Regardless of where we live, spring seems to being welcomed changes. More daylight, warmth, and greening growth as our earth re-energizes. We often have more energy, vitality, and motivation to bring new growth into our lives… Are you with me on this one? I trust the information provided on life coaching will prove useful in approaching change in your life.
Life coaching is a very expansive career path in our culture. Simply stated, a life coach is an individual who is self trained and/or has been trained professionally as a motivational, goal-achievement expert. As you read, your mind may move to Tony Robbins or your favorite fitness trainer. Yes, and there’s more.
Benefits of consulting with a life coach are numerous. I’ll even say they should include the following, regardless of your goals: increased self-confidence, knowledge, problem-solving skills, creativity, flexibility, and tolerance. Please remember, as you select your life coach you are the expert on your own life. You are also your best teacher. Given this foundation, you are and will continue to be successful on your own terms. A life coach is your paid consultant.
Finding the best professional match can be an enjoyable and rewarding adventure. I strongly recommend first seeking referrals from your friends and colleagues. I am assuming that these people have a level of wellness compatible with your best interests. Next, you may already have someone who is a mentor for you; as an example, a teacher or spiritual director who could provide relevant information for your needs. Feel free to attend invitations, lectures, and browse books so synchronicity plays its part in your choice of life coach.
When you find someone to consult with, attend to these details:
Personal and Professional Ethics: keeping confidentiality, professional policies, and documentation of their skills. If this is not given to you in writing, ask for it. If not freely provided, that’s for your discernment. I’d exit stage left.
Referrals: how your life coach makes referrals for additional services and information. In other words, their policy on releasing confidential information to others on your behalf, the law requires that the coach and client sign a form of permission to release information.
Work Environment: where you will work to receive coaching services. A full spectrum of environment may be offered; for example, office, home, telephone, or Internet are considered appropriate.
Fee, Schedule, and Payment Arrangements: look for their market value of comparable or competitive rates. For example, coaches in training may have lower fees to earn hours toward certification requirements. You will find great variations in this area. You may be offered free initial consultation or a follow up session, sliding scale, or even a pre-paid package of services. You need to be aware of verbal and written contracts, discontinuation of services by either party, and if required to purchase products.
Level of Support Services: some coaches provide support in between meetings included in their fee. Make sure these are defined specifically as to e-mail, written docu- mentation, and emergency procedures. Coaches don’t always have appropriate credentials or a license to handle acute psychological distress. Coaches need to inform you of their level of expertise and qualifications since coaches do range from having medical degrees to physical fitness expertise or having no professional training at all. They may have life skills but have no formal training. Determine if that works for you.
In-Session Support: This could encompass guided activities, mutually negotiated homework, or companioning with you. For example, an organizational specialist may go to your home or office and engage in activities with you.
In summary, my purpose has been to supply useful background information on life coaching and how best to access the skills you seek or skills available to you. As many have discovered, we coach ourselves every day as we approach our goals. Fill in your blank (buying a home, seeking further education, changing careers, committing to a relationship). A life coach can help fine tune your goal, get you moving toward your goal, keep you moving in the right direction, take a time out and restart your energy, and then celebrate your success.
For more information on life coaching, check out these organizations:
- International Coaching Federation,
- American Federation of Life Coaches
Now, get ready, set, and spring into action.