Six Things Your Life Coach Doesn't Want You To Know Self Help Articles | January 9
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There are many confusing and false messages bouncing around in cyberspace about life coaching. After coaching 600 people over the past 13 years, talking with dozens of coaches and surfing the websites of about 100 more, I'm sharing my take on what coaching is?and isn't. I'd like to say upfront that my intention is not to offend or denigrate. I'm simply stating my informed opinion, which is best taken with a grain of salt.
It's important to start with the fact that the field of coaching is unregulated. This means that anyone, without any formal training, can call themselves a life coach. And they can coach any way they please. So caveat emptor! The onus of choosing the coach who will serve you best is on you.
In my research
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, I've found that there are basically 2 kinds of life coaches, and the contrast is stark. There are coaches who say they'll hold you accountable and help you stay motivated until you achieve your goals. They tout their excellent listening and questioning skills as their core talents. In my admittedly unscientific survey, about 99% of the coaches I have met in person and online fall into this category.
In the other camp are coaches with excellent listening and questioning skills who say they'll help you develop new ways of thinking and behaving. These coaches have studied and developed specific techniques that you can learn, then apply to any issue for the rest of your life. The goal of this type of coaching is for you to master the skills, using them independently to attain your desires faster, more efficiently and more enjoyably.
In my opinion
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, coaching that goes on indefinitely, with you relying on the support of your coach to achieve goals (but not learning new skills) is codependency, not coaching. Intentionally or not, anyone who does this isn't a coach, they're a parasite. True life coaches have a set of strategies you can use to evolve yourself for the rest of your life. Beyond merely achieving goals, coaching is about your growth as a human being.
With that said
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, I do believe that all coaches have a genuine desire to assist. However, most coaches' training (if they have any) is, well, the nicest words I can think of are...incomplete and, in some instances, inappropriate.
With that background in place
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, let's peek behind the curtain at the biggest secrets in coaching.
Secret #1: Promising You Instant Results is Impossible
The Industrial and Information Ages have proliferated a plethora of gadgets, pills, books and videos that promise instant results. Not surprisingly, you?ve been programmed to expect that coaching will immediately make your life better.
Accordingly, many coaches feel strong pressure to fulfill this expectation by producing some kind of dramatic ?breakthrough? in every coaching session. The idea is that if the coach asks you the right deep questions, you'll have a brilliant flash of insight. There are two fallacies here. The first is in thinking that coaches ?do? something to their clients. In fact
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, it's up to the client to take the actions that will produce the results they're looking for.
Second, coaching is a process, not an event. While you may see some improvement in one session, life-altering, permanent improvements take time, repeated focus
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, and learning new ways to do things differently. Of course, major shifts can happen, but both you and your coach will put unnecessary pressure on yourselves by trying to force you to make a huge change you don't need or aren't ready for.
Sure, questioning is a major part of coaching. But the role of questions isn't to sledge hammer you into a dramatic breakthrough. Questions are one tool used to guide you in your process of gaining incrementally deeper self-knowledge. The goal of coaching isn't to rush to get it done, it's to help you learn as much as you can.
The processes of learning and making internal shifts in thinking is as unique as fingerprints and as unknowable as the depths of the ocean. It takes whatever time you need. Even with the biggest crystal ball in the world, no coach can promise a specific result by a certain date.
Any coach who tells you that you'll achieve a certain level in 1
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,3, or 10 coaching sessions is ignoring your individuality and your responsibility for your own growth. This is inconsistent with the basic philosophy of coaching.
Secret #2: Personality Tests are Worthless for Choosing Your Career The widely accepted myth of personality is that, by adulthood, it?s set in stone. But in 100 years of intense study, psychologists can?t even agree on the definition of personality, much less the limits of its development.
Two popular personality tests that life and career coaches use are the Myers-Briggs and the DISC. Their thinking is that you should choose a career that matches your personality (shaky ground indeed).
The purported benefit of this strategy is to narrow the overwhelming field of career choices. To alleviate your suffering
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, the coach squeezes you into one of a handful of boxes, then hands you a relatively short list of careers that some undefined percentage of those with your personality type could be ?successful? in.
Never mind that these tests have no scientific validity. Meaning, you could take the same test on two different days and get two very different results. On top of that, these tests compare you to arbitrary norms (which are gender, ethnicity and culturally biased), ignoring your individuality and your context.
The icing on the cake is that since studies have shown that the Myers-B .
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