Ever since I become a life coach, many people have asked me what life coaching really is about. Indeed, life coaching is still an immerging profession. It is common that people may confuse it with other professional support services such as therapy. So in this article I am sharing my understanding of life coaching, how it different from other professional support, and what you could possibly benefit from working with a life coach.
What is life coaching?
We all need a little help sometimes, especially when it comes to high stake situations. For example, we are given more responsibilities at work but know that we won’t succeed if we don’t address certain patterns and behaviors. We want to establish our own business, yet we are afraid of being exposed. We are afraid that if we don’t address our fears, we may not realize our vision. In times like these, it can be tough to determine how to get from point A (identifying a direction or goal) to point B (actually working towards that direction and achieve that goal). This is where a life coach comes in.
If you take a step back, you will probably hear a narrative playing in your mind: “I want XYZ, but …” such as:
I want to apply for a great internal opportunity at my workplace, but don’t think I am good enough for the role.
I want to stay calm during conflicts, but I get so emotional and don’t behave like myself.
I want to trust in myself no matter what, but when I see a decrease in clientele, I cannot help but feeling deeply insecure.
A life coach partners with you to work on these narratives. They help you to discern what you truly want, uncover the underlying obstacles that hold you back, and develop a plan to overcome those obstacles.
A life coach is a broad term. There are specializations such as business coaches, executive coaches, relationship coaches, mental health coaches … but a life coach helps you see patterns across different aspects of your life.
How is life coaching different from other forms of support such as therapy,
talking with a friend, or mentoring?
A life coach helps to bridge your present with the future you desire. They uncover patterns of thought, feeling and belief that get in the way of achieving your desires. A therapist, however, examines your past and how it has impacted you in order to help you manage your present. In coaching, the emphasis is on what is possible: alternative perspectives and choices. Therapy focuses on healing through analysis and interpretation of the past.
"Coaching focuses on identifying what is possible, while therapy focuses on analysis and interpretation of the past. "
In a coaching program, the coach works with you to create your overarching goals and vision. Each week, you work together on a small, manageable and relevant piece towards your goals. You are accountable for presenting a problem or a challenge to a coaching session and taking actions that you promise you will do between sessions. Each week, you move closer to your desired future.
Talking with a close friend may be helpful, but a professional coach is trained to offer undistracted listening and non-judgmental and thought-provoking questions to help you move forward. Coaching conversations are strictly confidential, allowing one to discuss things they may not feel comfortable sharing with a friend.
"A life coach is trained to offer undistracted listening and ask non-judgmental, thought-provoking questions, to help you move forward. "
Mentoring is another way we seek support. A mentor usually helps you deal with technical challenges by providing relevant experience and advice. But we all have different challenges. Some challenges are more complex, so only focusing on the technical may only touch the surface of the issue. For example, some of us constantly procrastinate. We may think that we just need to manage our time better. But we neglect the internal challenges that are usually the core of procrastination. A life coach lasers in to help uncover your internal challenges. With increased awareness, you will make a bigger impact on your situation.
"A life coach’s role is not to share experience and offer advice. Rather, allow you to connect with your inner wisdom and create your own solutions."
What are the benefits of receiving life coaching?
Life coaching conversations enable people to spend more time doing what they want, feel empowered to make decisions, and feel better about their lives. The benefits of coaching are observed in multiple layers and are dependent on the individual, effectiveness of coaching, and coaching relationship.
Level 1: Discerning truths from the environment or situation:
Form an objective view of your situation
Gain new perspectives that you may not have seen/considered
Level 2: Addressing behaviors towards the situation:
Create a vision and design a plan
Break old habits or patterns of thought, feeling and belief
Level 3: Determine your capabilities and choices regarding the situation:
Feel empowered to make changes and live your dream
Develop necessary skills required to make changes happen
Level 4: Consider/Understand your underlying beliefs and values:
Uncover beliefs that are hindering your growth and replace them with more powerful ones
Understand, express and live into your core values
Level 5: Discover your identity, ie, who you are:
Understand and accept who you are
Establish actions to honor and live out who you are
Level 6: Consider your spirituality:
Create your life purpose and identify your value to others
Create your meaningful work that allows you to live into your purpose
Do you think coaching with Lucy will help you with your situation?
For coaching to be effective, we need to assess the following:
Your situation is coachable
You are coachable
We feel comfortable communicating with each other
Let’s have a free discovery call to find out if coaching is right for you and if we are a good fit!
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Lucy Qian, Life Coach, PCC (ICF)
About Lucy Qian, International Life Coach
Lucy’s clients say that she has a superpower for helping them see clear direction and next steps, no matter how confused they are in the beginning. Through coaching with Lucy, they become clear about who they are and know what they really want.
Lucy is a certified coach in different settings: Professional Certified Coach (PCC) by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), Certified Laser-focused Life Coach by the Life Coaching Group, and Organizational Coach by the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership.
In her blog, A Journey to Clearness, Lucy shares life experiences and lessons from her practice as an international life coach.
Learn more about Lucy Qian.