Imagine how you would feel if you knew you could create your life however you wanted. That’s the power of life coaching.
We all crave vibrant health, unique self-expression, meaningful work and fulfilling relationships. We long to play, love, relax, contribute and adventure. Yet, few of us know how to design a well-balanced, fully-expressed and deeply satisfying life.
What Life Coaching is Like
Life coaching involves supporting clients in discovering and creating what they most want in their lives. The coaching process actually calls forth the best in both the coach and the client. From this place, the coach elicits information from the deepest part of the client that hadn’t previously been accessible to the client.
How a Life Coach is Different
"Don't get too big for your britches." "Who do you think you are?" "No one in this family has ever . . ." In our culture and in our families, most of us receive far more messages pressuring us to stay small rather than inviting our lights to shine.
Our culture tends to emphasize what needs fixing rather than what works. As a society, we focus on what’s wrong without giving much attention to all that is right. News broadcasts seem to emphasize the worst of human nature. And, advertising continually reminds us of what’s missing. If we mindlessly take in mass media and mass advertising, we have little support for fully believing in ourselves.
Additionally, while growing up, most of us received indirect and direct personal messages that we were not good enough. Kathy felt terribly imperfect when her dad asked why her report card had four 'A's and one 'B'. She now sees her grades as exceptional and realizes she doesn't need to be perfect. Janine never felt she fit in because both her parents kept trying to get her to "settle down". She now acknowledges her parents didn't know what to do with her high-spiritedness. Tom's teachers labeled him "slow" because he had trouble concentrating. He now understands he learns experientially while most material in school is taught visually or auditorially.
If we don't become aware of the ingrained childhood messages that automatically govern our thoughts and actions, we will continue feeling not good enough. If, however, we consciously look at beliefs established in childhood, we have the opportunity to see their impact from an adult perspective. We can then choose new beliefs about ourselves.
Life coaching supports clients in choosing new perspectives and establishing new beliefs. It also calls them to identify and live from their strengths. They learn to celebrate all of who they are, even the parts they used to label as weaknesses. They find the gifts in all aspects of themselves.
Working with a life coach, clients also focus on what’s working and build on that. If they don’t know what they want in their lives, they explore that. If they do know what they want, they begin to make new choices and create new habits. Life coaching builds a bridge between where the client is and where s/he wants to be.
What You Need to Know To Be a Life Coach
To serve as a life coach, you will have benefited from life coaching yourself. You will also need a strong, on-going commitment to your own personal awareness and growth. As with all other types of coaching, you need to possess and continue to develop coaching skills and tools.
All great life coaches have these traits in common:
- A huge love for and desire to help people
- Superb listening skills (both for the spoken and unspoken)
- A willingness to consistently stand in truth
- A strong blend of loving-kindness and the ability to compassionately “call clients on their stuff”
- The gift of recognizing and articulating clients’ strengths
- A large capacity for non-judgment
- Well-developed intuition
- A positive orientation to life
- Good personal boundaries
- Strong business skills
The Market for Life Coaching
Anyone who desires a better life and feels compelled to make changes will benefit greatly from coaching. The trick to building a thriving life coaching practice involves working with a specific niche. The most successful life coaches choose not only a narrow coaching focus, but also a narrow target market. The niche and the market will organically develop from the coach's skills, interests and life experiences. The more passion the coach has for the niche and the market, the more successful the practice.
- Stress management for new managers
- Spiritual tools for people in grief
- Life balance for foster parents
- Business skills for fine artists
- Life reorganization for empty-nesters
- College prep for teens
- Self-care for stay-at-home moms
- New life direction for executives leaving companies
- Adventure experiences for people taking sabbaticals
- Life skills for young adults
- Financial management for couples
- Spiritual exploration for former atheists
What important changes have you made in your life? What do you feel most passionate about? Who would you most enjoy coaching? The answers to these questions will create the foundation for your specific life coaching niche.