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Life Coaching—Process & Relationship

I do not package up solutions to your challenges and hand them to you on a platter; nor do I persuade you that a one-size-fits-all prescription is just what you need to find happiness. Instead, I understand that the path you are seeking is already structured within you and I work with you to enliven your awareness of that path.

I also have the tools to help you overcome various learned behavioral scripts that create resistance to changing direction and to moving forward—some of these are as simple as a misunderstanding of your own potential, others are conditioned reflexes that may have their roots deeply embedded in your psyche. One of my current clients summed up her experience with my life coaching process by saying "I never imagined that I could find such happiness at this stage in my life!"

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Understanding the life coaching process and the relationship between you and your life coach is important. Roll your cursor over the boxes to the left and read about the coaching process, what you should expect from me, and what I expect from you.

If you want to read about the distinction between life coaches and other helping professionals, roll your mouse over the fourth box for a summary (admittedly oversimplified) description of several types of helping professionals.

What is the Life Coaching Process?

Life coaches typically work with you by telephone, not face-to-face. There is an important reason for this approach. We avoid being overshadowed by the persona you project to the people in your daily life—your family, friends, colleagues, and so forth; instead we work with your deeper self because that is where your real potential resides and where the answers to your most important questions dwell.

The best life coaches have learned to place their attention on you through the medium of your voice, without being distracted by your appearance or your presence, and uncover all they need to know to help you. It's a gift that great life coaches possess; combining this gift with the skills necessary to help you shift your energy from negative to positive, backed up by the insights of life's experiences, provides the ingredients that allow you to make meaningful and even profound changes in your life. Remember, its about you, not about your coach!

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We will typically schedule one 50-minute call each week (the first couple of calls sometimes run longer as you seek to define your objectives). You should plan to make a 12-week commitment to the life coaching process—even though you will experinece immediate results, this is typically the period needed to see long-term, lasting results.

The word "commitment" is very important; if you do not plan to commit significant time and effort between calls to following through with your agreed to assignments, then you should not bother with life coaching—you'll just be wasting your investment. Of course life gets in the way occasionally, but if you expect to do the same things over and over and achieve different results you will be disappointed.

What is the coach's reltionship with you?

The following principles define the life coach-client relationship; these are important and inviolable:

  • I will hold everything you say in the strictest confidence (to the extent allowed by law); I will not even disclose the fact that you have engaged in life coaching without your permission.
  • I will not judge you, pander you or lie to you. I will not say or do anything to you that is not in accord with your best interest as you define it. If I conclude that you need to resolve an issue with a different kind of professional before you can move forward, I will tell you so promptly, suspend our life coaching agreement and refund any pre-paid fees while you seek help.
  • I will not pry into the details of your life without your permission—if I become aware of a resistance mechanism at work, I will explore it only to the degree that you are comfortable. Life coaching is about moving forward not dwelling on or resolving the choices you made in the past.
  • I do not have a dog in your race. My only interest is in helping you achieve all that you want to achieve and in helping you experience the fulfillment you seek.
  • I do not seek credit for your achievements—all credit for whatever happens is yours. You will be the one who creates the changes and reaps the benefits of your successes.
  • I expect to be paid promptly without hassle. Prompt payment is a symbol of your respect—without mutual respect the life coaching relationship collapses.
  • What is your relationship with your coach?

    Life coaching is about you, not about your coach. For you to get a return on your investment you should commit to these principles:

  • Be present in the moment. During your calls, be in a quiet place without distractions. Do not take a call on a cell phone while driving—that would place your life in danger.
  • Avoid being under the influence. If you are on any recreational drug or alcohol during the calls you will only cheat yourself of the full benefit of the experience.
  • Be honest and forthright with me. I will not be judgmental; do not work to impress me or gain my approval. I can help you most when your are authentic.
  • Be clear about your expectations. My experience has shown that expectations often shift as the process evolves but you need to know where you are when you start.
  • I will not make assignments without your permission. Once you agree to an assignment, stick to it. It is the progress between calls that is critical to your success.
  • Decide how you want to be treated. I will ask you how you would like to be treated if you miss an assignment or relapse back to old habits. Give this a lot of thought before your first call—you want the coaching experience to be comfortable yet constructive.
  • Stick with your appointed date and time. Be on time. I have many appointments and am committing time to you; the same commitment from your side is an indication to you that you are serious about getting the full benefit of the process.
  • Disclose if you are under the care of another professional. I can work with you at the same time but I need to know about the other professional and the other professional needs to know about me, otherwise both processes may suffer.
  • How do coaches differ from other helping professionals?

    All helping professionals provide benefit for their clients but each has a distinctly different purpose. The following descriptions, admittedly oversimplified, will show the difference between life coaching and other traditional helping practices.

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  • Psychologists help patients with mental disorders. They often focus considerable attention on revisiting events and relationships from the past. If medication is necessary, they turn to psychiatrists (MDs) for prescription medicines. Most psychologists function from the level of thinking—that is why they call it "analysis."
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  • Consultants are expected to "know" the answers. They are compensated for their expertise in specific issues. Consultants also function from the level of thinking.
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  • Mentors use themselves as a model for the answers. "Do what I did and you will become successful like me." Mentors function from the level of ego.
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  • Life coaches assume that their clients already have most of the answers. They help them uncover them. They also identify blockages and help their clients neutralize them. Life coaches focus on the present and future.