I seem to be drawn to careers that people don’t really understand. And I guess that in itself is understandable because what I do is work with people, and not everyone can understand other people! Take life coaches – it’s a growing profession but lots of people still don’t understand what a life coach can do for you.
If I take my clinical career in the NHS as an example, I used to work as an Occupational Therapist. Whenever it came up in discussion about what I did, I’d get a range of these responses:
Oh, so you help people at work who get injured or sick
Is that the same as being a Physiotherapist
Can you sort my back out?
Blank stare, polite smile and quick move on of the discussion
My younger self would prefer not to say what I did for work and often I would nod at the response so we can get past it without a big explanation! And if you’re now intrigued about what an Occupational Therapist (OT) does, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists provides you with a run through here: https://www.rcot.co.uk/about-occupational-therapy/what-is-occupational-therapy
Thankfully I grew out of the shyness of explaining what an amazing profession OT really is. What does this have to do with Life Coaching? I’m getting to that.
The skills I gained and the experiences I had as an OT have given me the foundations for being the best life coach I can be. I have met thousands of people from all walks of life and often in a really difficult situation (illness, disability, change in function, big life decisions to be made) and that has given me a working insight into different mindsets, coping strategies, personality traits, excuses, motivation and empowerment, thought processes and different attitudes across the entire age range (I have worked in paediatrics, adult and older adult services, including end of life care).
So if I loved this career why did I become a life coach? I decided that I wanted to move away from sickness and illness. As a sensitive soul I found it emotionally draining and I’ve worked in the NHS (and still do, but not clinically) for over 20 years. People can be harsh in these circumstances (totally understandable in most circumstances and downright rude and arrogant in others) and I longed to work with people who wanted to progress their lives, people who wanted to move on and achieve amazing things for themselves. Life coaching brings this and more!
So now I find myself as a recently qualified Life Coach facing a similar situation when asked what I do! I now hear these responses:
Life coach? That’s actually a thing? Wow.
Ooh (close by nominated person) could do with some counselling, you could sort them out, couldn’t you?
Blank stare, polite smile
I feel like I’ve found my new home! I’m used to this and thankfully I’m ready to challenge the misconceptions and provide evidence that life coaching is indeed a ‘thing’ and really does make a huge difference to the people who allow it into their lives.
There are many definitions of life coaching – ranging from the utterly plain and lacking in emotion ‘a person employed to help people attain their goals in life’ through to ‘A life coach is someone that looks to empower others by helping them make, meet and exceed goals in both their personal and professional lives’.
The Beautiful You Coaching Academy describes life coaching as drawing upon a variety of techniques from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, social work, personal development and career development to assist people create change in their lives; moving them from where they are, to where they want to be. Life coaching helps people think and behave differently; consciously learning what is best for them and the life they want to live.
This is the amazing academy that I trained with and I couldn’t have wished for a more supportive, engaging experience with them.
Life coaching supports you to uncover what is truly important to you. This can include identifying your values, playing to your strengths, creating self-care routines, taking control of your life, working through life transitions, gaining clarity on your life meaning, holding yourself accountable for achieving your dreams, improving self-confidence, finding what is missing in life, removing self-doubt.
My question is why wouldn’t you want a life coach to work with?! The coaching relationship is about discovery, accountability, fun and some tough talk when needed! Most successful people in life work with coaches every year to progress their thoughts, stop limiting behaviours that hold them back and give that person the time to explore what’s going on in their head – something most of us struggle to prioritise.
When you enter into a coaching series, you’re saying to yourself that you want to be the best version of you.
How many times have you paid for a course or attended a seminar only to come away disappointed because it doesn’t relate to you? Or it gives techniques but you can’t implement them on your own?
Some people feel awkward about paying for a coach because it seems a lot of money. I’d like to challenge this concept. When you ‘buy’ a coaching series, you’re purchasing a tailored to you personal support system that is going to work with you to achieve YOUR dreams, YOUR goals, and change YOUR life. It’s about prioritising YOU. You’re not buying my certificate and months of training, you’re buying my rich history of being and interacting with people, my own experiences of coaching, my continued learning and personal development, my dedication to reading development books and articles so I can bring you the best ways to take your forwards in life. You’re buying a fresh and objective pair of eyes on your situation, someone who spots patterns of behaviour, someone who has your best and highest interests as my only agenda.
Sure the money could be spent on a few nights out, a weekend away or a lovely new item of clothing. Will these things give you lasting confidence? A new and sustained love of life? Clarity in what lights you up and makes you excited? Maybe for a few hours but not beyond that. Life coaching is about you, your inner world so that you can reflect the magnificent changes back out to your external world. It’s an investment in you.
Why do I coach people in midlife? I naturally attract people in this stage of life to talk through life’s ups and downs. Also as I’m entering midlife myself, I want to make sure I’m surrounded by a kickass group of other midlifers who aren’t going to ‘settle’ for the routine, mundane life that sometimes drowns us and makes us invisible. I want to create a midlife revolution!
Let’s stand up and be heard! Let’s live amazing lives! Let’s show the world that midlife is something to look forwards to! Who’s with me? Who wants to be the best version of themselves right now? Who wants to achieve their life dreams?