What is Life Coaching

How many of you have had any experience with life coaching – or even know what it is? I ask this question every time I speak to a bariatric support group. Over the last 6 years the response has changed immensely. In the beginning I would have 50% of the people respond ‘yes’ when I was in California but only 20% in Wisconsin. Now it’s closer to 70% across the board.

Coaching has become the buzzword these days. Everyone is a coach. Yet not everyone is a trained coach. People’s experience of coaching is so varied. And unfortunately it’s not always a very positive experience.

How it works

Imagine having someone sitting across from you or on the phone with you every week – someone you know you can trust who has your best interest at heart. This person listens to you with complete attention and empathy and you know they understand you. Your whole conversation is about you. Is is never about them unless they choose to share a point that will help illustrate something you brought up.

They think you are the most amazingly resourceful person. They know you are smart and motivated and that you want to change your life for the better. They encourage you every step of the way. They are your biggest cheerleader. Yet you know they won’t tell you anything but the truth and expect the truth from you in return. They will push you to be more truthful than you’ve ever been before. And you find yourself telling the truth as never before because this is just between the two of you. Nothing you say will be shared with anyone else, everything is in complete confidence.

The coach helps by…

This person is able to help you dig deep, beyond the surface answers you were willing to live with before. They don’t judge your revelations but only ask you questions to better understand you. This person is willing to rock the boat and ask you the tough questions everyone else has shied away from. They don’t fear upsetting you because they know that’s in your best interest.

They don’t really care about your past and who did what to you, but they do care about how the past might be stopping you from moving forward NOW. They don’t try to heal your past or look for what’s WRONG with you. They point out what’s RIGHT about you and how you might strengthen that.

You might want and ask advice from this person but they know that often this is not what you need. Instead they get you to find your own solutions through questions and probing. Sometimes they’ll tell you what worked for them but never expect you to do it exactly the same as they did it. They acknowledge your individuality.

They will sometimes ask you stupid questions and you feel safe enough to tell them that. Then they come up with a zinger question that rocks your world and gets you to look at who you really are and what you really want. They are not perfect and every time you’re with them you may not experience bolts of insight lighting up your world. But each coaching session may lead to a new perspective, or a light bulb going off in your head, or a bathing of tears, or just a little deeper understanding of who you really are. And always…always, you know this person is there pulling for you and your success.

This person is your coach. Who wouldn’t love to have a person like this in their lives?

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