I’ve Heard About Life Coaching, But What Is It?

Welcome to a new feature at Oswego County Today.Com. This monthly column will focus on the field of Life Coaching and will feature both general information about Coaching and my experiences as a Coach. Because Life Coaching is a relatively new service in central New York I am offering the column to familiarize the reader with its many benefits. In the following months readers will be able to learn how Life Coaching works, typical Coaching scenarios and what areas of Life Coaching are most helpful.

To begin understanding Life Coaching let’s imagine that it is January 1st, New Year’s Day. The whole year lies ahead of us. Everyone at holiday parties is talking about New Year’s Resolutions. Like most people, we spend some time day dreaming about what we’d like our life to be and we imagine ourselves happier, thinner, more content or more successful. Some people write these changes down. Others don’t. Either way January 2nd comes and “life happens.” We return to work and the day to day details that make up our life. Slowly, these goals and aspirations fade away. Why does this happen, for many of us, year after year and how can a Life Coach help?

A person curious about Life Coaching might begin by looking at some key words found in the dictionary under “coach”: guide, teacher, tutor, adviser, or mentor. Think back on your favorite high school sports coach. You might also remember a person who opened up a talent or ability not fully realized before. A music or drama coach may have offered inspiration to work through doubts and fears, allowing you to appear on stage and share unique talents. Within these well-loved role models and many others who have helped us in life, is the essence of a Life Coach.

You may have heard about Life Coaching from some TV talk shows (Oprah introduced Coaching to her audience with guests like Dr. Phil McGraw) or read an article about Personal Coaches in a magazine or newspaper article. Why are Life Coaches suddenly so popular? The many reasons include:

-In our transient society, many people move far from family and trusted friends. However the need for someone to listen and reflect remains.
-The choices we are given in today’s society, compared to those of our parents, are vast. Deciding what is best for us is often overwhelming.
-Our leisure time has grown as has our desire to fill it with meaning and purpose beyond our professions.
-It is no longer considered odd to have ended a long standing relationship, but support for how to build a new, healthier one is not always readily available.

If a person decides they could use the skills of a Life Coach, what might they expect to happen? Much like our New Year’s Day scenario, a Life Coach would sit with the person setting goals (we could call them “the Client”) and listen to their dreams and aspirations. The Coach would write down those goals, transcribing the Client’s words into clear, manageable categories. Next the Coach would pull from theses categories achievable goals and steps toward accomplishing them. Through regular meetings (either in person or over the telephone) the Coach checks in with the Client looking to see progress toward their established goals. It is during this phase that the Coach becomes vital. He or she keeps the Client accountable by regular “check ins” and by continuing to support them through the change. In time, because true change takes time, the Client begins to experience a life with fulfilled goals. Those New Year’s Day dreams have become a part of their day to day life.

I am a certified Life Coach and offer services through my business “Clearpath Life Coaching.” My website tells more about my background and coaching (www.clearpathlifecoach.com). Future articles will share more about how Coaching works, my Coaching challenges and successes and answers to your Coaching questions. Please feel free to email or call me with your questions and comments. There is no obligation to use my service if you should contact me. I can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 315 592-7034.