How to Choose a Life Coach that’s right for you

27 Jul 2020

Life coaching has been an emerging and growing practice for personal, professional and leadership development both privately and within organizations for several years. More and more individuals and organizations are beginning to use coaching to improve and grow themselves and their businesses. Coaches are also becoming increasingly skilled in multiple areas and can help with a variety of issues. Whether dealing with negative beliefs, low self-esteem, a remedial situation, performance, the development of individuals being groomed for significant increases in their responsibility and more senior leadership positions, to starting up a business the list is almost endless, having the right coach is the investment in yourself that will help you achieve what you truly want.

My intention is to help you select a professional coach that is best suited to you and/or your company in order for you to achieve what you truly want.

Integrative Coaching provides the highest level of coaching to support you as you face challenges created by continuous change.

Background to Life Coaching

The first thing you should consider is the growing trend of life coaches around the world. There are new life coach trainers and coaches emerging by the week. This could lead you to consider certain questions such as training, qualification, experience and style of the coach and maybe also consider “why is the industry of life coaching expanding so quickly?”

The research we’ve done shows that there is a gap in our social and educational systems regarding self-awareness. These current systems of learning, whether formal or non-formal, focus almost exclusively on the accumulation of knowledge and theories, with almost no exploration of the individual and their awareness. Albert Einstein said, “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.” From a preliminary study, this is the reason why life coaches have emerged to help you “mind” the gap, whether the coaches themselves are aware of this or not.

You will come across coaches that will do goal setting with you, and help you make a plan to get to that goal and that’s all. But there is a problem with this approach as there are with many rudimentary coaching models. They don’t take into consideration the immense resource and power of YOU and your entire unconscious mind. Factors such as the natural evolution of consciousness are crucial for a holistic understanding.

If you want something different you will need to make different choices. So if you want to view different scenery to need to choose a different path. This would be easy if all the elements to making a decision where solely conscious.  The reason for making a different decision or choosing a different path is so challenging is that not all aspects of why we choose what we do are conscious. In fact, most of them are unconscious. Therefore in order to make a real change — one that is sustainable — we must bring awareness to those aspects that are unconscious, or not within our current awareness. “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” Abraham Maslow

Your decision to look for a life coach is basically because you want something different from what you currently have. Awareness precedes change. Eric Hoffer says that “to become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are.”

So if your life coach isn’t about expanding your Self-Awareness, that coaching will only have a small impact on your life, if any at all.

This means that your coach is there to help you become aware of things that you might have not been aware of and might not even have considered.

“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself.” Galileo Galilei

What is Life Coaching

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.”  Albert Einstein

Coaching, Consulting, Mentoring, Therapy, and Training are the most commonly used tools for improving an individual’s performance, but in reality, these areas often overlap and require a more integrative approach for success. Coaching will help individuals uncover problems at their root cause, unconscious conflicting intentions, what they truly want and value, and how willing they are to explore change.

Your coach should be able to support in:

  • Personal transformation
  • Stress management
  • Leadership and development
  • Change management
  • Creating a culture of learning, coaching and continual growth
  • Self-discovery and personal growth

Key Elements of Life Coaching:

  • Confidentiality is critical.
  • Coaching relationship is voluntary – the client has to want coaching.
  • Coaching often uncovers introspective issues and needs of the client, which manifest in observable behaviour.
  • Non-judgement helps the client make discoveries and assessments themselves, which helps change to happen at an organic and biological level and not purely on a conscious level.

Are you ready for Life Coaching?

This is crucial to the success of your coaching experience. You might not be suitable for coaching. You will know that you are ready if you are willing to declare the following:

  • I am interested in coaching for myself and I am ready to commit the time, money, and energy to my personal growth.
  • I want to be completely open and honest with my coach.
  • I am willing to be honest with my coach and open to their assistance.
  • I am willing to do what it takes (within reason) to make the changes for my betterment.

Selecting a Life Coach

Coaching is a collaborative partnership between the coach and the individual. Selecting a life coach that is right for you is a subjective decision. It is important that you are choosing the process and you are not doing this for your partner, spouse, boss or someone else. This decision must be about you and for you. If you are supported by your family or business in this matter that can also be helpful. Your coach must also determine if the individual is a suitable candidate for their coaching.

Consider these things when determining your coach:

  • Experience in the area of development you seek.
  • Approach to coaching – consider techniques/approaches; in person, online or phone; flexibility on meeting format.
  • Values – confidentiality, ethics, freedom from bias.
  • Interpersonal skills – listening, straightforwardness, rapport, trust, patience, warmth, compassion, humour.
  • Flexibility to work effectively with complex relationships.
  • Knowledge of learning styles and change dynamics.
  • Authenticity and credibility.

All these might not be apparent from the initial intro session and therefore might require several sessions to clarify and decide.

Can I trust my Life Coach

Trusting your coach is not a simple as saying yes or no. Trust is a process of relationship building. There is an initial trust that the individual must have in order to begin the process of coaching, otherwise, they wouldn’t even show up. The coaching relationship for the individual includes allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open.  To ensure that you remain receptive to feedback, new ideas, and learning the coach must maintain a psychologically safe and respectful environment.

The coaching relationship is sensitive and private and requires a high level of confidentiality. To maintain this relationship, all stakeholders must be clear in their presentation of issues, information, goals, activities, and ground rules for confidentiality. A breach of trust in the coaching relationship is extremely serious. This relationship requires the highest level of authenticity, integrity and honesty.

There is no such thing as ‘the perfect’ coaching experience. The process often uncovers unpredictable challenges and it is the responsibility of your coach to help you navigate them. The skill that the coach demonstrates during these times is part of the process of building deeper and deeper trust in the coaching relationship.

Duration of the Life Coaching Process

A successful coaching process should be seen as a supportive structure that serves the individual for their long-term development.  The duration of the coaching process varies from individual to individual, the idea is that the process of coaching is meant to continually support the individual to consistently grow and expand their awareness.

from Warren Munitz of Integrative Coaching

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