Frequently Asked Questions about Life Coaching
Q: What is the difference between coaching and counseling or therapy?
A: Counseling is best likened to archeology, where you dig into the past to make sense of the present. Counselors and therapists are licensed professionals trained to diagnose and treat mental and emotional illness. Counselors give guidance and work from a treatment plan. Coaching is likened to architecture, where you have a vision that you are seeking to build. Professional coaches are trained and/or certified professionals that help you find and develop your answers, your wisdom and your life skills. Coaches believe that you are your wisest counsel, help you live through your value and help you stretch ten times further in life than you would on your own. In essence the focus of counseling is to help you heal a part of you self or life and coaching helps you grow parts of yourself and life. While some of the skills (empathy, questions the evoke you to consider options, confidentiality, etc.) may appear to overlap, their underlying foundations are very unique and different altogether.
Q: How can I tell if I would be better served hiring a life coach or seeing a therapist?
A: If a current life issue is possibly related to a childhood trauma or abuse, there is addiction or abuse currently happening, then it best to seek a licensed professionals that can diagnose what is happening and help you foster healing in your life. If however, you are already resourced and your desire to make changes in the the quality of your life in areas of relationship (to self and others), vocational enhancement, spiritual growth, health & well-being, financial wealth and mindfulness, then coaching works wonders. If you are still not sure, you can always talk with a professional coach and they will be clear about whether or not they can help you and if your goals are within their scope of training. Some people work with both a coach and a therapist. The therapist helps with healing from past traumas and the coach helps with building a brighter future and developing towards your goals.
Q: What topics are coaches trained to cover?
A: Professional coaches are trained in coaching. It does not matter what goal you wish to work on, the coach will meet you exactly where you are at. Coaches do not give advice, they help you determine and sort out your wisest answer so expertise is not required for a coach to help you achieve excellent results.
Some coaches have a niche. A niche is a specialty a coach may have chosen to focus on, based on prior experiences or other educations. However, all trained coaches are adept at coaching you around any topic you choose to bring into coaching.
Q: Is coaching worth the investment?
A: Coaching is a short-term investment with life-long results. Everything you accomplish, attain, enhance in your life and all of the new life skills you hone are with you for a lifetime. The process of coaching helps you increase your confidence, handle challenges with grace and intention and prepare you for greater potentials. In coaching, you are the lead. You set the agenda and your coach is your co-pilot on your journey ensuring you reach your destination with greater ease and joy. This often leads to feelings of fulfillment and contentment in life.
Coaching is also results based. You get results from shifting into a more empowering perspective, sharpening your tools and taking action. While coaches do not advise or diagnosis issues, many coaches offer assessments for you to take so that you can assess for yourself what may be getting in the way, or may be needed to overcome.
Q: What is important to look for and ask about when hiring a life coach?
A: There is a distinction between a professional coach and someone using the word coach as an umbrella term and may use little to none coach-specific skills and frameworks. A professional coach will be trained and often certified. Looking for a coach that is either trained and/or credentialed by the International Coach Federation (ICF) is a quick way to know if a coach has met standards of coaching ethics and the professional coach-specific skills. If they attended an ICF accredited school or have an ICF designation, then you can have faith they will be using actual coaching with you. Because coaching is not licensed - coaches do not diagnose or treat - you want to check to see if a life coach has been evaluated to know what they are doing.
Q: Will coaching work for me?
A: Coaching will work if you are: 1) willing to take action, 2) enjoy self-reflecting even when it isn't always pleasant, 3) welcome self-development, 4) desiring to be more self-aware so you can be the best version of yourself, 5) enjoy being self-directed yet have someone to help you reach further, and 6) believe your life could be different even if you aren't sure how to get there just yet.
Coaching will not work if: 1) there is a trauma/abuse/addiction pattern, past or present, that is actively causing damage, 2) you do not believe your life could be different because it too overwhelming, 3) you feel so stuck in any negative cycle that feels as if it has become bigger than you. If any of these are true, a licensed therapist should be consulted for proper advisement, treatment and direction.
Q: How do I get the most out of coaching?
A: There are many ways to get the most out of a coaching partnership. The first thing is to try out a few coaches to find a great fit for you. Many coaches offer a free session, or free consult so you can learn how they work. Once you find a fit, here are the recommendations to get the most from a coaching program:
1) Be open and honest with yourself and with your coach. If something isn't working, or you wish to switch directions, say so. Let your coach know what works best for you and what your needs are so your coach can adapt to you and ensure you get the most out of your time together.
2) Take action on your homework assignments. If something gets in the way, report back to your coach so a course correction can be made.
3) Celebrate successes along the way! Celebrations mark milestones in your life's work and personal accomplishments.
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