By Sue Schleifer, MA, PCC
Do You Need a Life Coach?
Actually no, you don’t need one. However, you may want one at certain times in your life. Just like you might hire a tennis coach when you want to work on your backhand, a life coach might be the right resource to jumpstart your career or life.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is a partnership that helps you assess where you are now in your life and where you want to be. Your coach will support and challenge you and be your sounding board so that you may create a fulfilling life.
Are you at a turning point? Perhaps you desire new challenges or direction in your work; you want to enhance your leadership skills; you would like to communicate more effectively. You want encouragement and tools to pursue a dream, to make a change, or to stimulate your creativity. At these times, having a life coach working with you in mutual respect and trust can empower you to move forward.
It is important to find a coach with whom you feel simpatico and who has training as a coach. The International Coach Federation is an excellent resource for information on the field of coaching and a list of questions to ask a potential coach. The ICF Gulf Coast Chapter is comprised of coaches from Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida. The website includes a Find A Coach feature so that you may choose a local, credentialed coach.
When to consider working with a coach
- You feel stuck, confused or overwhelmed
- You yearn for a sense of peace, calm and energy
- You feel like you are caught on a hamster wheel
- You believe that you can be more effective in your work
- You want to explore a new career, navigate a career transition or plan for retirement
- You want to communicate more effectively with your family and at work
Benefits you might derive from coaching include
- Think and work more strategically
- Create more balance in life
- Focus on what is most important
- Thrive in a new position or role
- Find greater meaning in life and work
- Build strong relationships
- Discover how your thought patterns may contribute to stress
In a July 2015 Huffington Post article, Prema Srinavasan writes that “the No. 1 reason to hire a life coach is to develop a better relationship with your loved ones.” And who wouldn’t want better relationships with loved ones? This happens as a function of investigating one’s life from many angles. Your coach will ask you questions that encourage you to look at your communication and your ways of thinking and being so that you gain understanding, new tools, and appreciation for yourself and others. You will find that when you make a small change in one area of your life, it will open up new possibilities for you in other areas. Often you will feel a greater sense of clarity and happiness. With all these benefits, who wouldn’t want to work with a life coach?
The International Coach Federation’s website says, “Professional coaching brings many wonderful benefits: fresh perspectives on personal challenges, enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence. And, the list does not end there. Those who undertake coaching also can expect appreciable improvement in productivity, satisfaction with life and work, and the attainment of relevant goals.”