What Does A Life Coach Do

Life Coach Paul WebsterExplaining what a Life Coach does is hard because in one way it’s just too simple.

I explain what a Life Coach does to my friends and they say, “Is that it” or at least you know that’s what they’re thinking.

Ask anyone who has had a series of sessions with a good life coach though and they will say things like, “Life changing”, “amazing”, “I can’t describe the difference”, “for years suffered with….….. and now I’m……………..”  “my life is totally transformed”, and so on.

They don’t talk about what a Life Coach does, they talk about the result they got from Life Coaching and that’s how it should be. The process is not as important to them as the outcome they got.

Perhaps a better question than ‘What does a Life Coach Do’ would be ‘Could I use a Life Coach’?

It’s not a case of being broken and needing to be fixed. Life Coaching is not therapy or counseling. Life Coaching is for people who simply have a desire to improve. None of us are perfect, there is always more to learn if we are willing and open.

As complicated as we are as individuals on the surface, underneath we share plenty in common. You might feel like you’re the only person who struggles with X or Y but I can assure you, when it comes to the basic needs of our inner being, we are all remarkably similar. If you struggle with something, it can be helpful to know there are millions of other people out there that struggle with that thing too. You just may not know about it. We tend not to talk openly about our inner struggles.

We are also often the least qualified person in the world when it comes to understanding our own thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.

It is often said, we should all just swap problems because we always have a solution for other peoples.

Is a Life Coach perfect?

A life coach doesn’t have to be perfect themselves, to be able to work with you and guide you in understanding yourself better. Indeed it is often the case that we relate better to someone who is close to us in style and circumstance.

Many highly qualified people may have a wealth of knowledge but when you’re stuck with problems, feeling inadequate and looking for answers, the gap between you and the superstar coach may seem too big. What would they know? We say.

Why do we need a Life Coach in the first place?

Great question.

Most of us come into this world pretty much perfect. We know love, we know how to be happy, life is simple and there for the living. We don’t know embarrassment, we have very few fears, we don’t know how to worry. We are a blank canvas soaking up life and learning very fast.

By the age of about 4 though, life starts to toss us experiences. Some good, some maybe not so good. As a child, we have no power or control over our lives, but stuff still happens to us. Your young brain works hard trying to make sense of all that’s going on, trying to keep you safe, happy and in favour with those more powerful or influential in your life than you are.

We all devise our own strategies for conforming, fitting in, getting our needs met and staying safe because we have to.

Those strategies have a logic and a purpose at the time but later in life, they often become the very things that become our roadblocks and Life Coaching has the tools to remove them.

By the time we reach adulthood our brain has created a map of the world and how it all works. Ask any young adult a question about life and typically they know it all. They have it figured because they’ve been working flat out at that one question for the last 15 – 20 years of their life. What they lack in experience they make up for in willingness to go with whatever works at the time.

We may know that they don’t really have it all figured yet but they believe they do. This is how we enter adult life. We have some strong convictions and things we believe that are based on limited experience and some pretty random series of events and people.

Because they are OUR beliefs and we have the evidence in our life to support them we can hold on to them very tightly. Even when presented with new evidence that contradicts what we ‘know’.

A common example is a young child who has a go at something, singing for example, and gets laughed at by some authority figure and told: “you’re terrible at singing”. The words crash into the young child’s brain like a freight train and leave a deeply embedded scar. A deeply held belief that they are no good at singing.

The important thing to realise is this, that belief, as powerful as it is, is based solely on one comment by one person who was quite probably totally unqualified to comment anyway. In any event there are very few child prodigies. Most of us start doing things poorly, but by persisting, learn and become good.

These deeply held and yet inaccurate beliefs are often what stands as insurmountable obstacles in our adult life.

Much of my work as a life coach is focused on releasing these hidden anchors.

On the lighter side, Life Coaching can also be a great benefit with things like goal setting, holding yourself accountable, decision making, planning and strategizing, problem-solving, communication skills, confidence, self-esteem, finances, relationships and much, much more.

Definition of a Life Coach

“Part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist and part rent-a-friend, coaches work with managers, entrepreneurs, and just plain folks, helping them define and achieve their goals — career, personal, or most often, both.” – Newsweek