Life coaching has many definitions and what each type of life coach offers can vary to a large degree. But all life coaching practices have one main objective: helping clients bridge the gap between where they are in life right now and where they want to be. They function like a supportive friend and a trusted adviser – all rolled into one.
What do life coaches do?
The answer to this is varied.
A good life coach helps clients identify their goals, holds them accountable for their actions, and encourages them on their journey to become better individuals.
Life coaching can include various aspects – from relationship & health coaching to life skills and career coaching. If people are looking for guidance in gaining confidence, career change, self-worth and esteem, work-life balance, relationships, finding purpose, health, and emotional intelligence – in all these endeavors, a life coach can help them reach their respective goals.
That being said, no matter where a life coach works or what area they specialize in, there are certain activities and tasks common to all life coaches:
1. Helping clients identify their goals
Identifying the client’s goal is the first step to helping them reach it. Life can pull us in many directions and it is easy to get distracted and forget what is really important. That is why it is important to help your clients set goals and assist in realistically reaching them.
Whether it is a career goal of a client or a goal regarding their personal relationship, you can help your client by setting up smaller steps to achieving the big goals. And by creating a plan that helps your clients focus their passion and attention towards things they really want out of life, you are more likely to see them work hard and make progress.
2. Encouraging clients to develop targets and next steps
Having a systematic plan to reach goals is very important. That is why the coach plays an integral role in helping the clients formulate the steps they will follow to reach any said goal. As a coach, you must work with your clients to come up with targets, as it will help both you and your clients understand what they want from life, and at the same time, recognize what they need to give up and avoid in order to achieve their targets.
The adage, “fail to plan, plan to fail” applies here aptly. Coaches and coachees can prioritize and maintain focus on the task at hand through proper planning while avoiding distractions that can draw them away from the end goal.
3. Providing support and encouragement
As clients work towards their goals, there are bound to be challenges along the way. That is why the role of a life coach is so critical as they can provide important support and feedback to help clients overcome the obstacles on their path to goal fulfillment.
Constructive feedback can help your clients determine the degree to which a goal is being met and how they are progressing. If you feel that your client’s performance is below the required level to achieve a goal, your feedback will allow them to reflect upon their ability and set new, more attainable goals.
4. Helping clients pivot from their goals & targets
The path to achieving your goal is not always straightforward. Sometimes, we can come across hurdles that we never anticipated. That is why it is important that the path toward reaching a specific goal is not fixed and can be changed according to changing circumstances.
This means that when your client encounters unexpected hurdles, you should be able to switch strategies to overcome the same.
5. Ensuring accountability of action points
Having a plan in place is of no use if you cannot help your client stick to it. Accountability is essential, and that is why life coaches need to encourage their clients to stick to their targets. While it is understandable that some difficulty in sticking to new habits can happen, it is important to address these issues right away so that it does not impact the client’s overall growth and development.
Knowing when and how to provide constructive feedback to assist the client in reaching their goals is a professional trait that will be helpful to coaches as they deal with more clients.
6. Celebrating with clients when they meet their goals
When you help your clients reach a goal, both you and them deserve a pat on the back. Celebrating all small (and big) milestones is extremely important as it keeps your client motivated to achieve even bigger goals.
Acknowledging small wins sparks the reward circuits of the brain and releases chemicals that give a feeling of pride and happiness, which will enable your clients to live more productive and fulfilling lives.
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Problems a life coach can help solve
Now that we know how a life coach can help you, let us look into some of the problems they can help with:
One of the most common issues that many people face is procrastination. According to psychologists, procrastination is actually a coping mechanism that people use to avoid the pain of an unwanted task. It is important to remember that many people feel extremely guilty about procrastinating. As a coach, you can help your clients deal with the intense guilt associated with procrastination.
The next step that a coach does is to help clients prioritize their daily tasks and provide guidance in incorporating goal-orientated tasks into their everyday lives. It is also essential to hold the client accountable for their actions and the time spent on doing various activities, so they are less likely to procrastinate and use their time effectively.
b. Fear of failure
Another common problem a life coach witnesses is the fear of failure among their clients. Many people never leave their comfort zone because they are afraid of failure. In fact, it is one of the most common obstacles in the path of anyone trying to do something new. A coach can be of immense help in such a scenario.
Life coaches help prospects and clients adopt a rational approach toward their irrational fear of failure. In such a scenario, a life coach helps clients focus on effort rather than ability.
c. Finding purpose in life
Whether a person wants to discover their life purpose or translate their purpose into reality, a life coach can help clients change their lives with valuable knowledge and inputs. As life coaches understand human behavior, how emotions and beliefs affect us, and how to motivate people, they are critical partners in helping their clients understand their life purpose.
Life coaches work with clients to find ways to apply their unique strengths to find their life purpose and assist them in identifying how they can grow in a systematic and fulfilling manner.
d. Deal with life-changing events
While life coaching is quite different from therapy or counseling, it can have the same effect in helping people through tough times. Life coaches focus on how their clients can navigate obstacles to continue moving forward and making positive changes in their lives. This is quite important, especially when coaches are dealing with life-changing events of their clients.
These events can include anything from something positive like a promotion at work to something difficult like losing a job or family member. While a promotion at work brings about a positive change, a life coach will help you understand what you did right in your job so that you can continue doing the right things and figure out how to get better.
On the other hand, loss of any kind can also be life-changing and may be more complex to deal with, particularly on the aspect of emotions. While dealing with losses, a coach can help clients sift through various emotions that they experience during this time while staying objective and level-headed.
e. Maintain life-work balance
Maintaining a balance between professional and personal lives is not an easy task, and this is one area where everybody could use some help. Working in a professional environment requires a lot of energy, dedication, time, and brainpower. At the same time, we are all human and need time to address the things we want and need to do outside of work.
Unfortunately, we tend to give more attention to our work quite often. As a life coach, you will help clients achieve their elusive work-life balance through techniques that will help them divide their time and effort properly. For instance, if things are busy at work, the client may feel the urge to put in long hours, but a life coach can encourage them to take some time to rest, indulge in hobbies they like, and spend time with loved ones.
On the other hand, if clients are prone to spending more time doing personal things or taking too many vacation days, a coach can also encourage them to prioritize their work tasks. It’s all about finding the correct balance.
1. What can life coaching help with? Who can benefit from life coaching?
All kinds of people can benefit from life coaching. The key thing to remember is that a good life coach helps empower their clients so that they can make decisions for themselves to live a more fulfilling and productive life. The coach guides without interfering in the coachee’s choices, and it is this element of life coaching that makes the journey impactful and life-changing. Below are examples of some instances a life coach can help with:
Feeling lost: If a person has reached a point in their life where they don’t know who they are or what they want, working with a life coach is a great starting point toward getting more clarity.
Self-doubt: If a person has constant doubt about what they should do in their life and whether or not they are good enough in various areas of their lives, a life coach can help them gain more confidence in themselves.
Change or transition: Changing jobs is not an easy affair. If a person is looking to break out of their current job and start a new business or enter a new field, a life coach can provide a roadmap to getting closer to their goals in a systematic manner.
Achieving goals: If someone needs help staying accountable on their journey and towards achieving their desired outcomes, a life coach is a massive support to get there.
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