30 Mar Life and Career Coaching: An Introduction
Ever since I trained as a Coach in 2012, the most common question I am asked is; ‘What exactly is Coaching?’, so I thought I would write a post on what it is and what it means to me as a Coach.
Life Coaching is a practice that has been very popular in America over the last number of years and has become increasingly popular here. Career Coaching is a branch of Coaching that deals specifically with all aspect of professional and career planning.
We usually associate the term ‘Coach’ with sports and athletes. In this sense a Coach is a person who works with an athlete who is looking to improve their performance. Life and Career Coaching is the exact same; the coach works with you to make positive changes in various aspects of your life or career by helping you identify and make the changes you want to see.
What areas are covered as part of Coaching?
You can identify areas you want to address yourself in advance of Coaching, or discover in-session with the Coach. In the case of Life Coaching anything can be covered:
- Health; Physical and emotional
- Money and Finance
- Home life; both physical and personal
- Personal development
- Managing relationships
Anything you can think of can be covered within a Life Coaching session.
In Career Coaching the sessions are completely focussed on your professional life. This can include anything career related:
- Planning for progressing in a current career
- Changing career direction
- Finding a new job
- Identifying ways of increasing employability
- Preparing for promotion
- Developing CV and Cover Letters
Career Coaching explores your career path to date and then works to help you explore options moving forward. Sometimes people know where they want to go but the Coach can work with you to help you identify a new direction. Once you have identified where you would like to be, you and your Coach will work to develop a strategy for reaching your goal.
How does Coaching work?
The process is lead by the Coach but the relationship is symbiotic, both parties take part. It happens mainly in three ways:
- Worksheets: There are great exercises available to Coaches to help you explore your options. Often we get so caught up in where we are that we forget where we wanted to be, or even where we can go, these exercises help you to start exploring options.
- Honest Discussion: The exercises are extremely useful but as well as helping you reflect; they also help spark discussion. Honest discussion is the way to get the absolute best from your experience so its important to choose a Coach you trust
- Reflection: Between the exercises and discussion with your Coach you will find yourself exploring and examining different aspects of your life outside of the session. Personal reflection is key to help you identify areas you want to change moving forward.
No. Coaching is designed to help you analyse your own situations, to make your own decisions and then to take your own action. Your Coach will act as a sounding board for you and help you tease out the situation but it is not the coaches function to interpret things for you or tell you what to do.
How long does a Coaching Course take?
Life Coaching: 6 Sessions
Life Coaching begins with two intake session that look at where you are in life, both emotionally and physically. It stands on the premise that you cannot move forward until you address any issues holding you back, so the initial sessions deal with these issues. Some people can find these sessions quite difficult as you may suddenly realise how unhappy you are in a situation, but once any issues are on the table you can begin to address them.
You then work with your Coach on developing an overall plan and then taking steps forward. You may have identified one area of your life you want to change, or maybe more, but its usually done within three follow-on sessions and a closing session. Six sessions in total.
Career Coaching: 4 Sessions
Career coaching is more specific and has a shorter time frame. There are a lot more exploratory worksheet exercises that start off very general and gradually become more focussed. This helps you examine all elements of your career to date and also what you are trying to achieve moving forward. There is a lot of client work in between sessions, but this is facilitated fully by your Coach.
If you have a very specific issue that you want addressed you can always discuss options with your coach for a once-off session.
In many cases with my clients we have had additional follow-up sessions later to discuss new opportunities they’ve identified, but always at the clients own request.
What if I don’t know which I need, Life or Career Coaching?
Life Coaching can be applied to any aspect of your life, career included so any life coach can help you look at your career options in very generic terms.
A Career Coach has very specific training so if you are looking for specific career options like changing job or field it might suit better to go with a career coach.
There are lots of coaches who are trained in both styles of coaching so you can always give the Coach some details and ask which one they would recommend.
Ultimately a good Coaching experience should leave you with the following:
Firstly it should leave you with a sense of clarity as to where you are in your life and/or career. Having spent time reflecting on your situation you should have reached an honest assessment of where you are in your own Life and importantly, where you want to be.
Secondly, and equally importantly, you should have learnt the skills and tools to help you reflect on things that happen in your life and how you process them. It will also leave you with the tools for planning for the future and putting those plans into action.
Ultimately at the end of a good coaching experience you should be able to be your own coach moving forward. Coaching is not meant to be an on-going process, it is a once off process.
Is it worth it?
Before I discovered Coaching in 2012 I had lots of grand plans and nothing to show for them. I prioritised areas of my life that did not prioritise me and I was unhappy, frustrated at how I felt others treated me, and then blaming others for my unhappiness. I came across Coaching by accident and I have never looked back.
Learning to honestly assess a situation and reflect on it is something that has never let me down. Learning how to prioritise aspects of my life and spend my energy has totally changed my outlook, and realising I am the only person who has any power over me, has completely changed my life.
Having worked with clients since 2012 I have had the genuine honour of seeing them reach the same positive conclusions I did. People come to Coaching for very different and personal reasons, but they all leave with something similar, an understanding of how to measure where you are in life and how to take the necessary steps to begin moving in the direction you want to be.