As we talk about trauma and mental health supports, many wonder, “Why coaching?” when there are so many other known avenues already in place. We’re finally seeing a rise in mental health action, but it’s mostly therapy sessions (wait lists), peer support (which is great, but can be limited), and medication (costly and not a stand-alone solution).
While those methods have value and are needed, life coaching is often overlooked.
Coaching is still new to the mental health world, so it’s taken some time to teach the general public its merits.
Let’s explore life coaching and see why coaching is more powerful and could yield more long-lasting results.
What is Life Coaching
In order to answer why coaching is beneficial, we need to explore what exactly life coaching is.
Life coaching is not a therapy that dives into the past to uncover deep trauma and explain one’s feelings. It’s not mentorship or peer support where you’re speaking with someone who has expertise in your exact line of work or goals. In those settings, you are told what to do and how to perceive things.
Life coaching is something bigger, something that comes from inside you.
When you speak with a life coach, you aren’t told what to think or do. Your coach doesn’t give suggestions or explain your trauma or situation. Instead, your coach will ask questions.
They’re valuable questions, important, deep, and powerful questions. These questions make you pause, look at the situation in a new light, search for the answer, and achieve that aha moment.
This is big, so big. Let’s dive deeper into what coaching is and why coaching is so valuable to achieving the best you possible.
If you hate being drilled with questions, you’ve never known the power behind a coach’s questions.
Imagine a child coloring a picture, then he gets angry and breaks the crayon. Instead of just saying, “Don’t break your crayons,” you take a different approach.
“You seem upset,” you tell him, showing that you see his emotion. “What’s happening?”
No blame is laid, just a simple question.
“I messed up,” he tells you. You wait, still listening. He continues, “I colored in the wrong place. I didn’t want blue there.”
“And then what did you do?”
“I broke my crayon.” He doesn’t need to be told. He knows.
“And now what would you like to do?” This isn’t enough of a crime to cause blame or punishment. It’s something looking for a solution and the child is given the opportunity to find it.
“I want to fix it. It can be sky there.”
“Show me,” you respond with encouragement. He has a job now and he’s willing to do it.
Coaching questions can be that simple and yet so powerful. A question causes pause, thought, and a new perspective. Coaches don’t jump to conclusions, blame, or cast judgment. It’s about the coaching partner – you – finding a new way to see things. Those powerful questions cause you to think differently. They may seem simple, but they produce so much.
In the above example, the child finds a new perspective not because he was told to see it differently, but because he was given an opportunity to think of it himself. That’s vital and one of the main reasons why coaching works!
Coaches don’t tell you what to think but ask you to look for yourself. When given the opportunity to look at your own situation, you’re challenged to look at more than what you’ve been looking at.
You may be stuck staring at your overnights and mandatory OT, but you forgot to notice your free time happens to fall on a gym day or a weekend you can spend with your kids.
Maybe you didn’t realize that a simple change before your shift can leave time to make your lunch instead of buying it. Then you decide to put a few dollars aside each week to cover the cost of something you’ve been wanting.
The best part of coaching is that these perspective changes aren’t forced. They happen naturally as the coaching partner thinks about the situation differently and comes up with a solution. It’s a puzzle that one is challenged to solve. When we look at things differently, we tend to find new answers we didn’t notice.
Why Coaching Has Long-Lasting Results
Life coaching isn’t just a therapy session that helps at the moment. It’s a new take on seeing yourself, your choices, and your life. It sparks a new connection in the brain that opens the floodgates for more ideas and directions you hadn’t noticed before.
First responders tend to want to solve problems for others. So, by bringing one’s perspective around to see every situation differently, that responder can start to notice their own situation in a new light. They start to find new solutions and try new ideas to solve their own problems.
This triggers a new way of thinking that goes beyond the coaching session. This responder now starts to look at everything differently. Everything starts to have options, opportunities, and new solutions.
What’s more, and why coaching continues to work long after the sessions are over, is the responder starts realizing that if the solution doesn’t present itself right away, it just means new questions need to be asked. A whole new world opens up. Comfort levels change, preconceived notions change, and roadblocks feel like speed bumps. It’s a life-changing experience.
So here’s the challenge. We dare you to try this crazy new (to you) thing called coaching. We dare you to take a few sessions and see what’s really holding you back.
Are you afraid of a few simple questions? Not sure you can answer honestly? You have the power to change your life. We’re just the catalyst. You decide when you want to reach those goals and how you’re going to do it. We’re just here to ask those powerful questions. We’re here to hold you accountable and help you open those doors of possibility.