When people think of coaching, they typically think of sports, where the coach provides correction, gives encouragement, and then follows up with feedback as team members practice to improve their performance. Although these types of activities may be led by acting and sports coaches, life coaching assumes that you are the expert of your life, not the coach. The coach’s role is to partner with you to help you assess what is going well in your life and what you want to change.
Step changes in financial well-being, relationships, work, parenting, spirituality, and marriage health are a sampling of areas on which you may consider being coached. Some people come to life coaching clear on what goal(s) they want to pursue such as wanting to change jobs, but they are unsure on how best to move forward. Others come to life coaching with general discontent and question whether there should be more to their lives. Many young adults embark on a journey that aligns with what the earthly world defines as success, yet many years later they question whether they are living out their purpose. The coach has tools to help any client where he or she stands on the continuum of life satisfaction. A few common issues that bring people to life coaching include:
- My spouse and I are not getting along as well as we have in the past. We’re in a rut and need help getting back on track.
- I’m a married wife and mother who is getting a divorce and need help transitioning to my role as a single working mother.
- I’ve been unhappy in my job for years and need a change but am unsure whether my unhappiness is with my specific job, my career, or my company.
- I’m stressed about not having a work-life balance.
- I’m a recent empty-nester and do not know what to do next with my life now that my children don’t need me on a daily basis.
- I’m a freshman in college with an undecided major and need to make a decision on my major and career direction.
- I’ve been dating a woman for two years and getting pressured for a proposal. I don’t know whether she is the right one or if I want to get married.
- How can I be a better leader for my family and the people I supervise at work?
What do these situations all have in common? Each person is struggling with a difficult situation or decision. A life coach can help them navigate through the decision-making and goal-setting process which will propel them in a direction of greater empowerment and success.
Although each client and his or her situation are unique, this life coach typically takes a client through all or a portion of the following activities:
- Assess on a scale of 1-10 your satisfaction in several life dimensions
- Discuss past and current background content related to possible focus areas
- Define a vision for your life and specific areas of growth
- Identify and define future goals that will move towards that vision
- Brainstorm ways to achieve goals
- Narrow solutions
- Develop SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Aspirational and Agreed, Realistic/Relevant and Time-bound)
- Monitor and overcome obstacles in achieving goals
- Provide accountability
- Celebrate successes
You may believe you can take yourself through these steps, but the reality is that in this fast-paced life, we rarely carve out the time and space from daily distractions to invest in this type of personal work. Additionally, we view our issues through our personal lens and can easily get stuck, not seeing all possibilities. Everyone can benefit from a life coach who can provide the needed structure, space, and time to be successful as well as challenge preconceived assumptions and help the client around roadblocks. As Dunbar (2010) states a coach can make a difference in a person’s thinking, beliefs, decisions, actions and ultimately their whole life.
Dunbar, A. (2010). Essential life coaching skills. New York, NY: Routledge.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose/plans, leadership, business, finances, and pre-marital/marriage.