What is a life coach?
A life coach is a person whose professional role is to assist others in moving forward in healthy, destination-oriented ways. They hold a temporary position in your life as a supportive advisor to encourage you towards and to hold you accountable for the work required to achieve your goals.
Life coaches provide insight and unbiased perspective to challenge behaviors or worldviews that may be preventing you from reaching the other side of your circumstance whether it's an issue of relationship, vocation, or simply personal growth. They have both extensive training and experience in their fields of specialty.
What does a life coach do?
Each life coach is different. Some create content geared towards their niche, others engage one-on-one with their clients, and some coaches do both! While the application may differ from coach to coach, the improved welfare and health of their clients is at the core of their endeavors.
A life coach may work with you on personal as well as professional issues. While similar to its sister professions, life coaching is more focused than simply giving advice, consulting, counseling, mentoring and administering therapy. You hire a coach to help you with specific projects, goals and transitions.
Life coaches don't do; they equip meaning they give you what you need so you can do. They aren't designed to be your foundation but rather help you along your way when you need some direction.
Simply, life coaches identify where you're at, where you want to go, and walk with you from here to there.
The relationship between a life coach and a client is a partnership and requires mutual investment into the process. After your first meeting, you will:
Have identified, clarified, and refined exactly what it is you want to accomplish
Recognized unrealistic expectations you may have for yourself or expectations irrelevant to your goals
Created a game-plan and schedule for consistent progress that's customized to your personality, strengths, and vision
Simplified what you need to be doing
Be moving away from what you want to change and towards where you want to be
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What are the benefits of life coaching?
Research shows that coaching and training is a far more effective combination than training alone. Training alone can increase productivity by 22.4%, but when combined with weekly life coaching, productivity is boosted by 88%. An in-depth study on the results of and relationship between training with no coaching, self-coaching, individual coaching, and group coaching can be found here.
Results vary from client to client as does their purpose for seeking a coach. Some of the most common areas clients improve while working with a life coach include:
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How does it work?
Logically, solving a problem is a simple process of figuring out which part of the chain of progress is broken.
It's like following a recipe where the ingredients and design are consistent but we are the variable. People are complex. A one-size fits all 'how-to' doesn't consider each individuals needs, strengths and weaknesses. We are full of emotions, thoughts, feelings, dreams, aspirations -- all of which are often illogical. As we navigate our journey through the chain of progress
Growing beyond where you are requires you to step out of your comfort zone and into a space where that extra 10% is required of you. It's the unknown - a place we've never been before - that challenges us in ways we would otherwise feel confident and have all of the answers.
The process of life coaching, similar to the role of our parents in our adolescence, is accomplished by:
asking questions to check for how we are reasoning
helping to discern whether our expectations of ourselves are unrealistic in relation to what we're trying to do
offering perspective to challenge us to think
encouraging us to learn to use the tools we've been given to overcome obstacles
helping us get back up and refocus when we've failed (or we think we've failed!)
The Chain of Progress
Where you are currently
Define priorities, belief and expectations
Make a plan with SMART goals
Learn something new
Apply what you've learned
Make adjustments as needed
Don't give up
Where you want to be
"A lot of things are perfect
until you add people into the mix."
- Keith Beck, mentor
Who should consider working with a life coach?
Anyone who wants their circumstances tomorrow to be healthier than their circumstances today should consider hiring a life coach. Most clients have an idea of what their ideal 'tomorrow' would look like but don't have a clear understanding of how to get there.
All kinds of people use life coaches including actors, business leaders, creatives, entrepreneurs, executives, homemakers, managers, professionals, small business owners and start-up pioneers. These people all identify a gap between where they are and where they want to be, and turn to coaching when they want help reaching their goals.
How do I know if I need a life coach?
If you're wondering what a life coach does, you probably already acknowledge that you have a need in some area and are looking for something that fits that need. The following may also be true:
You have difficulty overcoming specific obstacles
Your belief or self-assessment is often cynical or negative
You're following [role] models that don't support healthy priorities or boundaries
You're stuck in an area of life, feel lost, and don't know where to go or what to do next
You're hesitant to trust your current support system due to biased or unhealthy input
You don't have the confidence to do something you need or want to do
Life coaching may not work if . . .
Life coaching isn't for everyone and it may not be beneficial in all circumstances. In fact, coaches should understand their limitations and refer clients to a more appropriate professional when the clients' needs fall outside the scope of the coach's expertise.
Let's examine some scenarios where life coaching may not work for you:
You want immediate results
The greatest things in life don’t come easy – but they are worth working for. If you’re looking for an instant or easy transformation, it’s best to learn now that there is no such thing. Like achieving the body you want or building a business, life coaching takes time, effort and commitment in order to see results.
You have a mental health condition
Life coaches are not therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists. While they may be certified in various areas such as team development, conflict resolution, or communication, it is unusual (but not impossible) for a life coach to be clinically or professionally licensed to serve clients as healthcare patients with issues such as depression or severe anxiety. See a trained health provider if you think you may have a serious problem.
Your coach isn’t the right match
The dynamic between a life coach and a client is a relationship. Coaches are people with their own personality quirks, traits, backgrounds, and likeability. Like a dating relationship, it's important to remember that just because it's a relationship doesn't make it a good relationship. Sometimes people just don't fit - and that's okay!
Now that you know the life coach definition and what one can do for you, it’s time to examine the many misconceptions and myths out there about life coaching. Here are some of the most common.
“Anyone can be a life coach and coaches do not require training.”
A warm body can fill any position. In fact, we often observe work spaces where people are promoted on the basis of tenure, status or social clout rather than ability and effectiveness. The same goes for life coaches.
Great coaches possess a unique blend of experience, testimony, relatability, communication skills, training, and most importantly desire. They're in a constant mode of first and foremost leading themselves through learning, growing and being challenged. Additionally, they often have their own mentors, coaches or leaders they follow.
“Coaching is like unlicensed therapy.”
A common misunderstanding is the difference between coaching and therapy.
Therapists, much like nurses and doctors, go through extensive training to understand the clinical aspects of how we tick - everything from medications and their effects on the human body to mental conditions and how they alter our behavior. Their job is to diagnose a patient by addressing the history leading up to why a current problem exists and what to do in order to bring their patient to a place where that issue is resolved or manageable.
The role of a therapist is to bring a person to a position of health where they can begin making better decisions on their own. It's to help the patient transition from past to present.
Therapy often follows the pattern:
Diagnose problem > Why: Examine the past > Problem-oriented > Heal > Define goals
On the other hand, life coaches go through training to understand the inspirational (and sometimes motivational) aspects of how we tick - from pursuing a healthier relationship with a spouse to learning how to effectively lead a group of people. Their job is to assess where someone is and what needs to be adjusted or introduced in order to move forward and not just cope but thrive.
Life coaches are not health professionals and they do not diagnose you. Instead, they partner with you to create goals for how things can be by helping the client transition from present to future.
Life coaching often follows the pattern:
Define goals > Why: Examine the future > Solution-oriented > Develop > Improve
“Coaching is only for people who have problems or who can’t succeed on their own.”
Going back to the athlete analogy, life coaching is for anyone who wants to improve their performance – whether you want to advance at work or make more meaningful personal connections. Even the most skilled, successful people can benefit from coaching and there are a variety of different types of life coaches who can help in all different arenas of life.
“Coaches let you vent, then they offer advice.”
Coaches do need to have great listening skills, but delivering high-quality coaching is far more than giving advice. It demands that the coach be able to draw on a deep base of knowledge, experience and training to craft unique solutions for each scenario and work with the client to implement them. Coaches are objective and will offer unbiased opinions about how to move toward accomplishing your goals as well as work with you to identify and resolve inner blocks so that you can eventually coach yourself.
There’s a reason that life coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world – because it works for people. The true life coach definition is a committed professional who has the right training and tools to help you achieve any goal. Few people can honestly say that they are already performing at the top of their game each and every day. If you are ready to truly maximize your human potential, and take your life to the next level, then it’s time to seek out a life coach.
What is Break the Meta?
Break the Meta is a community resource to help you understand yourself and how to respond to the world around you — in a healthy way. More specifically, our content is about navigating love from the perspective of relationship — with ourselves, others, and God. It's not necessary or expected to be a Christian in order to benefit from what we do. In fact, it's not even our goal to proselytize or convert you. It's our goal to help you understand how to separate who you are from the circumstance in order to weed out comparison, irrelevant and unrealistic expectation, shame and striving.
most effective tactic available; generalized focus on achieving an expectation invalidating the process and inherent value of an individual.
Over the course of our lives many of us are taught that we should accept and pursue standards and expectations for ourselves without fully understanding the underlying purpose behind why we are doing. We get caught up in automation and become human doings instead of human beings.
Our culture and society defines what we should think,about ourselves and do with our lives and in nearly every instance who we are and what we truly want for our lives falls short of what's accepted as normal. Henry David Thoreau was quoted saying, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." And desperate men are bred from a system where the value of circumstance is elevated beyond the value of you.
The Meta is what the world esteems as the best and is promoted as something you should strive towards. The best job. The best family. The best financial situation. The best relationship. The best clothing, hairstyle, marriage dynamic. But what happens when your lot in life — goals, current limitations, beliefs about what's possible — doesn't align with the components required to be the world's best? For most people the result is a feeling of insignificance and quiet desperation leading to a life of resigned, mediocre 'just getting by'.
Break the Meta is about you reclaiming ownership your life, in all regards, so that you can properly identify your personal goals and priorities from a place of value and confidence.
It's tough to own something that's only borrowed but you have the responsibility to fight for something that you own.
Do life coaches work on personal or professional type goals?
If I start coaching will I need to work with my coach for the rest of my life?
"The role of a coach in your life is designed to be temporary. In some cases, however, a coach can develop into a mentor depending on the compatibility and nature of the relationship."
How do I find the right coach?
"Decide what you think you need or want to accomplish and find someone whose personality and focus speaks to your needs. Do your research: read their blogs, watch their videos, send them a message. It's important that their personality is relatable and enjoyable to you."
I'm already successful. Would I still benefit?
"Yes, after all a coach isn't the one who does 'the work'. Those who already in motion benefit more from support than those who need a jump start."
How long will I need to commit?
"Change does take time and is rarely immediate. Generally speaking, the relationship between a client and coach is for a season lasting 6-12 months as needed."
Why do you charge for your services?
"My team and I do what we do for a living and it's how we support our families. Furthermore, people rarely value things that are simply given to them; people place more value on something when it has cost them some form of resource whether its time, money or thought."