” “How do they maintain the energy to keep creating and thriving in their chosen field?” I reflected and journaled on what they said and used it as an internal barometer to know when I was on-track or off-track of my purpose.
Not every strategy and action was known at the forefront of discovering my ideal life vision. My biggest issue is that I didn’t have trust in the universe to know that it was working in my favor all along and often had insomnia, as I resisted the circumstances of life.
Looking back I am glad I had the tools of life coaching to help myself, but I wish I would have had a coach along the way to dispel the myriad of fears that came up about making the leap to follow my dreams. The fears were never real, they were only my reptilian brain trying to keep me safe—a coach would have served as the light for me to see this truth earlier.
Often investing in yourself is tough, especially when you are not guaranteed a specific outcome. It requires a trust in the universe that things are sent to you on purpose and at the right time for your growth.
Next time you have the opportunity to trust and invest in yourself to live a life you love, I encourage you to do so. Don’t keep living the same year over and over again, instead create the change you want to see and slowly you will begin to live the life that you have always wanted.