15 Aug LIfe Coaching. What it is (and isn’t)
“A therapist may be likened to an archeologist, and a coach to an architect… fixing problems vs. co-creating possibilities, recovering vs. discovering.” – David Kruger, M.D.,CPC
I’m told that people on “the coast”- you know, that “hip” part of our country west of the Rockies – understand and appreciate the process and benefits of life coaching. Here in the traditional Northeast, it’s been a little slower to catch on and a harder sell to our practical, reserved and somewhat analytical natures. I’m going to venture that some of the hesitation and resistance around coaching is simply a lack of understanding of what a coach actually is and does. So if I may, I would like to answer, as simply as I can, some typical questions that I’ve been asked as a coach.
What is the difference between a therapist and a coach?
As the quote above states, a therapist is often focused on the past, working with clients to understand situations and behaviors that led to decisions or actions whose outcomes have caused distress, blockages or have been difficult to move past. A coach is interested in the past in so far as it informs the present, but the focus of coaching is to move forward. Your past has brought you to where you are today, and each experience you’ve had and decision you’ve made, has contributed to who you are today. The coach is interested in starting here – in the present – with the intent to help you move creatively, gracefully and boldly into the future of your choosing. Your coach is your partner for change.
Why would someone hire a coach?
People come to coaching for a variety of reasons, but the overriding theme is the desire and/or readiness for change. Oftentimes coaching clients feel that something in their lives is not working the way they’d like it to work. They long to feel more fulfilled, accomplished, authentic, productive, organized and/or stimulated. They want to spend their time – the precious hours of our days here on the planet – more fully engaged in their activities and in their relationships. They want their lives to be different, better. And… they’re willing to make the commitment, to do the “work” that will get them there.
What is the coaching relationship like?
The relationship between a coach and client is co-creative, meaning that the coach and client are equals; both have an active role. YOU are the expert on your life, and as such, only you have the answers you are seeking! The coach is your partner on this journey of discovery, supporting you as a detached thinking partner as you work to uncover those answers. Together we create more power for you to effect meaningful change and take dynamic actions towards your goals. Sessions will always focus on *your* agenda and may involve the asking of thoughtful questions, some brainstorming, the teasing out of ideas and motivations, and always –commitment and accountability for what you say you want to accomplish.
What are coaching sessions like?
Individual coaching sessions can be done either in person or by phone and typically last an hour. Research shows that it takes 30-40 days for a new habit to be formed, so committing to a series of sessions (ex: 4-6 sessions in one-to two-week intervals) is best in order for true change to occur. Group coaching sessions can also be done either in person or by phone, on a telephone bridge line, and have the added component of group learning and synergy. Group coaching definitely exemplifies the adage, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts!”
What can I expect to gain from coaching?
Coaching is about empowerment. On your coaching journey of discovery, your world will start to change – maybe not in dramatic ways, at first, but when we commit to taking care of ourselves, truly honoring and acting upon the longings and desires we hold dear, our lives change. Some words to describe the results of coaching include: clarity, balance, relief, excitement, satisfaction, joy, fulfillment, understanding, self-confidence, self-awareness, progress, self-realization.
What word would describe how you’d like to feel?
Debra Bloom is a holistic healer who helps clients live fuller, healthier and happier lives. As a licensed massage therapist, certified life coach and certified medicinal herbalist, she specializes in guiding and supporting clients to establish individualized self-care routines that will reconnect them to the lost, forgotten or neglected parts of themselves, returning to their natural “best selves.”