Sink or swim

My husband has recently surprised me by sending me an email entitled: “The ramblings of a husband". And it was not an email about dinner arrangements. This email was all about his own perspective on life coaching, on how the lack of understanding of the benefits of coaching can be a barrier and how everyone would benefit from jumping over this barrier and change their life. He does not actively use social media and has written this article for me to share on mine.

"Let me begin by stating that I am not a life coach. I am, however, married to one and as such have a different perspective on what it is like to be a life coach.

Everything you read here is written from the perspective of an observer, a member of the audience if you like, but one that does have a very good seat.

Now if you had asked me what I thought was the hardest thing about being a life coach several years ago, I would have hazarded a guess that it would be the training required. The hours of work needed to learn how to talk to people, how to understand each unique problem, and more importantly how to identify a resolution and talk a client through that solution to achieve the desired results. 

This seems like a logical answer to the question. People cannot simply become a life coach overnight. Developing the ability to sit down and talk somebody through their problem and resolve it surely requires skill, training and experience which amounts to many hours of course work and hands on exercises. And this is true. I know that my wife has put in what seems like endless hours of seminars, conferences, reading books on coaching principles and gaining experience by coaching people.  What I have come to realise, however, is that, as intensive and challenging as that training is, this is not the hardest part of being a life coach. There is a far greater obstacle that any life coach has to overcome.

I believe that the hardest thing about being a life coach is making people understand not only what a life coach is but how a life coach can help them change their lives in ways they did not think possible.

It is not uncommon to be sceptical about things that you do not fully understand. Combine this with the fact that the problems people experience in their life are non-trivial. Nobody has a problem that they can easily resolve themselves otherwise they would do so and it would cease to be a problem. If a problem is therefore not trivial, how can simply talking about it help? It is almost as though people do not want to believe that coaching will work because to them the problem is huge and talking to somebody is not a sophisticated enough solution.

Many other jobs do not have this problem. As a dentist, you will also go through intensive training to qualify in the profession but on the whole, you do not then need to convince people (especially if they have a toothache) that they need your service. 

Of course, the ability to make things better by talking about them is not a new concept. Making people understand that coaching takes this to a new level is where the real challenge lies.

The tangible benefits of coaching are not always immediately obvious. You may think that life coaching is all about helping you to feel better. But there is more to life coaching than this - you can achieve deeply impactful changes in your relationships, in your career, coaching can help you reduce stress, become more healthy, achieve your goals to name just a few. Being married to a life coach has certainly changed my life for the better. 

When faced with a problem, you either sink or you swim. The job of a life coach is to offer people a floatation aid. As soon as you feel yourself sinking, don't start flapping your arms in desperation but reach out and grab a float.

They say “a problem shared is a problem halved” but what they should say is “a problem coached ceases to be a problem at all”.

If you would like to find out how you can swim through life effortlessly, let's have a chat.