What is Life Coaching and why you should consider it

Positive words associated with Life Coaching

5 minute read (updated 8 Dec 22)

 

I get asked this question a lot and it’s a brilliant one to ask – What is Life Coaching?

If you are;

  • New to coaching (Life Coaching or otherwise), or;
  • You’ve had coaching by a manager/someone who isn’t trained (plenty of them!), or;
  • Had a poor experience, or;
  • Downright sceptical of the whole thing…

 

…this is for YOU.

What is Life Coaching?

Life Coaching (and generally talking types of coaching), allows you to talk through the stuff on your mind, overcome mental obstacles and take action to achieve your goals. It’s a form of self-development – you learn about yourself; your strengths and skills so you are empowered to do more of what you’re already good at.

What does a Life Coach do?

A Life Coach will ask open, probing questions on the topic/s you have chosen. They will help you work out the stuff on your mind, feel better about yourself so that you essentially can better handle what life throws at you.  They listen – really listen in to your words, remain objective and non-judgemental. A Life Coach acts as a sounding board, a mirror – reflecting your words and behaviours back at you, challenging you out of your comfort zone to grow and take a different perspective.

The conversation is different with a Life Coach than with a friend – no interruptions, no ‘oh yeah, that happened to me once’. Impartial, not involved, not needing to know your back-story, great questions.

It’s really important to me that I work in partnership with the people I work with – no hierarchy. My role is to move your thinking forwards – and a whole bunch of other stuff – so that you can do those things you really deep down want to do but are too scared to do it.

Why do people see a Life Coach?

People see a Life Coach to help them navigate a tricky time in their life and/or to develop their potential. They want to change and do something about it, often about;

  • Meaning /Purpose in Life
  • Career change/progression
  • Work and Life Balance
  • Relationships

 

I saw my first Life Coach in Autumn 2019 because I didn’t want to be in HR anymore and had no idea about what else I could do. Until I realised that this thing existed Life Coaching, which wasn’t counselling or therapy and it apparently worked – and I knew of someone.

So spending time talking to a professional could be beneficial.

Are there different types?

Yes, lots. It’s growing in areas and in popularity too;

 

 

A Life Coach tends to have a niche, may work across several areas or audiences and uses different approaches or modalities. Example; I call myself a ‘Life and Career Coach’ so people understand it’s life and work that I deal with, but it’s quicker and easier to call myself a Life Coach and Google better understands it!;

As a Life Coach I work with brilliant women who feel stuck in life or their career, by walking and talking outdoors. I tend to work with strengths, skills and values and encourage the individual to lead. I work outdoors for space, calm and gentle exercise because I see the positively impact on people’s wellbeing.

 

I Life Coach and I Career Coach and it’s often a similar approach I use, just different subjects.

What can Life Coaching do for me?

People who have experienced Life Coaching move forwards in their thinking and actions, over the stuff that’s stopping them from doing it themselves. They often achieve their goals and gain additional results they weren’t expecting.

These are real comments from people I have worked with, when asked, ‘what did you gain from coaching with Kate?’;

  • Learned and used new strategies or tools in other areas of their life or work
  • Took control over how they allocate and prioritise their own time
  • Found more confidence in their working life and self
  • Learned how to better deal with their inner critic
  • Have a more positive outlook and better understanding of their self
  • Have insight into their personality, how they view themselves

Life Coaching versus Therapy and Mentoring

Here are my explanations about the differences;

  • Therapy; looking at the past/childhood, dealing with emotional issues or trauma, with a trained therapist. May often direct you, give their medical/psychological opinion.
  • Mentoring; talking with someone expert in your field who inspires you. They help you navigate issues they may already have experienced. They are willing to share advice and direct you.. Not always trained as a Mentor.

Life Coaching is not a substitute for therapy, treating mental illness or any medical issues. Sometimes an issue may surface that is better served with a therapeutic or mental health intervention and I’m confident to signpost or redirect people when I’m not the right person. It’s vital that when you work with a Life Coach you have a contract and agreement about what issues you’ll work on together because it’s a partnership.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Life Coaching can work really well for improving wellbeing or mental health, ie;

  • Managing stress /rumination
  • Your values in life
  • Knowing your capabilities and strengths
  • Knowing yourself, boundaries and self-care.

And if you like being outdoors, you might know that research confirms that being outdoors improves our wellbeing – why I coach outdoors! See here; Coaching outdoors

Picture of a flower in a field, blue sky, some cloudThat’s a blog post for another time!

I am  Mental Health First Aid trained. I have experience of working with individuals’ mental health (as well as my own), so I signpost appropriately.

Is Life Coaching expensive?

Perhaps you have already seen/heard that some Life Coaches charge £100’s or £1000’s per hour. And some do not advertise their fees – you need to ask them on enquiry.

If fees are unattainable for you, here are a few considerations;

  • Group coaching – does the Life Coach run group sessions? This can keep costs down
  • Do they offer part-payment?
  • Is there an alternative coach they could recommend or you could find?
  • Could you find someone in training (there are lots!) – they need to coach for a certain number of hours for accreditation, so tend to offer lower rates or free sessions
  • Ask theLife Coach if they could consider a reduced fee – what’s the worst that could happen?

Personally I like to be transparent and my fees are on my website. I recognise that my fees are lower than other Life Coaches but still unaffordable for others. I am not for everyone. I offer and am open to offering reduced rates from time to time.

Why might I consider Life Coaching?

If you are considering Life Coaching, these prompts might help;

  • You resonate with something mentioned in this blog…

(What resonates? What are you currently experiencing? What specifically are you experiencing? What’s the impact it’s having on you now?)

  • You want to work your thoughts into a coherent/less jumbled train of thought so that things feel easier/ you feel better…

(What would that bring you? How would that help you?)

  • You’re considering a big change in life or work and it feels daunting/risky/scary…

(What if you could make that change? What if you succeeded or exceeded your own expectations?)

How can I find the right Life Coach for me?

  • Who do you know and trust that’s had coaching? Could they recommend their Life Coach?
  • Does your workplace provide coaching? No? – would they like to?
  • Are they qualified by a reputable organisation?
  • Do they have references/testimonials?
  • Do they undertake learning, CPD, supervision? (answer – they should be)
  • Can you book a free call with a coach to get a sense of what they are like?

 

While you’re looking for your coach, check their credentials. Life Coaching is not regulated in the UK. Not all coaches have training or training that is rigorous/accredited;

Here are my credentials – click HERE.

 

 

If you are reading this far... would you like to book a free call with me? No obligation; Book here

 

Be the first to know about offers and my new Group Life Coaching by joining my non-spammy mailing list; Join my Mailing List

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Client agreement - ground rules.

1. Bring my whole self to this process; professionally and personally.

You cannot separate your professional and personal ‘lives’.

2. Be present in the moment and connected.

… to the coaching; what you’re thinking, feeling, experiencing. And…to nature if and where we are outdoors. If we’re on headphones, I’ll invite you to be descriptive of your environment too.

3. Bring the agenda to each session and keep your overall objective alive.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Be goal and action orientated – bring what you want to discuss and achieve to the session; OR
  • Talk and see what lands – exploratory and intentional.
 

I will bring the process, tools, ideas, resources and best practice to best support you towards your goal/intention/objective. More in your pre-coaching questionnaire. 

4. Give feedback and be responsive.

Coaching is collaborative. Neither of us should guess where we stand. I ask you to give me feedback and respond – you can rely on me to give and do the same.

I aim to get back to you within 24 hours of you emailing me, even if it’s just to say ‘I received your message’ before I respond properly. If it’s over the weekend or holiday, this may take longer.

5. Do the work in the session and in between sessions.

…so that you get the best value, even when it’s challenging. I might suggest a piece of work based on what you brought to the session. Mainly you will decide your course of action.

Whichever way, I’ll invite you to:

  • Reflect more; through walking, writing and whatever else fires you up, to help you achieve your objective.
  • Explore more; be curious and follow those trails of thought, intentionally
    Practice more; habits? Actions? Keep trying/tweaking.
  • Note what’s coming up that’s important or interesting to you in the session. I may share a few bullet points with you after, via Google Docs.

6. Session duration and timescale.

Generally a session is an hour but happy to shorten or increase session lengths, as and when we both can, that day. Where either of us thinks it appropriate, let’s say in the session. Timescale – let’s keep to the timescale agreed in the contract.

Additional information...

  • Coaching is a relationship designed to facilitate the development of personal or professional goals and develop a plan/strategy for achieving those goals.
  • It is comprehensive; it may involve other areas of your life beyond what you may have originally intended. It is your responsibility to choose and decide how to handle this, or even whether to.
  • It can be challenging; digging deep, creating better habits, becoming more self-aware, changing unhelpful beliefs you hold about yourself to something more helpful. There will be ups and downs. You will gain new insights, learnings and perspectives to help you achieve your goal.
  • You – the Client, are solely responsible for creating and implementing your own physical, mental and emotional well-being, decisions, choices, actions and results arising out of or resulting from the coaching relationship and your coaching calls and interactions with me – the Coach. As such, you agree that the Coach is not and will not be liable or responsible for any actions or inaction, or for any direct or indirect result of any services provided by me – the Coach. 
  • You – the Client, understand that in order to enhance the coaching relationship, you agree to communicate honestly, be open to feedback and assistance and to create the time and energy to participate fully in the program. I will do the same.
  • Coaching is not a substitute for counselling, mental health care or substance abuse treatment.  If you are in any kind of therapy, please tell me.  Tell your practitioner (medical or therapeutic) of you working with me.
  • I ask you to agree to commit to the coaching sessions to facilitate the required change.
  • I will treat you as the expert regarding the subject matter, which is…YOU.
  • I will allow time and space for you to explore your thoughts and think for yourself, no interruptions. There may be long pauses or silence sometimes to elicit more.
  • What goes on in your sessions is confidential. I do not discuss it with anyone. There may be occasion when it is my duty to break confidentiality:
    > If I feel you or I are at risk of harm.
    > Criminal / illegal activity.
    > A safeguarding concern or something else so serious that warrants concern.
  • I may talk to my coach or supervisor about issues arising in our sessions without ever naming or giving away you as the client. This is to ensure I am following professional and ethical guidelines and delivering my best. I subscribe to these by the ICF; https://coachfederation.org/code-of-ethics
  • Qualifications and CPD; I am an accredited coach. This means I have trained, practiced and qualified with Animas Centre for Coaching (Nov 2020). I hold a ‘Diploma in Transformational Coaching’. This is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
    > I have my own coach and group supervision
    > My CPD includes –  Outdoor Intelligence for Online Coaching (Oct 2020) -Positive Psychology (Feb 2021

My accreditations

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My story

I’d been trying to work out ‘what else’ I could do with my career and life.

After 20 years in HR and with the children getting older, I wanted to change careers, but into ‘what?’ And ‘how’ was that even possible? And…’who would take on a mid-40’s apprentice?’!

I took small steps to boost my confidence and mindset; a regular ‘walk and whinge’ with friends to offload, short courses to up-skill, more running, more netball.
I asked my workplace ‘what else’ they needed that I could help with – ‘job crafting’. 

I was trying to make changes but it wasn’t really working. I was still frustrated and now, more miserable. I needed a different approach to find a way forward and release the building pressure I felt.

Hiring an accredited coach with whom I knew I could work with, enabled me to take a good look at myself – at times, uncomfortably.

To be listened to without any interruption, or judgement was empowering and I started to recognise what made me, me – my personality, strengths, what energised me and made me happy. What if these things amounted to a job I would…love…?

I followed my curiosity and dabbled with ideas about potential jobs, tasks and environments that would suit me, with a new, growth mindset.

I started to shift perspective. When I finally realised the ‘what’, I felt an energy and sense of knowing that was powerful. And I laughed, because it had been right in front of me!

Coaching undoubtedly helped me get to know myself, to see my potential and what was possible. I wholeheartedly decided through those sessions, on what and how I wanted things to be.

It had taken me two years of feeling stuck and miserable and a number of hours to be liberated.

This is what I now do with my clients. I help them rediscover themselves so that they can play to their strengths and thrive.

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