What is Life Coaching?

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life

Coaching is a unique and individual experience that targets the growth and development needs of the client. The client’s goals are clarified and developed in partnership with the coach, who then provides a broader perspective, offering relevant knowledge, insight, and feedback.

While coaching once belonged to the work sector for professional development, now individuals can embrace life coaching to identify their personal needs, establish goals that are practical and realistic, and to maintain motivation through ongoing feedback and support.

It doesn’t matter who you used to be; what matters is who you decide to be today.

There are three types of coaching:

Short term – just a few sessions, often weekly, to work on a specific goal

Long term – regular mentoring sessions, often for professional development. Most commonly these clients are professionals seeking leadership opportunities or new graduates wanting to develop career goals. However, longer term coaching can be useful for anyone planning retirement, moving back into the workplace, returning to study or seeking a career change.

Crisis (for previous clients) – one or two sessions to problem-solve and plan in response to an unexpected, stressful event. Coaching is not suitable for individuals with acute or chronic issues or mental health concerns. Referral to an appropriate counsellor would be the most useful intervention in these cases.

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet.

Steve Maraboli

So what can you expect in a coaching session? In her book “Bring Out The Best In Everyone You Coach”, Ginger Lapid-Bodga identifies four main steps in the coaching process.

The first step is to establish your motivation to change. Why is it important to you? What will happen if you do not achieve your goal? What other things will change if you follow this pathway? How much energy do you have to do this?

Sometimes procrastination is a decision that you have already made, but not yet admitted to yourself

Secondly, your goal(s) need to be clearly identified and scaffolded into smaller goals.  The more specific your goal, the greater the likelihood of longer lasting change. It is important to test whether your goals are realistic yet challenging.

Your speed doesn’t matter; forward is forward.

Thirdly, an action plan is developed which should include realistic time frames and positive reinforcement. At this stage the coach will also help you identify and master the skills and cognitions(self-talk) needed to achieve success at each stage. An introduction to the ideas of positive psychology can be useful at this point.

A great attitude becomes a great mood, which becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which become a great life.

Finally,  before embarking on any change, it is important to explore any resistance to new change. What has stopped you before ? Why is it there? What weaknesses and fears get in the way of doing something new? How will you recognize them? What purpose do they serve? How can they be overcome or reassured? It is important to be prepared and on the lookout for familiar obstacles and have solutions ready to take on these challenges.

Maybe the thing you are most scared of is exactly what you should do

The Enneagram personality typing model enhances the coaching process. Each unique personality type has a specific style –  whether it be patterns of behaviour, motivation or fears, strengths and challenges. The opportunity to fully understand an individual’s personality type, using an established tool, allows the coach to design personalized activities and feedback that are best suited to the client.

To find out more about the Enneagram read my article  Introducing The Enneagram. For information on Positive Psychology click on the link.

The best life coach for you is someone you can relate to easily, who has broad and direct experience in personal growth and development, understands your individuality, can be creative and informative but also someone you can trust to challenge you respectfully. I believe that I could be that person for you. To help you decide this for your self, I offer a 25% discount on your first session.

Just remember…

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.

Dalai Lama

Factors that influence Learning

We are all unique individuals with unique talents and preferences.

We all have the ability to learn, but we each have a personal learning style, and our own natural strengths and weaknesses.

By the time they start school, each child has learnt to walk, talk, play and create in their own style and in their own time.

When a child learns to walk, it is a process of trial and error, bumps and bruises, frustrations and experimentation.

But they persevere – because they want to explore their world and be like everyone else.

They are wired to learn, but they are also warmly and proudly encouraged by the adults on the sidelines. Everyone expects that, before they learn to walk, there will be many failed attempts. But each time, with encouragement from the sidelines, they will readjust their efforts with the insight gained from their earlier mistakes.

Then, one day, they will take those first tentative steps and the sidelines will cheer. The child is praised for their efforts and encouraged to venture further. (They are not graded for their learning outcome!!)

They will take on more challenges on two feet, trusting their ability to develop stronger skills and to overcome new obstacles.

But then … things can start to change for some children!

Difficulties in learning may not just be related to ability. Yes it is true that genetically we are all different. We have some natural gifts and the potential to develop others. In some areas, that potential is harder to embrace, and we will not be excellent at everything, no matter how hard we try. But all human beings have the potential to grow and learn, providing the conditions are right.

Learning requires persistence and optimism,  yet many students have lost or not yet developed these strengths.

Learning requires motivation and organization, but many students are overwhelmed by the scope and quantity of the demands on them. They lose focus and confidence, unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Learning requires insight which comes from taking risks and being curious. However, many students have stopped asking questions and trying new things due to negative experiences in the past.

Learning requires self-belief, yet many students quickly learn to measure their success by the grade they receive and not the effort and progress they made. Failure to achieve an A grade, no matter how much progress was made, can quickly translate into a sense of failure as a person.

Everyone has the ability to learn, but each person starts at a different point with different learning styles and at their own pace. In the classroom some individuals may struggle to keep up with the pace and level of their peers, and can benefit from individually tailored approaches.

Before you know how to ride a bicycle,

you don’t know how to ride a bicycle

To learn how to ride a bicycle takes courage, optimism and eagerness to learn. It starts with a struggle, a little nervousness, trial and error, wobbling, falling sometimes, feedback from others, approximations, encouragement, going at your own pace, starting on a clear, smooth surface, wobbling some more, straightening up, relaxing a little, venturing further, getting confident, speeding up, feeling in control… and they’re off!

Learning to solve a Maths problem, to speak in Italian or to write a history essay is no different. Students need to remember that before they are successful, they will not know what they are doing. And to struggle with not knowing is not only okay, it is vital in the learning process.

But they also need the right conditions – time and space, encouragement for effort, a safe place to experiment and take risks, patient guidance and feedback, and an environment that breeds optimism and is free of judgement.

There are many amazing teachers doing amazing things in classrooms, creating great conditions for learning. However, some students need extra individual support to account for their unique learning style and pace, to address earlier gaps in their learning, or to rebuild optimism and self-belief that has been lost through past negative experiences.

If you believe your child could benefit from some individual mentoring then please feel free to contact me.