When you’re hungry and your stomach growls, your body is looking for sustenance. You could fill yourself with foods that make you feel good immediately: chips, candy, fast food burgers, or ice cream. This will fill your belly for a little while and taste great, but it won’t last. What’s better is to fill yourself with sustaining foods, foods that are right for your body. If you eat carrots, turkey, fruits, or nuts, you’re getting vitamins, protein, and nutrients that will fill you for longer. Choosing the right way to fill yourself is important in the long run. It’s the fulfillment your body is truly craving.
What is Fulfillment Coaching?
Fulfillment coaching is not about satisfying the coachee immediately but about helping the coachee find satisfaction that will last. Satisfaction lasts longer when the coachee achieves values whether it takes work or it’s easy. Every person hungers for fulfillment, just like your body hungers for food. Finding that fulfillment in your life is more than being happy; it’s being ultimately satisfied with your overall life and its purpose. “Fulfillment coaching is about facilitating opportunities for others to create lives that are centered in what makes them feel most alive.” (coactive.com)
To know how a coachee feels ‘alive’ is to know what that coachee values most. Exploring this first through the initial coaching sessions is important in fulfillment coaching. If the coachee values risk-taking, a safe desk job may not be the ideal situation. If the coachee values family, a job that requires lots of travel may not be very fulfilling. Finding a coachee’s values and working on goals that align with those values will help lead your coachee to a more fulfilling life.
The Road to Feeling Alive
The coactive coaching model has a helpful exercise which coaches may give their coachees: The Wheel of Life. This allows coachees to determine their order of values among these things: money, career, health, friends and family, romance, personal growth, recreation, and physical environment. You may find you want to add items for a particular coachee such as faith or education as well. This can also be a simple list form. As you learn how your coachee orders these items, you may repeat it back to be sure these truly are the values your coachee holds. Sometimes coachees are surprised as they discover how they order their values. Knowing this will help you help your coachee find the deeper meaning, the ways in which your coachee will feel truly alive.
Throughout coaching sessions, coaches ask how a coachee’s actions or thoughts align with those values. You might ask your client what a truly fulfilling life might look like right now. Be sure to ask about now and not ‘in the future’ because we believe this life is possible now. You want your coachee to be encouraged by your confidence that he or she can, in fact, reach fulfillment now, even if some goals may take longer. Fulfillment isn’t about ultimate goals as much as it is the journey there. Hikers don’t quit hiking once they’ve reached a summit. They hike for the hiking and enjoy the summit each time they get there.
Beware of Self-Sabotage
One of the biggest barriers to reaching fulfillment is self-sabotage. This happens when a little voice, meant to keep us safe in life, is overcautious and prevents us from taking risks. This voice wants us to be sure, to be comfortable, and it often breeds fear. The little voice, of course, isn’t all bad, but those overcautious moments can prevent your coachee from taking the steps he or she needs in order to succeed. Sometimes, the voice can cause the coachee go against his or her values under the guise of safety.
Let’s say the coachee values physical fitness, but his job is demanding and he works beyond his hours at his desk. He isn’t committing to the gym like he said he would. You, as his coach, would point this out. You might hit a self-sabotage barrier of excuses: the work needs to be done, it can’t be late. Ultimately, he needs to make the decision himself, but sometimes showing a clear picture will help a coachee cross that barrier. Hearing that he isn’t following his commitment and staying in line with his values may encourage him. Perhaps he hears you and finds a way to fulfill his commitment in a small way at first, then gets better at it.
Living a Life of Fulfillment
Our job in coaching is not about giving advice. It’s about empowering our coachees to find fulfillment in their lives. It’s about helping them realize they can make the right choices to build a fulfilling life themselves. When coachees make the decision on their own, they’re more apt to commit to their lifestyle of fulfillment. They’re going to feel success in the way in which they live, which will bring more motivation in reaching their goals.
Living a life of fulfillment is about enjoying the journey, feeling alive in the journey as they reach for goals and dreams that used to feel so far away. When a person feels fulfillment, that person is ready to take on challenges that seemed impossible before. This is why we coach, not to guide a person to the right answer, but to guide a person to be able to find the answers on their own.