It happens all the time. I'm in a social setting and I meet someone who asks what I do. I respond, "I'm a Life Coach." Then I get that look, the one that asks the question, "What in the world is a Life Coach and what does that involve?"
The short answer is that I engage people in a conversation that helps them move forward with their lives. The folks who come to me are ususally stuck. They want and/or need to make changes in their life but are stymied in their efforts to discover what to do. That's where I come in.
Like most things in life change is a process. The process of life coaching is a series of conversations that begin with discussions about what they are dissatisfied with and move quickly into exploration of possible new directions to pursue. Pros and cons are considered. Obstacles are clearly defined. Finally, a path, a plan emerges and I walk the first few steps of the new journey with them to help them get off to a good start. Then I release them to follow the new course they have charted.
A typical coaching relationship lasts about six months or so. By then one of three outcomes has revealed itself: Either they have successfully developed their plan for change and are on their way to implimenting it or I haven't been able to help them chart their new course or they aren't able or willing to engage the plan we've developed.
In either of the latter two cases, as soon as it becomes apparent to me that the process has stalled I challenge my client on their reluctance to move forward. If that gets them going, all the better. If not, then it is time to end the coaching relationship for a season until they are ready to re-engage the process. Sometimes people sense the need for change long before they are really ready to engage the process of change. they may think they are ready but they aren't. It's always painful to tell someone they aren't ready but often it shakes them loose to move forward.
At its heart, life coaching is a linear process. True there will be setbacks but forward movement is the intent and goal. When that forward movement stalls then the client has gone as far as they can for a season. They need to digest and incorporate what they've learned and gained to that point into who they are. To persist is to waste our time and their money, something I can't do and maintain my integrety as a Life Coach.
There is another type of coaching I do that is somewhat different than what I've described above and that is Recovery Coaching. I'll cover that next week.