Demystifying Life Coaching
Would you like to know more about Life Coaching? Perhaps you’ve heard of it, been curious about it, but not been sure if it’s right for you? Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard about Life Coaching, but you’ve been thinking about changing your life and perhaps now is the right time?
My name is Alexander and I’m a Life Coach. I often meet people and tell them what I do for a living, and I can see on their face that they’re intrigued about Life Coaching straight away, but they’re also often confused about what it really means. For some people, Life Coaching has a bit of a polished American image – Anthony Robbins standing in front of crowds of thousands, telling them in a booming, ultra-positive voice that they CAN do it. And sure, positivity and encouragement are core parts of Life Coaching. But today I’d like to unpack it a bit for you, demystify it, and make it a bit more accessible. It might be that Life Coaching is exactly the thing you need in your life right now. It might not be. But I’d like to at least lay it out and give you an idea about what it really is.
What is Life Coaching?
First up, Life Coaching is about results. It’s about practical, real, measurable change in your life. It’s a set of techniques, ideas and research that have been proven to help people to make real, lasting changes in their lives. Life Coaching is about turning dreams (that is, the things that you most deeply want for yourself) into reality. It works by helping you develop your ideas about what you really want, then work out the steps to get you there. Once you start making changes, it’s a supportive, positive, encouraging process that keeps you moving, tracks your progress, and helps you fine-tune your ideas as you go.
The main difference between Life Coaching and other talking therapies, like counselling, is that it’s about the future. During a course of sessions with your Life Coach, you will absolutely touch on things from your past, and you’ll get help to reflect more deeply on your present situation, but the focus is where you’re going and what lies in your future. It’s based on the idea that you can choose your future, that you naturally have that power, and that you can begin making changes right now to make your future better, happier and more fulfilling.
How can Life Coaching help you?
Of course, there are going to be reasons why you haven’t already made the changes that you want in your life. Otherwise you’d already be living the dream! So Life Coaching helps you to understand the challenges, the blocks and the pitfalls that stand between you and your ideas for a better future, and then either plan around them or directly confront and overcome them. Your Life Coach will have the skills to be able to help you face things and transform them. Sometimes these are going to be practical obstacles, but more often they’re about our beliefs about what’s possible and what we can actually achieve.
We all tend to carry a lot of limiting beliefs. Maybe I want to launch my own business, but I’m just not that kind of person. Maybe I want a more fulfilling relationship, but I’m not very good at relationships and I always mess them up. Perhaps I want to get out there and make more friends, but I’m not really a sociable person and it’s better if I stay indoors. I’m not smart enough, not confident enough, not skilled enough, not lovable enough… In my coaching work, I meet so many forms of “not enough”. A lot of my training was about understanding where limiting beliefs about ourselves come from, and learning to transform or overcome them.
Other limiting beliefs are about the world. I’d love to change career, but there’s no way I could ever quit my job. I’d love to have a better relationship with my parents but they’re impossible to talk to. I have this dream of moving abroad, but obviously that’s not possible for me. Your Life Coach will work with you to understand and analyse these beliefs and work out what is really impossible, and what’s simply difficult or complicated. And then they’ll give you strategies and help you make plans on how you’re going to overcome the things you’re facing.
A challenging, rewarding experience
An important thing to understand about Life Coaching is that it’s a resource for you to use. It’s you directing the process. It’s your dream, your ideas, your relationships and your life. Your Life Coach is there to offer reflections, provide structure and ask useful questions. You’re going to be doing the hard work. When you explore a problem with your Life Coach, they’ll help you work out what your next steps might be, and you’ll agree on a plan and then you will need to carry it out. As a Life Coach I often challenge my clients, offer insights on the way they’re approaching problems or the way they see themselves and the world, and help them to achieve things they never thought were possible.
But at the end of the day, I’m just a mirror for them. The confidence they end up with, the things they achieve, the changes they make and the richer, fuller life they begin to live… all of this is the result of my client’s own hard work. To be honest, doing this work has really given me a warm, inspired feeling about everyone I meet. I’ve seen people achieve amazing things, often to their own surprise, and I’ve learned to see the true potential inside people, even when they can’t see it themselves.
So the experience of going to see a Life Coach, for most people, feels positive, challenging, creative and motivating. You get to talk through your ideas, get things out of your head and into the room, and you work with somebody who really cares about your progress and your achievements to dream, plan and create a better life for yourself. This can be in almost any area of your life, so if you’ve got a desire to change your life, this type of talking therapy might be right for you.
Every Life Coach is different. We’ve all done certain core training but we each bring our own specialisms and expertise to the work. There are executive coaches who work with people to develop their careers within large organisations. There are coaches who specialise in love, intimacy, sex and romance. There are coaches for particular industries, like writing and publishing your own novel.
My own specialism is depth. Before I became a Life Coach, my background was philosophy, and the wise healing traditions from ancient and indigenous cultures. I owned and ran a therapy centre (a lot like About Balance!) and I ran coaching programmes at centres for leadership development and nature awareness. My work draws on zen and sufism, from the shamanic traditions from North and South America and from Northern Europe, and from the modern masters of these forms of wisdom, like Bill Plotkin, Marshall Rosenberg and Brene Brown.
Coaching with me is walking a twin trail: you will work with me to develop your life and take steps in the direction of your dreams, and you will also walk an inner trail where you come to deeply understand yourself, your motivations and choices, your wounds and limiting beliefs, and we will work to radically transform the way you feel. I help my clients to overcome moments of crisis, feelings of being overwhelmed, feelings of deep dissatisfaction or disappointment, or to take positive steps forward at particularly challenging or emotionally-charged points in their lives. I work with highly successful business people, with home-makers, with artists and with those who work in offices. The things my clients have in common is courage, a willingness to change and a thirst for wholeness.
I call this work Deep Coaching and it’s based around twelve Core Principles which you can find at www.deepcoaching.co.uk. Even when I’m working with my client to develop their business, find lasting love, become more effective at work or transform a crisis into an opportunity – I am also working with them to develop their confidence and personal power, to feel more present and conscious, to be more aware of their connections with the world around them and to develop their awareness of their own inner processes. It’s all done in a positive, creative and nurturing environment and my clients tell me that they find it really helpful.
If you’d like to learn more about Life Coaching, or book a session with me at About Balance, please contact me.