SMALL CHANGE LIFE COACHING

 

Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions I get about what life coaching is and what a coach can help you do.

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SO WHAT IS LIFE COACHING?

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It’s about building new life skills so you can move from where you are to where you want to go. It’s not that you don’t have direction; it’s that, sometimes, you might feel stuck. A coach’s role is to help you figure out a new route, new ways to surmount obstacles and generate new momentum towards what you want to achieve.

I like to think of a coach as the person who comes along to help you figure out how to get your car unstuck from a puddle of mud—or perhaps a pothole (I’ve been in a few myself!), as well as supporting you along the way.

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HERE AT SMALL CHANGE LIFE COACHING YOU’LL FIND PERSONAL EXPERIENCE…

ISN’T THIS THE SAME THING AS THERAPY?

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No. There’s overlap, yes, but a life coach isn’t a therapist. In a way, a life coach is a life consultant. The focus a coach has is to help you move forward from where you are now to where you want to go tomorrow and on down the road. There’s very little focus on past traumas or incidents, unlike what often occurs in therapy.

That’s not to say a coach doesn’t see those past events as important, because they’re part of you (this is a good thing). A coach and a client may discuss something that happened to you because it’s important and a part of you, but if it becomes apparent that the event is largely unresolved/and or creating a larger block than the client feels he or she can navigate at the present moment, the coach will very likely suggest therapy, either in conjunction with the coaching, or fully separately. It’s not that a coach doesn’t think he or she can help you. Rather, it’s that the coach wants to ensure you get the best possible assistance you can to achieve your goals.

The great thing is that therapy and coaching are highly complimentary; many people utilize both. One isn’t necessarily meant to replace the other.

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ALL COACHING IS PERSONALIZED TO FIT YOU AND YOUR GOALS…

SO WHO USES LIFE COACHING?

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All sorts of people use coaching. Many people I’ve coached feel that they’re already living a fairly happy and satisfying life—but they want more. They hire a coach to help them sort out how to expand on what they have as their current skills feel outdated, or perhaps because the client can’t quite pinpoint what it is they want more of in their life.

But, to that—many clients do hire a coach because they feel quite stuck and unhappy and don’t know where to begin. A coach, then, helps them break down where and how to start into smaller goals (my main way of coaching) so that momentum can be built.

I’ve coached athletes, veterans, moms, dads, clergymen and women as well as Buddhist monks and nuns. Yes, even priests, pastors, monks and nuns recognize the value in receiving help to find  a new way to move through times when they feel stuck and confused.

Over my many years of coaching, I’ve had clients from all walks of life and cultures and ages, all at various levels of where they want to be (and go) in life. Some people are as described above—fairly satisfied in life and wanting more—while others are wanting to move forward from trauma.

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CAN’T I GET THE SAME KIND OF SUPPORT FROM A BEST FRIEND?

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Possibly. While best friends are wonderful resources for support, they can’t always be objective. His or her objective is mainly to help cheer you up and to feel better in the moment. Yes, sometimes the advice they give is helpful in the long run. A best friend’s role is more one of mental and emotional support than skill-building.

A coach has more objectivity. He or she should be friendly and personable, but the coach’s role isn’t to commiserate or chat over a beer or coffee. We’re terrific listeners, but what we’re listening for are ways the client may be sabotaging themselves (self-talk, for example) and to bring that to the client’s attention. A best friend may not want to do this out of fear that they’ll make you feel worse.

The coach, on the other hand, knows that drawing the client’s attention to moments of self-sabotage is where the growth happens and momentum towards goals is built. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but the coach is there to support you in these moments, because we know it’s challenging.

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SO YOU’LL BE ABLE TO TELL ME HOW TO FIX MY LIFE?

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We’re not here to tell you what to do or how to do it. What a coach can and does do is provide objectivity (as mentioned above) and proven suggestions, not advice (we’re not Dear Abby) for what you can try. I personally also don’t see you as “broken” and needing to be “fixed”. Viewing a client as such isn’t helpful, in my view, as it infers an invalidation of not only you, but your experiences.

From the viewpoint of a coach, we have expertise we draw on from what we’ve seen work time and time again with people, but you are the expert on your life. Only you can decide what can, does and will work. We’re also not drill sergeants, ordering you to iron your uniform with sharper creases or make tighter hospital corners on your bed.

I view our coaching relationship as a collaboration. I know that not all the things I may suggest will resonate with you (at least, not at first), and so my role is to work with you to find an approach to building new life skills that do resonate with you.

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I WANT TO MAKE THE CHANGES, BUT THIS ALL SOUNDS REALLY HARD. DOES IT EVER GET EASY?

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Not exactly.  But it does get easier.

I liken it to weight lifting. At first, you can barely lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. You’re sore, you’re tired, and the effort is incredibly challenging and you start wondering if the effort is even worth it. But, almost suddenly, that 10 lbs becomes easy to lift, and you can increase the weight. And then one day, you discover you have more energy. Grocery bags feel lighter. Your pants become too big. The benefits from all that effort are appearing in more evident ways.

As you continue, as you begin to have the skills to not only lift heavier and heavier weight as well as the ability to do more complex movements. While you still get sore and tired, those times no longer feel as burdensome. You let them go. Even times when you may be really sore and tired. Or feel like “nothing” is happening. You begin to know that’s when the momentum is building again and, fairly soon, you’ll have a more subjective sense of all the work you’re doing.

Building life skills is no different. At first it’s extraordinarily challenging and it feels like no momentum is building, perhaps even like the mental and emotional sore muscles will stick around forever. And then, one day…they’re gone. It gets easier and easier to work through those cycles. Daily challenges that once overwhelmed you blow right past you.

I know someone who likes to view all of this as an adventure, because you never know what you’re going to discover about yourself. Sometimes you may not like what you discover, but that means you have an opportunity to change. But, most of the time, you’ll discover really amazing aspects of yourself you never knew existed.

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IT STILL SOUNDS SO HARD. I FEEL LIKE I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO BEGIN! HOW AM I EVER GOING TO START?

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Yes, I know that feeling. I’ve been there myself! That’s why I named my site Small Change Life Coaching. I’m here to help you break down what feels overwhelming into smaller (and smaller) steps and goals so you can start generating momentum. Smaller goals, as you head towards big ones, help to dissolve that sense of helplessness and even hopelessness you may have about where to begin.

My aim, therefore, is to help you sort out where you want and need to begin with as much support as possible.

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I’M LIKE THE PEOPLE YOU DESCRIBE ABOVE. I’M ACTUALLY PRETTY HAPPY WITH MY LIFE. I BASICALLY JUST WANT MORE, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS. WON’T YOU JUST BE TELLING ME THINGS I ALREADY KNOW?

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Possibly, yes. But it’s all about perspective and framing. And even getting some reminders about concepts that may be lying dormant or forgotten.

I’ve taken personal growth courses and read lots of books on the subject, and they all have information I already “know.” What I mean by using the quotes is that while I conceptually know something, and may even be putting it into practice. But there’s always a new layer to understanding. Getting it on a fundamentally deep(er) level. Or how to apply the concept to an aspect of my life that I’ve been struggling with. I’m continually finding new mirrors to reflect back o me areas I can improve, or, simply, new ways of improving them—or simply fresh takes on old ways.

So even if, overall, you’ve got a strong level of contentment in your life and an equally-strong foundation of skills to do so, a coach can help you both reinforce it as well as build upon it. It’s also helpful to have a new objectivity. Because we’re living our lives every moment of every day, it’s challenging to create a new perspective. A coach can help you create exactly that so you can discover what you want to expand.

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WHAT ELSE SHOULD I CONSIDER ABOUT COACHING?

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Some of what to look for I go over here, but I wrote a post about what to look for in a therapist and/or a coach where I expand upon what you should consider.

 

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WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT MY PERSONAL TAKE ON HOW I APPROACH COACHING? VISIT MY COACHING SERVICES PAGE.

HOW CAN I HELP YOU? CONTACT ME!

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Have a big goal that feels out of reach? Ready to jump in and start making those small, but lifelong, changes you want?

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