As I am talking more and more about life coaching to friends and family, I am being asked this question a lot: what is life coaching?
Every time I am asked, I smile and, in true coaching style, I ask “what does coaching mean to you?”. I really do enjoy these conversations and every person brings to me a different interpretation and a new opportunity to reflect.
For me, life coaching is the opportunity to slow down and figure out a way of fixing a problem, overcoming a difficulty or finding the direction you have been looking for. A life coach is not an expert in your field but a supporter, a motivator and someone who offers you a variety of lenses to inspect your own circumstances… a bit like going to the optician and trying on lots of different sunglasses!
When it comes to working with children and adolescents, I see life coaching as the young person’s opportunity to open up to an adult without the fear of being judged and a chance to articulate and validate their feelings. One of the most moving things one child said to me once was “you understand me“.
My current coach and mentor mentioned something to me when we first met: he said that he is not the expert but that we are fellow explorers. I really liked that analogy and I thought it was a beautiful way of describing this type of journey. No matter what topic you choose to work on; self esteem, anxiety, self-belief, anger, stress – a life coach’s job is not to teach you what to do but to explore alongside you. A life coach will take you on an introspective journey where you will discover what is stopping you from moving forward and will encourage you to step in the direction that makes the most sense to you.
Just like a personal trainer does not do the heavy lifting, in life coaching it is you who does the important work, but your coach is right there, beside you, encouraging you and driving you on. To expand more on the weight analogy, I will use my auntie’s words from last week: after explaining to her what it is that I do, she said: “Oh, I get it now. You take the weight off people. We all put masses of weight on ourselves, in our own heads, but you help people by lifting the weight off and making them realise they can achieve their happiness”.
So, I guess there are many ways of defining life coaching but what is true to me is that I love it for the opportunity that it gives me to help people and connect with them. My wish is to support, encourage and motivate people in realising that they are mighty in themselves, just as they are. We are capable of so much more than we believe and I would love to help you find that out for yourself.