Coaching is a partnership in which a coach supports a client to achieve a goal. This can involve helping the client with any or all of the following: setting a goal, working out how to achieve it, and then supporting the client as they achieve it.
Coaching normally takes the form of a conversation or number of conversations, either face-to-face, by telephone or videoconference (e.g. Skype).
Coaching is not like counselling or therapy, where a qualified professional gives you the answers to your difficult situation. A coach will not tell you what to do. A coach believes that the client has the answers in their minds already, but they either need guidance to find the answers, or support to act on them. Coaching is a partnership of equals, but as in many sports, the coach stays out of the limelight while the client gets the glory. It is worth stressing that a good coach is happy to operate this way.
The coach challenges the client to act outside of their comfort zone by asking powerful questions relevant to the client’s situation, and supports you as you make progress. To this end, your coach will expect you to commit to taking challenging steps, and to complete these steps.
While anyone can benefit from coaching, individual coaching clients are typically people who find themselves stuck in some way. They may need help to find a new path or a way out of a difficult situation, or they may know what they want to do but for some reason they are not doing it. A coach can help clients find the motivation to achieve the goals they are aiming for.
In The Coaching Manual, Julie Starr lists the potential benefits of coaching as including the following:
My mission in coaching is very simple: To help you improve your life.
I firmly believe that coaching is a partnership of equals: that is, I am not superior to you. I do not operate like a teacher or a parent, or even like a sports coach who might just tell someone what to do. I respect you and know that you are the only person capable of creating the best solutions for you. What is best for me, or for another client, might not be best for you.
With that in mind, the responsibility for change and improvement rests solely with you. I cannot and will not do the work for you. My job is to help you work out what you want to do, how to do it, and help you stay on track. I will do this by getting to know you and asking you powerful questions about your life and your goals. This may make you uncomfortable: indeed, it is best if it does make you uncomfortable, because it is only when you are uncomfortable that you can grow.
At the end of each session, we will agree goals for you to work on before the following session. It is important that you complete these, because it is only by taking the necessary action that you will achieve your goals. All targets will be SMART, that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Deadlined. Vague targets bring vague results.
It may be that you already know what you want to do and even how to do it, but you are struggling to take action. Having a coach is a great way to make sure you take the actions, because as your coach, I will hold you accountable in each session. I want you to succeed, therefore I will only ask you to commit to things that you can do and that are relevant to your goals. But you must be willing to take action.
I prefer to coach by Skype or FaceTime, because this allows us to build the best rapport with each other. However, I can coach you over the phone too.
So how will your coaching programme unfold? First, we will have a 30-minute consultation during which you can ask me any questions you have about coaching and how we would work together, and I can ask you some general questions about what you would like help with. This will allow us to decide whether coaching is right for you, whether I am the right coach for you, and also how we will proceed.
After the consultation, I will usually send you a Life Assessment Check questionnaire for you to fill in and return before our first session. This will allow us to look over your whole life to find where difficulties might be emerging or combining to prevent you from reaching your goals, and where opportunities for improvement exist.
The Life Assessment Check is also helpful because it could show major issues that were not previously obvious to you.
Your coaching programme will last as long as you need it to. If we are only working on one goal, then we might only work together until you have completed that goal, or we might move on to another. It is not advisable for coaching to continue indefinitely: not least because after a long period of time, the same voice no longer has the same impact on you and a fresh approach will be needed.
My aim in your coaching programme is not to become indispensable to you, but to take you as far as you can go with my assistance. If you have improved your mindset enough to be able to continue improving your life without my assistance, or if I have helped you reach the point where you need more specialist assistance from someone else, then I will have done my job well!
Contact me for a free, no obligation consultation to find out how I can help you.
What is life coaching?
I consider life coaching to be a partnership of equals in which the coach helps the client to work out how to set and achieve their goals. The coach then supports the client’s efforts to reach their goals. You can find more details about what life coaching is here.
Who can benefit from life coaching?
Not everyone needs life coaching, but most people can benefit from it. I help clients to achieve goals in any areas of their lives that they feel need improving. However, I specialise in helping people improve their careers and finances, and helping people who are struggling to find their path in life (in whichever aspect of their life).
You can find out more about my main services in the menu above.
Will you tell me what to do?
No. I will help you find the answers by guiding you in working out what you want to do and how you want to achieve your goals.
In addition to this, YOU must do the work. As Jim Rohn said: “You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you”. If you are going to benefit from coaching, you must put the work in. With this in mind, I will push you to achieve results.
Is coaching like counselling or therapy?
Coaching is different to counselling and therapy and should not be used as a substitute for either of them. Erickson International provides a good overview of why coaching and counselling are different here.
What do you mean by “a coach will challenge you and hold you accountable?”
A life coach will challenge you to operate outside your comfort zone and do things that you may initially find a little uncomfortable, even frightening, but which you agree will take you further towards achieving your goals. For the avoidance of doubt, I will never encourage you to do anything that is dangerous to yourself or others.
A life coach holds you accountable by agreeing with you SMART (Specific-Measurable-Achievable-Relevant-Time Bound) goals for you to achieve.
How do I know whether to choose you as my life coach?
I offer a free 30-minute consultation to all prospective clients. This will help both of us decide whether I am the right coach for you.
Is life coaching confidential?
Yes. Whatever is said in our sessions will remain fully confidential – not just for your privacy, but because it will help you be completely honest.
How long does a coaching session last?
I generally recommend that a session lasts an hour and thirty minutes, though it may be less than this depending on your particular circumstances and/or the content of the session.
How long will a coaching programme last?
A coaching programme will generally last until you have achieved your goals; the time period will depend on the person and the goals. In all cases, it will last as long as we both feel you are receiving value from me.
I subscribe to the idea that a good coach does not work to become indispensable – they work to become redundant. This means that I want to take you as far as I can, and if I feel that you will gain more benefit from working with someone other than with me, then I will tell you. I do not work with someone if I feel I cannot offer value to them.
Do you coach people face-to-face?
In theory I can coach you face-to-face, but my location (rural North Lancashire) makes this difficult in most cases. I generally coach by telephone or (preferably) Skype/FaceTime.
Do you coach children / young teenagers?
I only coach people aged 18 or over.
How much does life coaching cost?
All coaches will offer different fee structures. You can find mine here.
What qualifications do you have?
I hold a Diploma in Life Coaching from the Blackford Centre. I am also a member of the Association for Coaching.
How do I contact you?
You can send me an e-mail, and I will get back to you!