The answer to the question “What is life coaching about?” is that life coaching enables. It enables you to reach goals, to strive higher than you would have thought possible, and it enables you to reach a higher awareness of yourself and your surroundings. It does all that while fulfilling the goal you have chosen for yourself.
The product of the process depends on the person
Since coaching is a process that does not have one specific definition, and since it might mean different things to different people, the expectation from the process vary based on the person who undergoes the process.
If we look at a specific area of our life (family, relationships, career, finance or any other thing you can think of), the people who would benefit the most out of coaching would probably be divided as follows:
- I don’t know what I want, but I feel that something is missing
- I know what I want, but I don’t know how to get it
- I know what I want, and how to get it, but something keeps holding me back
Each type of person above would expect different results from the coaching process. Type 1 would want to understand what is missing, and why he feels the way he feels, while type 3 would just be looking for the nudge in the right direction so he could start moving.
Since each type expects a different outcome, so would what the person wants to achieve would be different. This means that for each type, the coaching process would look different. The one thing that would be common to all of the types above is the goal setting process.
Reaching from Point A to point B
Goal setting is vital when someone is looking for personal growth. In order to have a clear
path, and understand where you’re going, you need to know where you want to go, otherwise, you can go anywhere and lose track of yourself. Like Cheshire cat pointed out to Alice, in Lewis Carroll‘s classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
This is one of the major tools that coaching uses. With some people (type 1 in our case) this might also be a product by itself.
Setting goals enable us to stretch ourselves more than we thought we could. It enables us to have a clear vision of how we want our results to look like, it focuses our energy on the set goals and it gives more meaning to our efforts and lives (it also does a lot of other things, but I would dedicate a different post for goal setting later on).
Each one of the types we talked about would benefit from setting goals:
- Type one would want the coaching process to result in those set goals.
- Type two would want smaller goals that would enable him to reach its bigger goal
- Type three would like to have goals that would enable him to break the barrier which holds him back
Goal setting plays an important part in coaching and is probably the most dominant product that would be achieved in the process.
A few other things you might expect from coaching
While goal setting is one of the things you could probably expect on achieving while undergoing coaching, there are other things that would probably be achieved as well. These “side effects” are feelings and emotions that come with having a definite purpose and a greater understanding of where the client is currently standing, in comparison to where he wants to go.
In order to achieve goals, one must be resourceful in order to overcome the obstacles that would appear while reaching the goal. This is something that the coaching process might also provide. Whenever the client faces a block of some sort, he could go to the coach and consult with him. A good coach would challenge you and support you to define the concrete steps you need to take moving forward. This, in turn, would help overcome obstacles and increase resourcefulness.
A paradigm is a concept that is taken from the science world. According to Wikipedia, a paradigm “…. is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns“. If we relate the concept to the coaching world, a paradigm might be the set of principles, concepts, beliefs and habits that a certain individual might possess. Since reaching goals require stretching ourselves, and changing habits, it would consequently involve changing our paradigms. This means that another result you might expect is encountering new point of views, for old beliefs and principles you originally held.
During our daily lives, we are surrounded by things that constantly demand our attention. Phones, phone messages, kids, bosses, commercials, emails and the list could go on. This means we allocate our attention to a hundred different things, and probably miss thinking about the things we really want to achieve for ourselves.
One of the best ways of achieving goals is focusing on the goals themselves. Constantly thinking about the end goal someone wants to achieve, and impressing those thoughts in your mind over and over, would generate new ideas that would help to achieve the goal, and would shorten the time it takes to achieve it.
Another thing that the coaching process does is keep the client focused on the goals that were set, so he won’t get side tracked with LIFE, and the other factors written above. This focus means that both thoughts and actions that the client does, would be in the direction of the goal, and would enable the client staying on the right track.
What you shouldn’t expect from the coaching process
When trying to understand what does the coaching process supposed to achieve, we should ask ourselves another important question: What shouldn’t we expect from the coaching process?
Coaching is not therapy. A coach is not a psychologist or a social worker. Coaching does not dwell on the past, and it is not a healing process. An ethical coach would point its client to receive the right treatment if he feels that the mental blocks which the client has are not related to the client’s current point in life.
If you feel you have an issue which requires counseling and involves psychological issues, don’t go to a coach. He won’t be the address, and you want to get the help you really seek. Coaches are here to help you get more out of life, and find and achieve goals. They won’t help you solve issues from the past.
The bottom line
Coaching is a process that is focused on results. It is also measured by the ability of the client to reach the results he set out to get. It looks at the client’s current position (point A) and helps him get to point B – which is the goal. What you should expect from the process is to have the result you and your coach set together for yourself.
Reaching the goals the client set would require using other tools which the coach has. These would create positive “side effects”, which would vary depending on the tools that would be used, and the individual session of the coach and the client.
As always, I hope the post helped you understand what you should expect to achieve from coaching. If you feel I have missed something, or if you have any experiences you liked to share, feel free to let me know in the comments below or by mail