Life coaching is often seen to be a taboo subject, but gaining an understanding of the benefits could change your life. Here Cornelia Lucey talks us through the process and why it could make a difference to your career and personal life.
What do Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa and Serena Williams have in common? How about Hugh Jackman, Cherie Blair, Lorraine Kelly and Leonardo DiCaprio? They have all had coaching once, or more than once, during their lives. The list of famous, capable people who have reached out for coaching could go on. And it’s not just for the famous, so why don’t we talk about coaching more? We need to talk about it because the art of coaching transforms lives for the better. While it might not do so overnight, and it involves hard work and soul-searching on the part of the coachee, its beneficial effects can last a lifetime.
Through my Education and Consultancy work I have been coaching professionals and senior leaders for almost 10 years in different forms. But it wasn’t until five years ago, aged 28, that I got involved in being coached myself. I was at a pivotal crossroad in my life and I needed non-judgemental and solutions-focused support. Over a period of time, coaching helped me address some pretty shoddy learnt behaviours and turn them around for the better. Coaching helped me focus; care about myself more; and increase my performance at work and at play. It helped me move to the next level with my career and relationships. We all have bad days, but I have a lot fewer now and a lot more great days; and that’s thanks to coaching.
Curious about coaching’s benefits, I went back to University this year part time to study a Masters of Science in the psychology of coaching and its evidence-base. While I knew it worked, the evidence- base that supports its practice is unanimous.
I have seen how thousands of scientific studies show that coaching can have the following benefits:
Whatever your goal, coaching helps guide you to know how your optimum thoughts, behaviours and actions will help you to perform your best on any personal or professional goal.
Who does coaching benefit most? Evidence shows that coaching benefits most those who are ‘incongruent’ so translated into plain speak that is those who have something on their mind that they can’t quite figure out how to address or solve. It might be something you are conscious or unconscious of. It is usually a goal that you would like to work towards but maybe don’t know where to start or want more support with getting an action plan in place to help you move forward such as a change in career, or understanding how you can feel happier. So if you’re completely congruent or sorted and you’ve got your perfect life (lucky you!) then coaching probably isn’t for you. Yet.
And how does it work? Different coaches take different approaches, yet all will have their own way of working. They will use similar skills (such as listening, summarising and questioning) and will use particular models to guide you such as Solutions-Focused, Cognitive Behaviour Coaching, and Positive psychology.
In terms of approach, I personally draw from all methods based on the topic the coachee brings. I generally use a mix of positive psychology and solutions-focus techniques. I initially zoom in on what the client wants to achieve over the short-term and long term. I find out what their strengths are, then over a six-week period or longer we map the goal out and get to working on their goal together. The coachee brings the content and I bring the process. I am always impressed by how much coachees achieve in a small space of time.
With all these benefits of coaching, I am currently on a mission to help people understand more about coaching and how they can access it. I mainly work with women aged 25 – 45; I feel it’s at these years we go through some of our biggest challenges and not carefully mastered these challenges can take longer that they need to. I also work with many men of a similar age, and the millennial generation who have a goal they want support with.
If you would like coaching or are interested in talking more about coaching and its benefits, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words by Cornelia Lucey.
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