Wherever you look, whatever networking event you go to there is at least one person promoting their coaching services. But what exactly is coaching and how can you benefit from hiring a coach or Doing It Yourself! Yes, you read it correctly - there is such a thing as Self Coaching.
Just talking to someone else can help you make sense of the world around you but mainly the world you have inside your head. There are people who talk and there are those who don't think it helps. Not until they try! There are charities and organisations based on purely listening - because it does help to be heard or to even hear the words coming out of your own mouth! Just how many times have you said something only when it came out it didn't quite have the same meaning as it did whilst still in you head....? Just think for a minute. Before we look at what coaching is - lets look at what coaching isn't and how it compares with different yet seemingly similar services.
NHS website describes counselling as a talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues. You'll be encouraged to talk about your feelings and emotions. The therapist can help you gain a better understanding of your feelings and thought processes, and find your own solutions to problems. But they will not usually give advice or tell you what to do.
Mentors are usually more experienced than Mentees. Their relationships is based on trust , knowledge and support the Mentor can pass onto a less experienced Mentee. This can be in a work setting but also Business Leaders can have mentors who are more experienced in running a business, young people seek mentorship for their future careers moves in fact anyone can have a mentor to help proving how 'to's' and real life examples. Mentorship is usually free of charge.
The above description of mentor is pretty much the same as the one of a consultant. Typically a consultant is hired for a specific task and is not always part of the company and unlike a mentor consultants get paid for their time and expertise. As they are the expert, they will provide advice and how to best do the task at hand, do it themselves if you don't have the resources or will provide a training.
Your coach, like you doesn't necessarily be an expert in the field you're looking to improve. Coaching is based in excellent listening skills and good questioning. Coach will never tell you what to do but through asking the right questions and exploring many options in a non judgmental and confidential way will help you to learn what you can do, what you thought you wanted but find out actually that it's not quite what you thought and what you don't want to have in your life anymore.
So how can you use coaching techniques to help you move forward in your life?
What do you want?
First you need to work out what is the outcome, the goal, the final destination, your purpose. No matter how distant or surreal it might be. Just picture it for now. Think about it. Imagine you're already there! One year from one, 5 years from now? No matter how bonkers the idea might sound... Give yourself few minutes to really get into it. How important is it for you to get there? WRITE it down!
Now, think backwards, what are the stepping stones on the way. What are they? What will you need to achieve to get to your final place?
How will you feel if you don't achieve it or get to your ideal life in the future?
If you could have the life you imagined right now, would you take it?
Who is in control of making it happen?
Where are you now?
What is happening right now in your life?
What has stopped you to get what you want?
What isn't in your control to get to where you want to be or what you want to have?
What obstacles are in your way that are stopping you?
What resources and help do you have? And will need?
Think about a time in your life where you faced similar challenges. What can you take from that situation and use it to help you today? What strength shine through?
What can you do?
My favourite part of the coaching process. Exploring options. Here, you really need to get creative and write down everything that comes to your mind. Yes WRITE it down! It's important so you can look back when you want to know what to do next. Write at least 30-50 options no matter how crazy they are (and how 'painful' the process will be)
What can you do?
What will take you closer to what you want?
What would you tell your best friend to do if they were in the same situation as you?
What would your role model say to you?
What if you knew the answer - what would it be?
Don't forget to list as many options as you can. Even if you know you will never do it. At least you can eliminate those options and you never know - one day these might be just the right step! I was coached on relationships - for weeks I wrote down online dating only to cross it off as no option until I had no other options - I met my boyfriend through online dating - a year ago!! So don't be afraid to write whatever comes to your mind.
What will you do?
Now that you explored lots of different options it's time to choose The ONE!
Look at your list and pick one that you think will take you closer to you desired outcome. Pick one that feels right.
Next to it write down exactly when and how will you do it.
What do you need to make it happen?
Who can you ask for support (if you need it)
What can stop you? Even if you can't think of anything, always make plan B
How motivated are you about starting this journey?
How committed are you to keep going?
This might not be the same way for every coach but if you want to get going and can't really afford personal coach - this is a good way to help you move towards what you want - Self Coaching.
What Coach does is t help you feel accountable - because you told someone you're going to do something and you don't want to look like you haven't done anything. Paying money will also motivate you to at least consider the options and start acting. Self coaching works if you are highly motivated. I hope this post will help you to at least make a start towards your perfect life.