An Introduction to Life Coaching
posted by Ros Bott
- Life Coaching -
LIFE COACHING DEFINED
Five years ago I had never heard of the term 'life coach', let alone think that I would one day be one. However, life coaching is spreading very quickly in the UK. Type 'life coach' into any internet search engine and you will find an almost bewildering amount of directories and websites all offering coaching services.
So, what is it?
Imagine your life as a journey. Sometimes along the way there are places you want to get to, but the path seems complicated and there are many distractions and false turnings. You lose your map. You perhaps have tried to get to this place before, but you never made it - something got in the way or it was too difficult. Perhaps you are stuck in one place, resigned to being where you don't really want to be, but the thought of trying again to get out of it is far too scary.
Perhaps you have even forgotten that there was ever another place you wanted to reach, but you have a continual, sneaking feeling that there is something else out there beyond the boundary that could be so much better.
In life these metaphors stand for being in a dead-end or boring job, but feeling unable to move forwards to something else. Or it could be that a relationship has become stale. Or perhaps you just feel that you are not living the life that expresses you, or are unsure who that person is anyway.
Going back to our travel metaphor, you can think of the life coach as a kind of travel guide. This person knows there is a world beyond the boundary and can help you discover it for yourself. He or she knows the nature of the obstacles that are in your way but knows that it is possible to overcome them, and how. This travel guide can help the traveller to draw up a map, with landmarks and destinations along the way that will be part of the journey and assure the traveller that they are on the right track. The guide will stay with the traveller, keeping their focus on the way ahead and reminding them of their final destination when they get distracted or disheartened. The guide will encourage them when they get discouraged and urge them on when they lose heart.
In other words, the life coach helps you get from where you are now to where you want to be – and often will help you to find out where it is you want to be! The life coach does not tell you what to do, but uses techniques to draw answers from you so that you can make the choices that are right for you. This makes it completely different to counselling (which works on the past) or advice (which is usually someone telling you what you 'should' do).
I like to call it 'getting in touch with your passion'. We are all passionate about something (though some of us may have forgotten what it is, or not found it yet) – and I believe that when people are doing or living the thing they are passionate about, they are truly living in their full self-expression of who they are and why they are here.