Have you ever wondered what life coaching is all about? It’s international coaching week, so I thought I’d give you an inside look at what working one-on-one with a coach is like, and some of what it taught me.
Slow and Quick Change
In working with a coach, I noticed that there are two kinds of change – some shifts happen immediately like when my coach asked me, “What if you enjoyed it?” Yes, I thought about the “it” she was referring to, but more than that, I started thinking about this question in broader terms like, “Where else in my life would this apply?”, “Where do I just show up and enjoy it?” and “What would it be like to invite more joy into my day, my work, my exercise, my eating habits, my marriage, my relationship with my kids ….” It was as if that first question shifted something in the way I saw myself, and like a stone dropped into a pond, the ripples had a positive effect on areas I didn’t anticipate. This was an example of a quick and dramatic change that happened to me. While this particular question might not resonate with you, a skilled coach will be able to find simple, powerful questions, like this one, that will permeate and shift your thinking.
The other kind of change is much harder and accounts for the majority of the thought and life reconstruction I’ve seen while coaching. It’s slow and tedious at best. It’s about creating awareness. It’s about choice, and it’s about putting things into practice. It’s also about failure, learning and trying again (and again). It’s the kind of change that happens by inches so that it can be difficult to see progress and easy to give up. This is one of the reasons having a coach was helpful as it kept me moving forward. For some issues, it can require approach from multiple angles over time which is also not something I could easily have seen or done on my own. This slow change calls for courage, perseverance and determination. My coach became an insightful encourager, a fierce advocate and an unwavering accountability partner. Without her, I would probably have given up on changing in some of those, particularly tricky areas. It wasn’t easy.
Self Awareness and Moving Forward
There’s much more to coaching than what I’ve outlined above, but at it’s core it is about understanding yourself better – getting clear on your values, life purpose, what you want, what stops you, where and when you are most alive – and it’s about moving forward towards a future you may not even presently realize you want. Somehow, we often end up aiming for what is easily achievable in our lives. While there is nothing wrong with that if it’s what you want, it can become dull and uninspiring living with the knowledge we are not growing and using our full capabilities. Coaching is about awakening dreams. It’s about daring greatly, developing a capacity for the discomfort that comes with stretching your boundaries and it’s about realizing there is no better time than the present to really live this one life we’ve been given.
Coaching was quite an investment in terms of money, time and effort but I have found the ongoing benefits far outweigh the costs.
My coaching practice
If you’d like to know a little more about my experience being coached and why I focus on courage in my practice, check out the video clip below.