What is Life Coaching?
Martha Beck describes life coaches as, “personal trainers for your soul, they help you to access your own inner guidance and plot the course to your right life.“ As a life coach, I partner with you to discover what is missing, identify and move past your fears and limiting beliefs, and help you discover your right path to achieving your full potential in your business, career and life.
What is the Difference Between Life Coaching & Therapy?
While a therapist (psychologist, counsellor, etc.) helps people who are unwell become mentally healthy, a life coach works with people who are mentally healthy to help them achieve their full potential and discover their right lives. This could include changing patterns of thinking or overcoming fears that are keeping you stuck, or helping you figure out what you really want and putting a plan in place to reach your goals. While a life coach may ask you questions about your past or your family history to get a better understanding of what is important to you, they are more focused on the present and future – helping you move forward and gain greater fulfillment in your current life, rather than analyzing how you got to where you are in the first place.
What is the Difference Between Consulting and Coaching?
A life coach is a guide, who partners with you to help you access your own inner guidance. Instead of telling you or advising you as to what you should do, a coach will ask you the right questions, and provide you with the tools and support to help you access your own inner wisdom, and identify and move past any thought patterns or fears that may be blocking you. A consultant, on the other hand, may provide some coaching, but will also likely provide specific advice on what to do, and actually do stuff for you, like writing your business plan or drafting your message.
Both consultants and coaches may combine education with their coaching or consulting. For example, as a Marketing Consultant, I educated small business owners on marketing best practices, advised them on what I thought they should do based on my past experience, and also helped them write their marketing strategies and implement their marketing (I actually told them what to do, and then did it for them). As a Marketing Coach, I educate other life coaches on marketing best practices and coach them on getting clear on their core businesses and building marketing strategies they love (While I give them a general overview of marketing best practices, I don’t tell them specifically what to do – or set up any of their marketing for them).
Do All Life Coaches do the Same Thing?
No. Most life coaches specialize in one or two areas of coaching, often based on their past experience. This could include any area of business or life:
- Executive Coaching
- Business Coaching
- Leadership Coaching
- Career Coaching
- Marketing Coaching
- Relationship or Couples Coaching
- Weight Coaching
Most life coaches bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from previous careers, businesses, and lives that they now apply to their coaching.
Is Life Coaching Regulated?
No. Just like many other services (including business and other consulting services) coaching is not regulated in the same way as medical and mental health professionals such as doctors, psychologists or therapists.
So when you choose a coach, it’s important to do your due diligence just as you would in selecting a business consultant, accounting professional or other support. Make sure the coach has experience and expertise in the area you need support in (for example – if you are looking for a marketing coach, choose someone with solid marketing experience and knowledge) and education in coaching from a reputable program (for example, the Martha Beck Program includes a rigorous curriculum that takes a full year to complete). Finally, check out their testimonials and try them out first with a free coaching session or single session to make sure you’re a fit!
And remember, just because a profession is regulated doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your due diligence. There are bad apples, and people who aren’t the right fit for you in every profession – regulated or not.
What is Martha Beck Life Coaching?
Martha Beck is often referred to as “Oprah’s life coach” or the “world’s best known life coach”. She left the academic world (multiple Harvard degrees, including a PhD, instructor at Harvard Business School, etc., etc.) after realizing that she was living everyone else’s version of success, but was actually making herself chronically ill. She is the author of several best sellers, including “Steering by Starlight” and founded the Martha Beck Life Coach Training Program where she trains coaches in her proven methods to help people live their true lives filled with energy, passion and purpose – this can apply to anything from relationships to executive/business coaching and careers.
How Will We Work Together?
Well, this really depends on your goals and the coaching program you’ve chosen, and the coaching tools and techniques we use will definitely depend on your specific situation and what comes up in our session. However, below is a basic overview of what my typical coaching process looks like, how we might work together, and what tools we might use:
Basic Coaching Process:
1. Free Coaching Session:
I offer an initial free 30 minute coaching session so we can see if we’re a good fit! There is a coach out there who is the ideal fit for you – and clients out there who are the ideal fit to work with me. So this first session is pretty much a meet and greet so we can see if we are the right fit to work with each other. If I feel you could be better served by another coach, I will recommend one. If you feel we are not the right fit, no worries, let me know and I would be happy to refer you to other coaches who may be ideal for you.
2. Discovery Questionnaire:
Before we start coaching, I will send out a discovery questionnaire. This will give you the opportunity to really think about and describe where you are at and what you are struggling with. This will give me some important information and background material that we can use in our first session.
3. First Session:
In our first session, we will review your discovery questionnaire. I will ask questions about your answers that really piqued my curiosity, and we will identify what you are struggling with and really want to work on or achieve. One of my most important goals in this first session is determine what stage you are at in the change cycle, as this will really determine our next course of action.
4. Next Sessions:
In our next sessions, we will work toward moving past your struggles and achieving the goals we identified in the first session. Our goal is to move you through every phase of the change cycle until you’re well on your way to reaching the promised land (achieved your goals!).
- Square 1: Dissolving (Death and Rebirth): If you’ve gone through a significant life event or transition, you are likely in this square. This stage of the change cycle can be quite scary as you are literally losing your identity – whether it’s triggered by something out of your control – like the death of a loved one, divorce, being fired from your job – triggered by a decision you’ve made yourself – like moving across the country, getting married, or leaving a full time job to start a new business. Whatever the trigger, you can’t move on to Stage 2 until you’ve grieved your old life or identity, and worked through your painful thoughts and limiting beliefs.
- Square 2: Imagining (Dreaming and Scheming): In Square 2, you will be ready to start reorganizing and reforming your old identity into your new identity and life. In this stage, you will begin to imagine, dream and scheme, and start gathering information about your new possible directions.
- Square 3: Re-Forming (The Hero’s Saga): In Square 3, we will start to put tangible strategies in place to make your dreams and schemes from Square 2 a reality. This stage is dubbed “The Hero’s Saga” as it’s filled with successes and failures as you try one path, fix it, try another and yet another, and make adjustments until you finally get it right. That’s why the mantra for this phase is, “It’s much harder than I expected – and that’s ok”.
- Square 4: Full Flight (The Promised Land): This is your payoff stage. Your new identity is fully formed and you are ready to tackle the world. This is often the stage where we end our full time coaching engagement, but you may want to check back in from time to time.It’s important to remember to take time to savor your new life and also be prepared for change.
Learn more about my courses, retreats & coaching programs for coaches, Empathic Entrepreneurs, and passionate professionals RIGHT HERE.