Life Coaching: More Than a Sounding Board

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When I tell people I’m going to be a life coach, I get a myriad of reactions. Sometimes they nod and smile and say, “that’s nice.” Other times they get all excited and suggest a few people they feel could use my help, people who outwardly don’t have their ‘act’ together. Occasionally, I’ll get someone who genuinely asks me how that works and I’m stoked to tell them about it.

What is Life Coaching?

Life coaching is 80% listening and 20% asking questions. It’s driving the client to find their own solutions through a new perspective, abolishing inhibitions, and seeing the issue for what it is. It’s smashing preconceived notions and stepping out of one’s comfort zone. Coaching is about making change happen because you, the client, want it. Coaches believe the client (or coachee) is whole, creative, and resourceful. They want clients to discover that same confidence. Coaches encourage through curiosity and reflecting back what the client is expressing. Life coaching is all about having a cheering squad, a mental mirror, and a safe place to be you. Yes, there’s some sounding board happening, but there’s so much more to reaching one’s goals.

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How Does Coaching Work?

Coaches build a relationship with clients by listening and being curious. Coaches ask loads of questions to find out more. Sometimes by merely stating something out loud, a client may hear what they’re saying and talk themselves in or out of thoughts. They listen patiently as the client works through the situation. Sometimes, coaches will have a client do a mental exercise to see something differently. Other times, coaches will use metaphors or have the client create metaphors to create new perspectives. Ultimately, the client, not the coach, finds the next step. The coach will hold the client accountable for this which helps tremendously in the client’s performance of said step. Finally, the coach encourages celebration for the client. We can’t be as motivated to move forward if we’re not pleased with the steps along the way.

What Coaching is NOT?

Coaching is NOT mentoring or therapy. Mentoring takes an expert who shares experiences with the client or experiences the client would like to have. Mentorship is great, but it’s different. The mentor will tell, not ask, the client what needs to be done. Therapy is about working through problems emotionally and finding tools to deal with them mentally. Therapy is also great but not the same. Therapists may tell, not ask, a client/patient what to do and why things are a certain way; coaches do not do this. A coach may refer a client to either should the need arise, but truly a coach is there to move with the client, not tell them what to do or think.

Why Coaching?

We often wish we could be told what to do to get out of a problem, but how much more enriching is it to gain that ability ourselves? Coaching doesn’t tell people what to do but it guides people to find their own inner strength and overcome obstacles by their own means. Coaching is about creating self-reliance in a new and fantastic way the client didn’t think was possible. In a world of hurt, stress, negativity, and darkness, coaching helps bring the light out from the inside. Are you ready to start shining? Go to 1st Responder Coaching to learn more!

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