Although there are similarities between the practices of life coaching and therapy, there are also important differences. While terms such as treatment and therapy might imply that there are certain things wrong with you that need fixing, coaching tends to come from the standpoint that you are already fundamentally strong, resourceful and whole. Its primary objective is therefore to inspire you to use your innate resources to create the best existence possible for yourself.
Life coaching can help you take stock of your options and go on to help you achieve results that are right for you. We all have choices and freedoms, and with effective coaching, we might find that we are considerably more resourceful than we had previously imagined. Before personal change can take place, however, it may be necessary for us to drag ourselves out of a state of inertia or denial. Here, coaching is most useful in fuelling the necessary motivation and in focussing our attention in such a way as to help us see things as they really are.
Developing healthy self-confidence is central to the life coaching process, as is developing greater self-awareness. Coaching can assist you to gain an understanding of the reasons you tend to behave in the ways you do, and can help you to get to grips with factors that might, until now, have held you back. Life coaching also encourages you to become aware of the underlying core beliefs that you hold about yourself and the world, and helps you go on to gain a better understanding of just how these might impact on your everyday perceptions, feelings and effectiveness.
We tend to be more in tune with the things and situations we do not want, than with those we either wish to have or wish to engage with. Because your unconscious mind supports you best when you are clear about how you wish to live your life and the things you would like to achieve, coaching will set out to help you to get in touch with your real needs, desires and goals. So that your approach may remain congruent, it will also help you put these into the context of your own personal value system. Indeed, your personal value system can provide a good entry point into the coaching process itself.
While doing this work, you may, on occasion, find yourself somewhat out of your personal comfort zone. This is because testing old beliefs, trying out new ways of doing things and living experimentally is not always an easy thing to do, Such an approach can, however, be an excellent way of supporting your personal growth process and of increasing your mental toughness, flexibility and self-confidence. Still, change can only really become embedded if it is effective in the medium-to-long-term.
It is therefore necessary for you to take ownership of your goals over a period of time, and to commit to a personal action plan. This commitment is especially important on occasions when your motivation may start to waver, although it is on just such occasions that coaching is probably at its most effective. Indeed, the coaching process can be particularly helpful when obstacles arise or events begin to pull you off-track.
Some people are tempted to hold themselves back for the sake or another person. Doing this will neither help you, nor help that person in the long run. Instead, it is likely to eventually put you in a less favourable position in terms of helping them, or anyone else. Without being selfish, it is therefore important for you to put yourself first. This involves not just taking responsibility for your life, but also honouring and looking after yourself.
People quite often seek out my assistance as a coach when they feel they have become “stuck” in some way. I then work with them to overcome whatever obstacles they may be facing; and assist them in getting from where they are, to where they would prefer to be. In the process, I maintain a similar intuitive, empathetic approach to the one I adopt in my therapy practice, and employ many of the same tried-and-tested techniques and disciplines.
Life coaching is no magic wand, as ultimately its results will depend largely on a person’s readiness and willingness for change. Many have, however, found it to be a powerful force in their life, transforming many aspects of it for the better in ways that, at times, have surpassed their greatest expectations.
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For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a journey, not a destination...
Alfred D Souza