What is Life Coaching?
Life coaching is a rapidly growing field of practice and knowledge designed to assist people develop both personally and professionally. The life coach guides clients, rather than patients, toward meeting their goals and dreams. The emphasis is on “producing action and uncovering learning that can lead to more fulfillment, more balance, and a more effective process for living”. Life coaching is in many ways an extension of executive coaching, with the specific goal of helping an executive achieve higher levels of success in business and life. Life coaching is in its infancy compared to professions involving psychology, social work, sociology, and business. The life coach does not have to have a degree or a certification, but it is certainly desirable. A recent coaching study identified “untrained individuals who call themselves coaches were viewed as the main future obstacle for coaching (Beebe & Lachmann, 2002).
Adult education is a broad term including formal college education; job related training, community education, or self-improvement. Adult education emerged from the training and development field expanding outside of organizational develop-ment to community and higher education venues. Coach training programs are adult education programs as they are targeted towards adult learners, facilitated by adult educators, and promote professional and personal development. Similar to a life coach an adult educator facilitates meaningful adult learning honoring the experiences of the adult learner. A primary purpose of adult education is to recognize adult learners as resourceful in understanding their experiences and reflecting upon them for problem-solving (Blanchard & Shula, 1995).
Life coaching and adult education share properties related to adult learning. Both were influenced by psychology and philosophy. Both focus on adult learners with the goal of transforming and enriching lives. Both recognize adult learners are self-directed and possess the characteristics of knowing what they want to achieve, as well as learn, through active participation. Life coaching is referred to as a process to enhance and change lives enabling learning and development to occur. The emphasis of life coaching is on the present and future, focused on goals and behavior (Casserley & Megginson, 2009).
I would add to this definition, which is certainly well presented, that life coaching is a form of discipleship (more on this in chapter 1). Through strategic questions and loving confrontation (present-ed in the appendices are samples), a coach (a mentor or discipler) assists the client in facing the truth about their lives, and adjust, both short term and long; to help them achieve, agreed upon, reachable goals. These goals include the values of the client and the gifts and calling of their life. Accomplishing these goals requires a clear philosophy and certain skills, some of which are innate, but most can be learned. The coach will focus on the philosophy, which has often been referred to as the “Balanced Life Philosophy” modified by the 5 C’s of our overall coaching model.
Having a clear understanding of oneself, as well as an understanding of the other person’s purpose, goals, dreams, passions, etc., is the initial element of coaching. As in other professional fields of endeavor such as medicine or psychotherapy, a good diagnosis is paramount, leading to proper treatment. Though the medical model is not an appropriate one for life coaching (it is more about wellness than sickness) a good understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, biases and fears, etc. as well as those of the client’s is essential. What will be presented here is a model for gathering information on the client that will lay the foundation of a life plan. The primary focus will be on the dynamic DISC profile and its usage as a primary tool for coaching, presented in a later part of this book.
Because vision and goal setting are so important, as they lead to the actual implementation of the plan, separate chapters have been dedicated to these vital subjects. This should lead a reasonable person in the direction of achieving their life goals.
The final section will focus on coaching and the coach. They are designed to assist the life coach in fulfilling his own goals and dreams which, I trust, is to see many men and women step fully into their divine destiny.
“Good coaching is good teaching and nothing else.”
My Losing Season: A Memoir
Buy you copy below: