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Even the most famous people on earth can face the same kind of challenges as we face while going about our lives. They also feel a spur of emotions and might be overwhelmed by their situation rendering them unable to continue on the right track of life.
Here are some of the most famous and inspirational stories of celebrities going to life coaches for help and assistance.
A lot of life coaches have graced Oprah’s show and she has given a chance to many people to lead better lives. We all know how strong of a woman she herself is and how her life is a lesson for everyone to strive for the best things in life. She attributes a part of her success to her life coach, Martha Beck, and has been a serious advocate of life coaching for a long period of time.
Martha helps people in achieving their goals and we have seen Oprah reach greater heights after coming under her consultation.
Metallica the Band
For the people growing up in the 90s, Metallica was a great fascination and attracted the respect of millions of fans. However, the band had occasional feuds and it was becoming hard for the members to continue as a single unit.
In the documentary “Some Kind of Monster”, it is finally revealed that the members came to peace because of the efforts and sessions conducted by Phil Towel. He is a therapist and a performance enhancement coach who helped the band in staying together for more than a decade.
DiCaprio has been around for quite a while and had only a few big movies to his credit. Despite being a good actor, he wasn’t able to give compelling performances and still lacked the spark to earn him good roles.
By coming under the supervision of Tony Robbins, he was able to polish his skills and work on his strengths. Since then, he has bagged some of the most memorable roles of his career and has given some stellar performances. He finally received his long-awaited Oscar for showcasing his amazing acting skills in “The Revenant”. Thus, Robbins showed him the way to focus on his strengths and utilize them in the best way to achieve success.
Just like the DiCaprio, Tony Robbins (affiliate) has also inspired the tennis sensation Serena Williams to enhance her performance on the court. Williams reveals that it was becoming difficult for her to up her game as she suffered different injuries.
Robbins helped her in developing persistence and trained her body to resist the pressure of the injury and ensure peak performance. He ignited the sportsperson in her and enabled her to shift her focus from her weakness/injuries to giving a strong performance despite adverse circumstances. She went on to win a Grand Slam and is undoubtedly, the leading female tennis player in the entire world.
Federer started out as an aggressive player who was famous for slamming rackets on the court. Though he had potential, it was overshadowed because of his anger which didn’t let him perform to his true capabilities. It was his coach, Peter Carter, who realized that the best way to improve Federer’s performance is to bring a change in his personality.
Apart from training him for the sport, he also started working on his personality and helped him in consuming his aggression. Unfortunately, he died in a car crash and couldn’t live up to see the immense success which Roger enjoyed later. Still, Roger identifies him as the truest source of inspiration and the reason behind the change in his attitude and personality.
When Richard Branson expressed his desire of running an airline, no one took him seriously. It was his coach and mentor, Sir Freddie Laker, who helped him in achieving the goal and then living it to the fullest.
Branson was even unable to comprehend the challenges which he faced in his business. It was his coach who made him realize the problems and helped him in resolving them. It is wondrous how Laker helped and motivated him to form one of the most successful airlines in the world, Virgin Atlantic.
Let’s start with the problem:
You get back from work. You’re tired. It was a long day. You know there’re things you could do, to get out of the rut you’re in.
But, let’s be honest. You really would rather relax, sit down and chill for a bit. Grab a snack. Watch your favourite show.
By the time you’ve done that, the day’s over. There’s just not enough time. To make this worse – you don’t have the energy or willpower to make changes in your life today.
So where do you go from there?
What you need are some easy to apply actions that are proven to work.
This article is going to give you 4 steps on how to make changes in life so you can follow today and get closer to success – even when you are feeling tired and lazy.
These steps have proven to work for me, and many of the coaching clients I work with privately.
1. Squash Inconsistency by Giving up Motivation
Now most people, when they want to make changes to their lives, focus on making lengthy to-do lists and plans. They think over and over again about what is going wrong, what is going well and what they want, etc.
All in a bid to push themselves to getting more motivated.
Guess what? This isn’t going to work.
Willpower and motivation are feelings. Feelings are vague and unreliable.
Instead, what you should do is focus on putting your flawed unpredictable self in the best possible environments.
If you do one thing first from this list, it’s THIS:
Find and go to the best possible environment for the area of your life you want to change.
- If you want to get fit, make your first goal to show up at the gym three times a week.
- If you want to find a new relationship, show up to a meet up in your city for single people.
- If you want to be productive and make your business idea work, don’t work at home, go to a co working space nearby.
The reason people fail to become the best version of themselves is because they underestimate the power of environments to influence behavior.
Accept that you are flawed, prone to distractions and your motivation and willpower will fail you.
The best hack at your disposal? Show up to “change inducing” environments and get out of your comfort zone (physically)!
OK. Next step.
2. Recruit an Elite Team to Help You (For Free)
Send this message to one person you already know and trust that they can help you make changes to your life:
“Hey [first name]. Can I be really frank and honest with you? I’m having one of those – ‘OMG I NEED TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY LIFE!’ moments.
And I was browsing the internet, looking for tips and this article I came across suggested accountability. So here I am, messaging you to be part of my accountability system.
My ask is simple.
Can we sit together once a week at [x place] but do absolutely no socializing? I’ll buy the [coffee/food] and it will be a space to force me to do [x thing]. You literally have to do nothing other than eat the free coffee/food I pay for lol. But it will keep my accountability high, which is what I need.
What you reckon? Can you help? Thanks!”
Now obviously, change the language to suit you but you get the idea.
Not only are you going to environments that will help you make changes, but by bringing a friend (or two), you make it even likelier that you will succeed. It doesn’t even have to be in person, it could be a video call.
People fail to make changes to their lives because they try to do it all themselves.
It doesn’t really work in long term, and it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can recruit and “enlist” people to help you. By doing this, you’re taking care of the up and down motivation you have.
Not only are people happy to help, when they see this type of behavior, they’re also inspired and motivated to change their lives. Pretty soon, you end up creating change in not just your life, but other people’s too.
3. Build Good Habits That Last
Changing your life means changing your day to day habits.
Habits are automated behaviors you do everyday, like how a clock works, without thinking or motivating yourself to do them.
Some habits help you to change, others can stop you. One of the best ways to replace your ‘bad’ habits with good ones is to treat them like old clothes. What happens when your t-shirt gets old, faded and out of fashion? You replace it with something new and improved.
Do the same thing with your habits – upgrade and replace them with something better. Start small, then slowly graduate to higher levels of difficulty.
Let me give you a clear example of what I mean:
A few years ago (before it became mainstream), I was trying to start my own habit of meditating every single day to help boost my productivity and mindfulness. I’d done a mind blowing course called Vipassana. It involved 10 days of deeply powerful meditation combined with noble silence in a remote part of the UK.
Now it was easy to do when I was there (#1 – environment!) with all those other meditators (#2 – people helping me). All I could do was meditate. There were ZERO distractions. I had NO CHOICE.
When I got home however, after a few days of sticking with it, I quickly caved.
Those extra 30 minutes of sleep were just so much easier than waking up everyday at 4am for a long one hour meditation.
So what did I do to build this really important habit?
Like with most things, I wanted to make changes to my life. I wanted to become my best self.
I knew how important it was. I just couldn’t follow through consistently and kept failing over and over.
Then, it hit me.
I needed to start small. I made a tiny change, that made all the difference.
I made a tiny change, that I could stick to – without fail – that has me meditating daily every single day now.
What was it?
Instead of trying to do something BIG inconsistently (1 hour of 4am morning meditation) and failing again and again. I decided to do something small consistently.
Building any good habit really just comes down to repetition. The way the brain is built works in favour of this.
My new habit became:
When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will sit cross legged for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.
Eventually, once I did this consistently for a few months. I increased difficulty.
When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will meditate for 10 minutes.
Why does this work?
What’s important here is that the behavior you want (meditating) is tied to another consistent habit (folding your bedding).
I attached my new habit to one that already is consistent.
Making it more likely to happen.
Secondly, I aimed for consistency, not perfection. This is where a lot of people fail. They have an idea of the change they want, but things become all or nothing.
When you do this, you fail to realize the power of consistency. The brain you have loves patterns. In this case, I trained my brain to repeat a set pattern every morning when I fold my bed.
There was no motivation or willpower required.
This training has gone so far now that if I miss a day of meditating, I really feel uncomfortable. I’m just as conditioned to meditate as most people are to checking their phones in the morning.
4. Create More Time by Limiting Your Social Media Usage
You know the best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity and it took me 30 seconds to do?
I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked them on my laptop.
Then, to reinforce it, I told all my friends and followers on Facebook (my most used platform) I wasn’t using it for a while.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with my social media. Social media is a tool. Tools are neutral. It’s how we use them that is “productive” or “distracting”.
We each have to judge how healthy our usage is, especially when weighed against unlocking our best self. That said, for most people reading this, including me, I think limiting our usage is a very favorable advantage.
One of the best ways to make changes in our lives is not to add new tools or tricks. But simply remove things that distract us.
Social media is something I use heavily for my businesses. Technically I’m a “social media influencer” and “YouTuber”. I need to be posting constantly, right?
Our situations are unique, so I came up with a unique solution for this. After deleting and blocking these apps from my devices, I installed a social media management software that still allows me to post my updates.
The big difference, however, is I cannot spend any time scrolling and being distracted.
Change is not always about more. Sometimes it’s about doing less and getting rid of what distracts or blocks you.
Trying to do things by yourself is a good way to fail. Share your goals and pitfalls with people, no one helps until you ask.
Start with small changes consistently instead of big changes failed at consistently. The momentum will give you results over time.
So what to do next to make changes in your life?
- Write down where you are going to GO to create the changes you want.
- Message 3 to 4 people on social media and ask them to help you using the message template I gave you.
- Choose one small habit to get started with immediately and upgrade it over time.
- Delete all, or at least most social media apps on your devices, and notify people you are leaving to make it stick.
Written by Keshav Bhatt
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” ~Karen Kaiser Clark
Life can be a persistent teacher.
When we fail to learn life’s lessons the first time around, life has a way of repeating them to foster understanding.
Over the last few years, my life was shaken up by dramatic circumstances. I resisted the impermanence of these events in my life and struggled with embracing change. When I resisted the lessons that change brought, a roller coaster of changes continued to materialize.
When I was seventeen years old, my immigrant parents’ small import-export business failed. From a comfortable life in Northern California, they uprooted themselves and my two younger brothers and moved back to Asia.
The move was sudden and unexpected, catching us all by surprise. I was in my last months of high school, so I remained in California with a family friend to finish my degree.
I spent the summer abroad with my family and then relocated to Southern California to start college upon my return. Alone in a new environment, I found myself without many friends or family members close by.
Life was moving much faster than I was able to handle, and I was shell-shocked by my family’s sudden move, my new surroundings, and college. Their relocation and college brought dramatic changes, along with fear, loneliness, and anxiety.
I felt overwhelmed by my new university campus and its vastness; alone, even though I sat in classes of 300 students; and challenged by the responsibilities of independence and adulthood.
Everything I had known had changed in a very short period of time. I tried to cope the best I could, but I resisted the changes by isolating myself even more from my new university and surroundings. It was the first and only time in my life I had contemplated suicide.
Several years after college, having achieved my career goals in the legal field, I started a legal services business. I helped immigrants, refugees, and people escaping persecution who’d come to the U.S. to navigate the hurdles to residency and citizenship.
I invested money, time, and my being into my law office. Not only was I preoccupied with the dire legal situations of my clients, but I also confronted the ups and downs of running a business.
Starting and running a new company is not easy, and mine was losing more money every month. While I found the nearly three-year venture immensely gratifying because of the lives I was able to help, it was time for me to move on.
It was a difficult decision, because I thought I’d found my career path. My life became engulfed with changes once again as I tried to close the doors to my office, close my clients’ cases, pay off my debt, and seek employment.
In between university and my business venture, I married a beautiful, gifted girl in India after an international romance. We were married for ten years and endured many of life’s personal and professional ups and downs together. Despite our problems, we both struggled to keep our marriage together.
When the tears dried, the counseling sessions did more harm than good, and our communication ended, we separated and then divorced last year. The ending of our marriage felt like the shattering of an exquisite glass vase into a million pieces.
I met the closure of our marriage first with strong resistance and then with profound sadness and loss. How could something that I valued so much and believed to be forever, cease to exist?
As much as I fought back and resisted each of these events in my life, I’ve since learned to embrace the impermanency of my life and the changes that come my way.
Here are six lessons life has taught me on embracing change:
1. Reduce expectations.
I had high expectations for my family, my business, and my marriage. I had expected each to remain constant and to last forever. But I’ve learned that nothing lasts forever. Nothing.
You can have reasonable expectations of how you’d like something to turn out, but you can’t marry yourself to that result. Reducing or having no expectations about a relationship, business, or situation can help you accept whatever may come from it.
When you set reasonable expectations and don’t expect or demand a particular outcome, you’re better able to manage any changes that do come your way. Unreasonable expectations of life, however, will likely be met with loss, disappointment, and pain.
2. Acknowledge change.
For the longest time, I refused to believe that change was in the realm of possibility. I’ve since learned that change can happen quickly and at any point.
Be aware that change can happen in your life. This means understanding that things can and will be different from how they are now. Acknowledging change is allowing it to happen when it unfolds instead of approaching change from a place of denial and resistance.
3. Accept change.
I desperately tried to prevent and stop change from happening in my business and marriage by trying to forge ahead even in futile situations.
Instead of resisting, allow change to unfold and try to understand what’s transforming and why.
Circumstances will not turn out the way you want them to, and that’s perfectly all right. Embracing the situation can help you deal with the change effectively, make the necessary shifts in your life to embrace the change, and help you move forward after the event.
4. Learn from the experience.
If you accept and embrace change, you will start looking for and finding lessons in it.
When dramatic changes were happening in my life, I refused to acknowledge them at first, so change left me distraught and without meaning. Once I reflected back and finally accepted the changes, the lessons I started absorbing were profound.
Change becomes your greatest teacher, but only if you give yourself permission to learn from it.
5. Recognize you’re growing stronger.
When you accept, embrace, and learn from change, you inevitably grow stronger. The ability to continuously accept change allows you to become as solid as a rock in the midst of violent storms all around you, even if you feel afraid.
6. Embrace the wisdom.
The more I permitted change and impermanence in my life, the more I grew as a person. Embracing change has brought newfound strength into my life and surprisingly, more inner peace.
When you proactively embrace change and learn to accept it as a part of life, you are filled with more calmness, peace, and courage. When life fails to shake you up with its twists and turns, you realize that changes can’t break you.
You’ve reached a level of understanding in life that some might even call wisdom.
While by no means have I reached that place, I’m working through my aversions to change. I now openly welcome and embrace it.
When we can accept change, learn from it, and become all the better for experiencing it, change is no longer our enemy. It becomes our teacher.
Written by Vishu Tiny Buddha
This year’s National Work-Life Week, five industry experts discuss how post-covid work-life balance is shaping up for businesses across the country.
A clearer definition of ‘flexible’ working
Working from home, hybrid working, remote working, the 4-day working week; these are all terms which organisations have typically grouped into an overarching term, ‘flexible’ working, but they do not mean the same thing. “Organisations need to take the time to fully understand what flexible working really means to their employees and take action accordingly to facilitate their needs”, explains Elisa Nardi, a career development expert and CEO of Notebook Mentor.
“Flexible working gives employees the control to plan their own working schedule. If starting work an hour earlier and finishing an hour earlier means that they can spend their down-time doing more of what they love, then organisations need to consider being open-minded in allowing this,” explains Elisa.
Cross-sector career switchers
Leadership and development coach Margo Manning, author of The Step-Up Mindset for Senior Managers believes that there will be a surge in career switchers as people realise the importance of following their own wants, wishes, and ambitions above monetary incentives.
“Whilst money is a good driver, it is often not the main driver, it is a means to an end. Just chasing the big bucks can be demoralising. It can also be physically and mentally draining when the individual aspires to be the person others want them to be, instead of doing something entirely different,” explains Margo.
In a new work-life balance world, Margo says that people will value roles which they are passionate about and gain true enjoyment from. “These could be in entirely different industries, sectors, departments and even disciplines,” she says.
New perspectives on time
The past 18 months have made many people evaluate their priorities, values, and work/life balance. A recent poll of UK workers, conducted by EY as part of its 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey, found that 9 out of 10 employees want flexibility in where and when they work. The pandemic has paved the way for new ways of working, so it’s now up to leaders to meet this new demand for flexibility and conscious control of time.
“Time management is out of date. For businesses to thrive in the current climate they need to think about time in a more empowered way,” explains Carmel Moore, director of The One Moment Company and co-creator of The New Rules of Time masterclass.
“Internal shifts need to be made for external shifts to happen and to work. Leaders need to focus on designing the precise personal practices that will work for them, based on who they really are. These insights can then be applied at work, home, with teams and with organisations.
It’s now time to design, individually and together, the new rules of time. The businesses that adopt this and get it right will have a competitive advantage, as well as a happy, loyal and productive workforce, which is another competitive advantage” says Carmel.
A reset of personal boundaries
One of the benefits of remote working has been the ability, at least to some extent, to set and protect personal boundaries. “We were able to keep at a distance those intrusions which caused a drain on our time, brought unwelcome criticism or were just downright nosy,” explains organisational psychologists and co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training and Consultancy, Karen Meager and John McLachlan.
Being back face to face is, for some people at least, an opportunity to ask those more personal questions. They might think it’s all part of striking up a conversation or building a relationship but those on the receiving end are under no obligation to respond, even if they’re not overtly offensive. Karen and John believe that putting a boundary around one’s personal life or information, can be done effectively and without causing offence.
“Go for the direct deflection, don’t even start to answer. You could say ‘There are far more interesting things we could talk about! How are you finding the commute into work these days?’ It’s a fairly obvious rebuff but it’s effective.
If you feel the question is clearly too personal, you could say ‘Thank you for your interest, but I’d rather not discuss my personal life.’ Or, ‘When I have news to share, I’ll let you know’.
If someone wants to find out about your job or pay grade, you could deflect with humour, along the lines of ‘Trust me, not even close to what I’m worth!’ Or the more assertive ‘Don’t you think that’s a little personal?’
Times are changing, we are transitioning into a world that is no longer dominated by long working hours, corporate career prestige, and a life flaunted through materialism. The new era will likely see a greater proportion of workers looking to retire earlier than the expected age of 67, in some cases decades earlier.
“Flexibility, choice, and freedom are becoming the most treasured currency,” explains Logan Leckie, CEO of lifestyle & financial app, Topia, which helps Millennials to retire early.
“I have spoken to hundreds of working-age people pursuing FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early), Some plan to spend their days travelling the world, others transition from a high-stress job into a job they’re much more passionate about (albeit lower-paid, but who cares if you’re financially free!), or others opt to pack in work and devote their full time and attention to their family.”
“The key thing is the choice is theirs. They get to wake up every day and have the complete choice of what they want to do,” explains Logan.
Considering becoming a life coach? Wondering where the industry is headed next? One of the most common questions we hear is: “Once I’m trained, can I make a viable living in this industry?”
Short answer? Yes.
However, success as a life coach requires: focus, insight into your strengths, and clarity about who you intend to serve.
If you try to help everyone, you’ll inevitably get lost in the crowd. Discovering your niche is one of the defining elements behind building a successful coaching practice.
Here’s the thing: most new coaches will tell you that certification all by itself doesn’t automatically translate to a full roster of clients! Graduating from a reputable program such as The Professional Coach ICF ACTP is just the start.
To succeed as a coach, you’ll need to figure out what problems your ideal client wants to solve, and define how you are uniquely positioned to help them meet their goals. The most direct path to achieving this is by narrowing down to one or two specialties for your coaching practice.
Overcoming Crisis Fatigue
“Consumers are demanding mental wellness solutions geared towards addressing specific symptoms of modern society, as well as the divergent needs of those living through an era of collective crises.”
We know that burnout and exhaustion were already an epidemic before the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the World Health Organization officially classified “Burn Out” as an occupational phenomenon defined as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”Over the past year, the need for solutions has only grown more acute.
The invitation to wellness providers and coaches is to map out and modernize a new mental wellness ecosystem that provides different routes to entry, direct access to resources, and more relatable and attainable outcomes. In your work with individual clients, this will likely include supporting people through stress and fatigue, and – when ready – helping them shift out of survival mode and into a more expansive state.
Burnout and fatigue coaching skills can naturally weave through many of the coaching niches below, or stand alone as a coaching specialization in itself.
As COVID-19 wanes and the world begins to open back up, workplace wellness will take center stage as employees demand fair wages and working conditions, fair treatment, workplace well-being, and greater balance.
The way we work is also changing. The pandemic completely disrupted notions of how and why we work, as well as when and where. A shift towards collective consciousness, referred to as “Generation Woke” in some spheres, will continue through 2021 as consumers and workers lean into expectations for brand purpose.
Millennial and Gen Z are driving consumer behavior change towards personal responsibility and responsible consumption. This change signals that participation in social change will be expected through and with the brands and businesses.
Coaches can enter the workplace wellness space from either the individual or corporate angle.
With individual clients, we can support their efforts to find meaning and balance in their work and personal lives. Business coaches can partner with corporate and nonprofit organizations to offer wellness programs and employee coaching through company sponsored programs.
Not sure what coaching pathway to take?
Mindset and Accountability Coach
An accountability coach understands the value of “planning the work, then working the plan”. If you’re organized, know how to rock a task list, and are experienced in holding a team accountable to achieve exceptional results… mindset and accountability coaching could be your sweet spot. Mindset involves an understanding that our actions are influenced by emotions, which often stem from the thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world.
As a coach, it’s not so much about getting your client to develop the “right” mindset, as it is discovering along with your client what perspectives and beliefs best fit their lifestyle, values, and goals. Whether the client’s ambition is to run a marathon or launch a new business venture, your job is to make sure their goals, perspective, and habits are aligned.
Then it’s time to hold them accountable (with love!) as they take tangible action steps toward achieving a specific objective.
“What should I do with my life?” It’s a question that comes up at several points during the course of our careers, which for most people will span an average of 35-40 years. Gone are the days of settling into an entry level role, working up the ladder, and retiring from the same company after 40 years of service.
The average worker today will change jobs 12 times during the course of their career – which adds up to a lot of shifting and soul searching! Those just entering the workforce today are finding they need to carve their own path. And for people who aspire to work for themselves in the gig economy, there may not even be “a path to take”. Further down the road, mid career professionals are grappling with burnout and the desire to shift into something new, but aren’t sure how to make the transition.
The list of career decision points is vast, and most people will contend with this several times in their working lives. As a career coach, you can help clients find clarity and map their next steps through positive inquiry, strengths assessments, and other techniques. The desired outcome for these clients is forward momentum toward satisfying work that meets their interests, talents, values, and income goals.
We’re not just talking romantic relationships! In reality, this specialty covers the entire spectrum of human connection. As a relationship coach, your aim is to help clients develop healthier and more satisfying relationships of all kinds: couples, parents and their children (youth, or adults!), between co-workers, and among friends.
If you’re considering this niche, it’s a worthwhile choice because the hunger for more satisfying interpersonal relationships is only increasing. Relationship coaching involves collaborating with your client to identify tools and mindset shifts that will result in improving the most important connections in their lives.
An integral component of this work also requires an exploration of the client’s relationship with themselves. Whether the client is processing a difficult breakup, seeking a better relationship with their parent, or wants to widen their circle of close friends, a relationship coach can walk alongside them through the process, and help them come out the other side with new skills and internal resources moving forward.
Leadership & Executive Coaching
Great leaders surround themselves with a winning team, which often includes the services of an A-Level coach.
The scope of leadership coaching includes helping C-Suite executives build and manage high performing teams, supporting mid-level managers as they transition into broader leadership roles, and guiding ambitious young professionals seeking to accelerate their career advancement. As coach you serve as a trusted advisor, and confidential mentor for executives. This can include exploring complex management issues or bouncing potential scenarios before rolling out tough decisions.
Executive coaches also foster strong self-management skills. Emotional intelligence and wise leadership comes first from within. Self-aware leaders have the potential to create a profound ripple effect that benefits an entire organization, and a good coach will help their clients make this kind of profound impact. Executive coaches are those who have “walked the talk” – generally people who themselves have served in executive level positions, and possess the experience necessary to serve as a credible mentor and peer to fellow leaders.
Women’s Empowerment Life Coach
Like it or not, the gender gap is still very real. Study after study confirms that women continue to earn less than their male counterparts, while also shouldering more responsibilities on the home front. In a culture that breezily tells women they can “do it all”, many are now experiencing cognitive dissonance. Overextended and exhausted, high achieving women are increasingly turning to coaching as a means to rectify this imbalance and restore inner equilibrium.
As an empowerment coach, your aim is to support clients in identifying and overcoming the gap in their own lives. What’s disempowering them at work, at home, or in their own thoughts? This work often involves an exploration of internal limiting beliefs, as well as an examination of the very real power dynamics at play in the workplace.
The goal of coaching for empowerment is to help the client more effectively navigate these internal and external landscapes. Your job as coach is to help clients recognize their inherent strengths, and develop the mindset and toolkit to achieve and sustain a sense of personal power, agency, and joy in their lives.
Small Business Coaching
As technology allows more people to “strike out on their own”, business coaching offers valuable support to small-scale entrepreneurs. This can range from those who are building a brick-and-mortar store to those offering personal services or running an online company.
We all know that it takes more than having a great idea to build a successful business. Many entrepreneurs get started because they possess a particular skill, but may require coaching as they ramp-up into operating a new business. Small business coaches understand the difference between established operations and start-ups, and ideally have real world experience running a business of their own.
As a coach to entrepreneurs, your services might include helping clients develop a business plan, financial forecasting, setting up efficient bookkeeping and other systems, crafting a clear vision and mission statement, evaluating business models and outlining action plans, and considering revenue strategies to make sure their business succeeds. Business coaches also provides an accountability framework to ensure clients are maximizing their time by addressing the highest priorities first.
While effective sales is a necessary component for most business ventures, it remains a skill-set that does not come naturally for many people. Proven sales techniques abound, but it can be tricky to choose the approach that best meets business needs while also feeling most authentic to the individual salesperson. This is where sales coaching enters the picture.
Your job as coach is to work hand-in-hand with sales representatives, or entrepreneurs building their own practices. An effective sales coach helps client assess their own style, apply the sales techniques that feel right for them, and bring the discipline and implementation skills necessary to achieve their goals.
As a sales coach, you won’t have direct contact with customers, but instead work with salespeople to help them meet their sales targets. Your client’s success in effectively closing more and bigger deals is your ultimate metric of success!
Marketing is another subset of business coaching that’s in very high demand. While it may feel like a close cousin to sales coaching, there’s an important distinction between the two. Whereas a sales coach helps clients hone their ability to “close the deal”, the marketing coach is focused on the actions necessary to fill the pipeline of prospective customers to begin with.
The ideal background for this type of coaching is… you guessed it… hefty professional expertise in marketing and communications, and a track record of success. As a marketing coach, you’ll help clients develop their brand identity and core messaging. This may include guidance for establishing a graphic look and feel, taglines, logos, and written materials. You may be called upon to understand both traditional and online strategies and tactics for increasing visibility and attracting new followers or clients.
This field continues to evolve rapidly, so a willingness to stay dialed into the ever-changing social media landscape is a must!
Health and Fitness Coach
This may well be one of the original coaching niches, and certainly remains among the most popular. We know that many people set out every day with strong intentions to lose weight, or pursue a healthier lifestyle. Judging from the number of New Year’s resolutions that are all but abandoned by January 15th, the journey to better health is easier said than done.
As a health and fitness coach, it’s your job to make sure clients keep their eyes on the prize and persevere. It’s important to note that a health coach is different from a personal trainer. What sets a health and fitness coach apart is that you work with clients to manage the roadblocks that keep them from sticking with their intentions to get healthy. This often includes uncovering deeper issues around anxiety, body image, mindset, procrastination, and stress that may arise along the way. In fact, many personal trainers are now pursing coaching certifications as they recognize that the main impediment to their clients’ success at the gym is often more mental than physical.
A health coach takes a holistic approach to helping clients develop tools to improve their body through exercise, proper diet, and healthy decision making.
There’s a growing emphasis across the health industry on developing integrated, holistic approaches to improving our health and well-being. With so much information available online, it can be difficult to determine which exercise regime, food plan, and self-care strategies are optimal for our individual situation. Wading through it all can easily turn into an overwhelming mess!
Enter the Wellness Coach. Often coaches in this niche have training and expertise in one or more health related fields. One popular example is nutritionists. Many add coaching into their practice because they know they can create a more meaningful impact if they dig deeper with their clients around mindset and core beliefs.
As a wellness coach, you’ll be collaborating with clients to reprogram their habits and make healthier choices. This goes well beyond the traditional focus on calorie count and meal plans. The work involves really knowing your client’s preferences, lifestyle, and roadblocks to develop custom-fit strategies that can be maintained for the long term.
Money Mindset Coach
The subject of money almost always runs deeper than just what’s in our wallet. It can be a difficult topic to grapple with, and people are realizing that in order to build a life that they love, they may need to re-frame their thinking about money. Like the health and wellness field, personal and business finances can easily become a maze of contradictory advice.
As a money mindset coach, your number one job is to reduce the anxiety and disorientation that often accompanies this topic. A good coach can make dealing with finances less stressful, and more rewarding. So many people struggle with their relationship to money, and that energy is what keeps them stuck or stagnant. Money mindset coaches help clients develop the soft skills needed to navigate their internal world, which in turn can help them make better sense of their finances.
Once the mental blocks are identified and cleared, it becomes much easier to put a realistic and achievable action plan in place to meet their financial goals. A good money mindset coach understands both finances AND the human condition!
Another rapidly growing niche is in the area of personal development and confidence. This area of coaching is all about improving a client’s well-being, self-confidence, and relationship towards themselves. This is what the coach and client work in partnership to discover.
As a confidence coach, you meet your clients exactly where they’re at today, and help them explore ways to achieve inner harmony. The self-love practitioner’s toolkit includes mindfulness techniques, strategies for identifying and working with our “inner critic”, and an exploration of the client’s deepest hopes and desires.
Mindful self-compassion has roots in Buddhist wisdom teachings, and despite our advances not much has changed in the human heart and mind over the last 2,500 years! Genuine self-compassion remains a fundamental skill that many of us were never taught growing up. With each successive generation, we are invited to again discover and learn these essential tools for inner peace and expanded joy.
Most people experience anxiety from time to time. But for some, it can take an enormous toll on quality of life. In our fast paced, “always on” culture, there are a lot of things that either cause or trigger our anxieties. To counterbalance this, anxiety coaching is now trending as a growing specialization. As an anxiety coach, you’ll be working with clients who are at baseline mental health, but may need extra support to stay present and not let their worries derail them.
An anxiety coach supports their client in determining the roots of those anxieties, and helps to develop an effective and appropriate approach. Before you think that you yourself have to be in a State of Zen 24 hours a day to excel in this area, know that effective anxiety coaches need not live stress and anxiety-free lives themselves. Part of what makes a coach authentic in this field is personal experience with the subject matter.
Anxiety coaches may themselves also grapple with anxiety. They’ve been there and know what it feels like. The difference between coach and client is that the coach has already developed the inner awareness, resources, techniques, and tools to manage their own anxiety, and has the training and experience to now help others do the same.
Spirituality or Life Purpose Coach
For those who are looking to define and explore their purpose and place within the Universe, a spirituality coach can be a welcome partner in that journey. In today’s world, many of us are disconnected from the spiritual traditions we grew up with, if we were introduced to any at all. For those who feel the inner yearning for “something more”, but who haven’t yet found a satisfying spiritual home, the quest for a personal connection to the divine can be challenging.
Spirituality coaches walk this path of discovery alongside their clients, with an open heart and mind. As coach, you may come from a particular tradition or belief system that your clients would like a mentor to help them explore. Spirituality coaches may also be healers and medicine men and women from particular traditions and lineages.
Manifestation and Abundance Coach
We’re talking Law of Attraction here. Sometimes combined with spiritual healing work, manifestation coaching helps clients align their thoughts, subconscious beliefs, and intentions in order to achieve their dreams. Ever hear the saying “Where your thoughts go, your energy flows”? That’s what’s happening here – the client has dreams they want to manifest, but they’re also creating their own roadblocks, whether through a fixed mindset or unconscious limiting beliefs.
As a manifestation coach, you help your clients figure out what those blocks are and determine how to remove them. Some may ask: Why hire a coach, when anyone can look up the Law of Attraction for themselves? Answer: Accountability. It’s exceedingly difficult for us to accurately pinpoint our own blind spots.
Through insightful inquiry, a coach can help their client verbalize their desires with precision, diagnose what may be holding them back, and develop a tactical plan for removing those blockages. This work requires rigorous self-examination, and a willingness to be honest about our shadows. A coach can make the process more comfortable, supportive, and efficient.
Note: not all trauma can be worked with through coaching, and it’s up to you as a responsible coach practitioner to know when to refer a client out to therapy.
For those who want to move from surviving to thriving in the aftermath of trauma, coaching can be a valuable asset. Trauma comes in many forms. Regardless of its source, both physical and mental forms of trauma have a similar impact on the heart, mind, and nervous system.
From those who have experienced combat, assault, auto accidents or abusive relationships, trauma survivors have many faces. As a trauma coach, you work with clients who are at baseline mental health, and support them in rebuilding their sense of agency and inner safety.
A good trauma coach is well educated in this sensitive field, and brings techniques that may include positive psychology, somatic processing, mindfulness and more.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a form of energy medicine used by coaches who are professionally trained in this field. You may have also heard of this process referred to as the “tapping solution”, or psychological acupressure. The EFT technique is used to support a client working through various challenges such as stress, negative emotions, financial issues, anxiety, physical pain, and many others. It involves tapping various points on the body along energy meridians in a set sequence, and works by clearing energy blockages.
EFT practitioners and coaches provide a safe space for their clients to uncover core issues and provides the client with a simple tool for relief that can be done at almost any time, anywhere once the process has been learned.
It seems like every day we are presented with exponentially expanding opportunities for distraction! Maintaining focus is a challenge that most of us grapple with, whether or not we are formally diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research is confirming that the human mind is wired for distraction, and we are testing those limits more profoundly than any previous era in human history.
Coaching has become a powerful antidote for those who may struggle with “monkey mind” by helping clients learn how to stay present and disarm those ever-present distractions. This type of coaching tends to be much more directive and implementation-based than some other areas we have explored thus far. As an ADHD coach, you are firmly in the lead, limiting your client from steering off track. ADHD coaches help clients become calmer and prioritize so they can get more done and make greater progress toward building the life they desire.
Of all the niches discussed here, you are likely to hear the term “life coach” most frequently. That’s because it is something of a catch-all for many of the personal development specialties we’ve covered. For coaches who specialize in more than one area, this simple term can serve as a succinct umbrella. It’s also the title many new coaches may start with before settling into a niche.
There are many coaching programs that focus on “life coaching”. But what exactly is a life coach? Simply put, a life coach helps a client define exactly what they want to experience, feel, or achieve in their life that is different from where they are now. The coach then utilizes a set of tools and assignments to assist their client in honing the self-insight and skills necessary to make greater progress toward those goals.
There are many factors that inform how an individual life coach approaches this work. These include specific coaching modalities and techniques that have been acquired through training and certification programs, as well as their own “secret sauce”: their unique combination of professional expertise, life experiences, and perspective.
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2020/2021 has certainly been a year or two of the unexpected. Many coaches have found it necessary to completely rethink and rework their offering in order to adapt to doing business in the midst of a global pandemic. With the likelihood of disruption continuing well into 2022, coaches are now putting into practice business models which probably weren’t even on their roadmap this time last year.
In fact, many of our coaches have been able to grow their businesses exponentially during the pandemic. As 2021 draws to a close, now is the time to explore some of the biggest trends in coaching which will dominate the landscape over the coming year.
1. Virtual coaching will continue to soar
Virtual coaching was already growing steadily prior to the pandemic, but the restrictions on face to face meetings, travel and social distancing requirements have meant that this is even more relevant to coaching operations than ever before.
Technology is revolutionizing the way coaches can service their clients, allowing them to offer products and packages anytime, anywhere. Automation can effortlessly guide users through an online coaching programme, often without any input needed from the coach. Whilst this is of course an excellent model for scaling any coaching business, it is important to remember that the human aspect must be retained in order to build deeper connections with clients.
Don’t forget to add in that all important live element to your offering.
2.Demand for outcome-led coaching will rise
In a world where instant gratification is the norm, it is unsurprising to find that the same applies to the coaching world too.
Clients are seeking out coaches who can help them gain the results they want and fast! In order to provide the answers clients are looking for, coaches need to ensure they are focusing their energy on outcome-led coaching.
It’s important to remember that clients are not paying for a ‘process’, rather it’s the transformation that can be brought to their lives as a result of working with a particular coach. All marketing and communications should be focused on what the client will gain by the end of the programme, so that they can clearly align their investment with the solution to their problem.
3.Niche coaching will increase
It’s true that most coaches can work with a wide range of people, problems and challenges, but just because they can doesn’t mean they should!
The reality is that most people are seeking out a solution to a specific problem, and the more aligned with that problem a coach is, the more likely they are to be chosen.
A good example I often use is that of a client who wants to quit smoking; are they more likely to choose an award-winning, best-selling generalist coach, who helps clients with a vast array of issues including quitting smoking? Or will they choose the ‘stop-smoking’ coach, who was a chain smoker themselves for many years, beat the habit and now focuses exclusively on helping others to quit smoking for good?
I think you can see where I’m going with this. Of course niching means shrinking down the pool of potential clients that could be reached, but it’s a smaller more targeted group who are far more likely to convert to fee-paying clients.
4.Automation and delegation are necessary for growth
Many of the coaches that I work with have a vision of becoming six figure coaches, and whilst it is entirely achievable, that doesn’t mean it will be easy, particularly if they are a one-man operation. As the business grows, it is essential to realize the benefits of automating administrative tasks through software in addition to delegating or outsourcing requirements such as ghostwriting, videography and web content.
5.Matchmaking will become a core part of the qualification process
In the typical demand supply relationship, the client will tend to be the one responsible for deciding which coach they ultimately choose to work with.
Coaches end up working with clients who have selected them, regardless of whether there was a natural fit with the client or not.
The result was that in some cases, a less than optimal outcome would be received and negative feedback would follow. This was not because the coach had done anything wrong, or their methods and techniques were flawed, more that the client was not right for the programme, service, or coaching style.
One of the best developments (in our opinion) is going to be a greater emphasis on coaches matchmaking the right clients according to their personalities and fields of expertise.
The balance of power will shift, so that both clients and coaches can equally determine whether they should work together or not. This is clearly a win-win for both sides.
There are many other developments taking place in the coaching sector which are set to transform the way coaches do business, seek out clients and manage their operations.
During the pandemic, the demand for life coaches has increased. This is because life, in general, has changed dramatically, and people have had to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. That’s where life coaches excel. With unique skill sets in almost every field, people can find a trained professional to help assist them in specific aspects of their life.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, two things have been working simultaneously to decrease regular access to mental health services to those who need it.
First, there was an increase in people feeling depression, anxiety and a general feeling of languishing. This was caused by numerous factors, including the fear of catching the virus, soaring numbers of cases around the world, cabin fever and isolation due to lockdown, and holidays that lacked family and friends. Due to the increased demand for mental health support, life coaches have become highly sought after during the pandemic. Life coaching was particularly helpful during this time because it focuses on being self-aware and finding ways to overcome obstacles, and building a better future. This puts control back into the hands of the client.
As mentioned before, people lacked the social connections that they had pre-pandemic, which led to an overwhelming feeling of isolation. For people already receiving life coaching, a relationship had been established between the client and their life coach, which eased the loneliness. People turned to life coaches for that connection.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, life coaches were already operating online or by phone, so not only were they accustomed to using this method to connect with clients, but this was not an uncomfortable change for the client. Furthermore, life coaches are trained to be active listeners. They aren’t just consumed by their own worries. A life coach helps clients find tailored solutions to their specific problems by facilitating thought-provoking conversations, which people may not have been getting from family and friends who were facing their own troubles.
Coaching with the family
There are many life coaches who offer niche services, including family coaching. During the lockdown, this came in handy as families were suddenly stuck together at home and forced to spend every waking moment together. It can be hard to spend that much time together without stepping on each other’s toes. Family life coaches can provide individual coaching or group coaching aimed at developing skills for living together peacefully. They facilitate conversations between family members, teach families how to adopt appropriate mindsets for close-quarter living and work with family members on skills like conflict resolution.
Working from home
There was a lot of work that came with moving to a remote workspace. To begin with, people were adjusting to new technologies, cloud-based workspaces, and video calls instead of in-face meetings, which led to added frustration. To handle this, people had to develop a growth mindset. The ability to reassess failures and ask themselves how they could succeed in the future was important, rather than simply throwing in the towel.
Life coaches work with clients to build that growth mindset. However, remote working came with additional setbacks. People had to change the way they thought about their work. Pre-pandemic, the office and home were separate. When starting remote work, however, people had to consider how they were going to succeed in the office while melding it with their home. Parents suddenly had children who wanted their needs met immediately. Life coaches assisted clients in setting out plans, finding ways to meet goals, and addressing burnout caused both by the workplace and by their own home environment.
Coaching the leaders on leadership
As an employee, it’s hard to move to a remote workplace. As someone running a corporation, it’s hard to move your organization online while keeping your employees motivated and everything running smoothly. There are life coaches who provide leadership coaching so that the process is smoother. They also assist management in developing the skills needed to lead over the internet. Video calls were hard because people missed the in-person body language of the office, but leadership coaching helped employers facilitate discussions and team build. Coaches also developed creative thinking skills with their clients so that management could find ways to make their team effective, even after their coaching sessions were finished.
Life coaching is a rewarding profession that allows you the opportunity to build connections with clients and watch them reach their full potential.
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After taking an initial hit in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, coaching has demonstrated surprising resiliency. This emerging industry and profession has proved to be an asset to many companies—even during a time when organizations have been cutting costs wherever they can.
According to a global, snapshot survey conducted by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) over the first two months of 2021, the coaching industry is recovering well. Coaches were quick to embrace technology: 83 percent have increased their use of audio-video platforms to work with their clients.
Perhaps due to that pivot to virtual work, coaches are already seeing their economic outlook improve. Fewer coaching practitioners reported reduced income and hours compared to a previous snapshot survey ICF conducted in mid-2020. Seventy percent of respondents to the 2021 survey are confident that coaching will emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, compared with 65 percent in the previous survey.
According to Magdalena Nowicka Mook, CEO of ICF, the initial drop-off that the coaching industry saw was due to clients cutting corners wherever they could to survive the pandemic. “In executive coaching especially, which is where we saw the greatest decline in revenue, clients were experiencing a tremendous upheaval,” she said. “They were turning their work forces virtual and trying to stay afloat.”
What those clients found, however, is that many of their leaders needed coaching more than ever as they navigated this new, complex environment. And since coaches had adjusted to the virtual environment, it wasn’t long before the industry rebounded. “I think that clients realized that their work forces desperately needed support,” Mook said.
A New Way of Leading
Vivian James Rigney, president of the global executive coaching firm Inside Us, noted that many clients felt like the remote-working environment they suddenly found themselves in would be relatively temporary. As such, they believed they could put aside expenses like coaching for the time being. “As things progressed, people came to terms with the fact that this was going to be more of a permanent way of working,” he said. “And 15 months later, we are still there.”
Within that virtual environment—or even in a hybrid environment, as many companies are transitioning to some in-person work—leaders have had to rethink how they lead. The typical visual and interactive cues that a manager would have with a whole team in an in-person meeting aren’t there anymore. It’s much more of a challenge to determine whether team members are engaged and if they understand what’s being discussed. Therefore, it’s important for leaders to ask questions rather than just state opinions and give instructions.
“I think leaders have to work harder in this environment to feel connected with their team members and to be understood,” Rigney said. “And on top of that, leaders are stressed. But they can’t show it because they’re leaders.”
That’s where coaching comes in, noted Kate McKay, executive leadership coach with Inside Us. There has been a renewed emphasis on compassion and understanding for employees, and coaching can help leaders tap into that. “Now it’s being recognized as a set of core leadership skills,” she said. “In this environment, you have to be a compassionate leader. You have to show empathy. You have to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your employees and your peers and find more creative ways of collaborating.”
Perhaps nowhere is empathy more evident than at Cleveland Clinic, one of the top hospitals in the world and an organization that has implemented a robust coaching culture. The hospital emphasizes empathy with its patients, and that mindset extends to coaching. For over a decade, Cleveland Clinic has trained more than 2,600 managers and leaders on how to incorporate coaching into leadership.
“Coaching has been adopted from the top down,” said Ashley Villani, who leads Cleveland Clinic’s internal and external coaching programs and strategic initiatives. “Coaching is a core behavior expected of all of our leaders, and it’s in their annual performance reviews. And it’s validated by having the budget to support coaching; they’re not going to fund something if there’s no proof that there’s value in it.”
Being a leading medical provider, Cleveland Clinic was on the front lines of the pandemic. It had to quickly adapt to the new environment, which meant redeploying its caregivers to the areas where they could make the greatest contributions. Yet through it all, the staff was more engaged than ever before, as a recent survey showed. Cleveland Clinic attributes much of that engagement to its coaching culture. “Coaching is paying the dividends from the investments that we’ve been making over the past couple of years, and we’re seeing it in the resiliency of our leaders,” Villani said.
Still, organizations may question whether there is truly a tangible return on investment (ROI) in coaching. Nearly half the respondents to a 2020 study by ICF revealed that companies are unable to quantify the value of coaching programs. Dana Laidhold, treasurer for Peloton and a former client of Rigney and Inside Us, thinks organizations need to view coaching programs differently.
“If you’re trying to create an ROI around a coaching program, you’re going about it all wrong,” Laidhold said. “This is a very human process. It is incumbent on employers to invest in their employees so they can be their best selves as peers and managers of people. And if you try to put a dollar amount on that, you’re never going to get it right.”
Furthermore, there are some tangible ways to show the value of coaching; perhaps the most evident one can be found in attracting and retaining talent. Cleveland Clinic has polled its own employees and found that coaching influenced their decision to remain with the hospital rather than look for opportunities elsewhere. Likewise, coaching has also been a factor in why some professionals applied to Cleveland Clinic in the first place. “It’s just so exciting for me to hear that it’s become not just part of our culture but also a competitive advantage,” Villani said.
As leaders cope with the unique challenges of the pandemic (and eventual post-pandemic) environment, the demand for coaching services is likely to continue to grow. And that makes sense; if coaching is a necessary function during normal times, then it is absolutely crucial during periods of major uncertainty.
But for coaching programs to work, employees have to be open-minded and honest, and accept that there is a “therapy” element to coaching, Laidhold noted. Participants need to be able to internalize feedback with an honest eye. “You have to remove all sense of defensiveness and go 100 percent into acceptance,” she said. “In order to learn and grow, you have to come to terms with things about your skill sets and personality that are really uncomfortable. That’s where the hard work is and where it makes a difference.”
|Join us for an exploration of coach credentials with the International Coaching Federation Team, including ICF President, Australasia – Davia McMillan.|
|During this session we will;|
|Wednesday 27 October 2021|
|Brisbane: 8am – 9am|
|Sydney/Melbourne: 9am – 10am|
|Auckland/Wellington: 11am – 12pm|
|Tuesday 26 October 2021|
|California (PT): 3pm – 4pm|
|New York (ET): 6pm – 7pm|
|Click here for your timezone.|
If this time doesn’t suit you, don’t worry – we will record the session and post the recording on IECL’s alumni and YouTube channels
Posted by ICF Foundation | September 30, 2021
Pandemics, climate change, refugee crises – doesn’t it seem like the world needs coaching more than ever? This is a great time to start coaching for social impact. As an ICF Foundation Council of Ambassador, I work to support ICF Chapters and Members with engaging in coaching for social impact. Are you wondering how you can start an initiative or project in your community?
Here are some responses to the most frequently asked questions and on how to start.
What is Coaching for Social Impact?
Coaching for social impact means to amplify and accelerate systemic change in the world through coaching. We do this by coaching people in organizations working to make the world a better place. Through our coaching, we can help these social impact organizations improve their effectiveness.
What are Social Impact Organizations?
Social impact organizations are known by different terms throughout the planet. Here are some examples:
- Non-profit organizations
- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- Philanthropic organizations
- Social enterprises
- Civil society organizations
What are they usually called in your area?
The social impact sector is growing around the world. According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society, 7.4% of people worldwide work in this sector. The UN estimates that there are 970 million people around the globe serving as volunteers for social impact organizations.
Think about it: there are over 1 billion people on this planet working in very tough conditions to make this a better place for everyone. They ABSOLUTELY need coaches!
How could Coaching for Social Impact be the most helpful?
Social impact leaders face many challenges. In my decade of coaching social impact leaders throughout North, Central and South America, these are some of the more common topics:
- Loneliness and isolation
- Leadership challenges
- Complex social issues
- Work-life balance
- Constant collaboration
- Stakeholder management
- Board of Directors
- Administrative and financial structures
- Communication and marketing
- Data and case for support
According to the Coaching and Philanthropy Project, coaching for social impact could be most powerful when a leader or organization is at an inflection point. Coaching can transform moments of great turmoil into opportunity.
For many, the pandemic has created such an inflection point. Over 66% of US non-profits reported that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their organization. We see a similar scenario throughout the globe.
Clearly, this is the moment to do coaching for social impact.
You want to do Coaching for Social Impact … Now What?
The International Coaching Federation and its Foundation (ICF Foundation) offer you great opportunities to start coaching for social impact.
Are you a coach still pursuing your ICF credentials? You could coach through existing pro-bono social impact coaching projects, which are usually run by local ICF chapters. Or you could create your own coaching for social impact project, using the ICF Foundation’s Coaching for Social Impact toolkit. Starting a pro-bono social impact coaching project can be an amazing opportunity for student coaches to collaborate with their peers, gain experience and increase their coaching hours.
Are you an ICF credentialed coach? Then, the ICF Foundation’s Ignite Initiative is for you. Ignite, started in 2017, is a call for individual credentialed coaches to work as a team to provide pro bono coaching to a partner organization whose mission is aligned with a United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goal. The Ignite Initiative has specific parameters in place to promote best practices and allow coaches to focus on achieving the greatest impact. You could coach through existing Ignite projects, which are usually run by local ICF chapters. Or you could create your own Ignite project, using the ICF Foundation’s Ignite Toolkit. Starting your own project can be a wonderful way to involve your coach friends and associates in creating social impact.
Here are some steps you can take today:
- Connect with your ICF Chapter’s social impact committee – many chapters already have teams dedicated to coaching for social impact. These may be known by different names, such as: Volunteering, Social Responsibility, Charity Coaching, Social Impact, etc. Reach out to your local chapter through its website or social media and ask for its social impact committee’s contact information.
- Enroll in your chapter’s social impact coaching and Ignite projects – The people in your ICF chapter’s social impact committee will probably be able to tell you whether the chapter has a coaching for social impact project you could join. Enrolling in an existing project may be the fastest way to gain experience in coaching for social impact.
- Sign up for ICF Foundation updates – the ICF Foundation regularly shares information on coaching for social impact initiatives around the world. So, sign up to remain up to date on the latest updates.
- Sign up for future ICF Foundation volunteer opportunities – The ICF Foundation keeps a database of coaches interested in future volunteer opportunities.
- Sign up for ICF Foundation Ignite Basecamp – If you are a credentialed coach interested in creating or joining an Ignite project, you may want to join the project management site connecting all Ignite project leaders around the world. This way, you may be able to gain inspiration or enroll in an Ignite project outside your geographical area.
- Consider starting your own coaching for social impact or Ignite project – The ICF Foundation has created an easy-to-follow coaching for social impact or Ignite roadmap and toolkit for you to be able to start your own passion project, whether alone or with a group of coaching friends. Go for it!
One of the most effective public relations tools that coaches can utilize in their business is an organized and succinct media kit. This tool can help you build a relationship with reporters, earn media coverage and accomplish promotional goals as a coach. This includes raising awareness of the industry, demonstrating your expertise, or providing details about a big announcement. When used strategically, providing a media kit to reporters can help you distinguish yourself in the coaching industry.
A media kit is a set of resources containing information about your expertise, the coaching industry, or a notable announcement or development. This is a popular tool for events or product launches because it offers the most pertinent and important information for journalists to reference when writing their story, all in one convenient package.
You can also use a media kit to offer expansive background for story ideas and interview opportunities.
What Belongs in a Media Kit?
Understanding the functions of a media kit is important, but it is even more essential to know what to include in the kit. This is an opportunity to show members of the media what sets you apart, give them a glimpse inside your business and demonstrate your expertise. Be sure to customize your messaging in all media kit materials based on your goals, and keep your kit fresh with interesting content and timely details.
There are a few common foundational elements to include to make sure your media kit is as effective as possible:
- Contact details: Include your contact information near the top so it is easy to find if the reporter wants to get in touch—that is your goal, after all!
- Coach bio: Provide a bio of yourself and a brief description of your company to help the journalist share interesting and relevant information. Try to keep it brief.
- A media release: Include a media release that is relevant to the journalist’s story. For example, if the journalist is covering an innovative new service, you can provide additional information in a release format that provides insights on the reasons you added it, and its impact. Be sure to include one or two direct quotes from you that they can use in their story.
- Images: When appropriate, include high-resolution images in your media kit that journalists can utilize with their articles. If you are available for interviews, include a professional headshot.
- Case study samples: With your client’s permission, you could also provide case studies that details the specifics of how you helped a client., This gives you an opportunity to showcase real world issues and illustrate the impact of your coaching.
- Recent news coverage and social following: If you have recently appeared in the news or other publications, be sure to mention this to further solidify your expertise and prove that you are a reliable source. Journalists prefer speaking to experts that understand the media landscape. If you can prove to them that you are prepared, you will have a better chance of catching their attention. This is also a great opportunity to insert your social media handle and the consistent content that you regularly share with the world.
- Share your credentials: Share your ICF Credential and/or ICF Membership in your media kit. You worked hard to earn it, and it signals your professionalism and adherence to the industry’s gold standard for coaching best practices and ethics.
When and Where Do You Send a Media Kit?
In the past, a media kit was presented as a meticulously packaged set of printed materials in a folder that was mailed to journalists or handed to them at an event. Thanks to the rise of digital options, most media kits are now shared in a PDF format and can be downloaded from your website or attached to an email.
Just as you would consider when and where to send a press release or media pitch, think critically about where and when you send a media kit. Before sending it out to everyone on your media list, spend time researching outlets and journalists that would be interested in using your expertise as a resource for a story.
It is also appropriate to use a media kit as a follow up item after an interview to keep your correspondence going with the journalist and have your story stay top of mind.
Becoming a Credible Resource for Media
As the coaching industry continues to grow and evolve, your voice as a coaching expert is relevant. Remember: media kits are a great opportunity to showcase the power of coaching by sharing relevant perspectives, studies and testimonials about how coaching has helped so many people.
By creating a media kit that is uniquely your own, you can stand out as a professional and make a mark as a credible coaching industry leader.
As work is poised to become largely remote, coaching too needs to evolve. In an asynchronous work environment, employees are distributed across varied time zones and their in- person interactions are minimal.
Hence, the practice of “coaching-by-appointment” needs to shift to “coaching-on-demand.” To accomplish this, the coaching capacity and capability of an organization must be distributed across teams and time zones, instead of being concentrated only within the HR department.
Of course, the critical success factor would still be leadership buy-in and recognition of the business case of coaching in terms of employee engagement, productivity and retention. Creating a psychologically safe workplace would remain the endgame of coaching.
Coaching’s future playbook would involve specific coaching competencies spread across different mediums. Here is what this would look like.
1. Virtual Coaching for Emotional Resilience
The emotional check-in that a coach provides can be a simulated digitally. This would be a virtual coach chat interface, powered by a personalized AI (Artificial Intelligence) assistant. It would conduct a daily micro-session of virtual coaching lasting up to 5 minutes.
At the start of each workday, when an employee logs in to the enterprise software, the virtual coach would greet them. Similar to an agile daily stand-up meeting, it would ask the employee up to three simple questions.
The employee would interact with the virtual coach using voice or text. Using NLP (Natural Language Processing), the virtual coach would decipher the employee’s feelings. If needed, it would probe further into the emotional state of the employee, and provide online resources for emotional resilience.
The aggregated data from each geographical area would be available to the team leader, who can decide if employees in a particular area need further emotional support.
2. Self Coaching for Reflection
The self-discovery that a coach stimulates can be owned by the employee themselves. Journaling can enable employees to dissociate themselves from any toxic thoughts and see them objectively on paper. Each weekly journaling session can last up to 15 minutes.
At the end of every work week, an employee would receive an email with questions for self inquiry and prompts for creativity. These questions would be designed to help the employee discover the unique meaning they find in their work and connect them with their internal motivation for the current project.
The email would be accompanied by guidelines on how to answer with the purpose of generating useful insights. The employee can log the answers in a notebook or a private online blog. This information can also act as a ready-reckoner during the monthly, quarterly or annual appraisal with the team leader.
3. Peer Coaching for Sounding Board
Active listening done by a coach can be embedded in the employee’s relations with their colleagues. An online course can prepare an employee to learn the basics of active listening. They can then be paired with a colleague in the same time zone, with whom they can practice this skill on an ongoing basis.
In a peer coaching session, employees act as sounding boards for each other. They can vent to each other about their personal and professional challenges. They can have a voice call twice a month, with each session lasting up to 30 minutes.
Peer coaching can be counted as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for measuring contribution to the team’s performance. It also provides an informal forum for socializing, replicating the water cooler conversations that were once part of a physical office.
4. Leadership Coaching for Accountability
Coaching for accountability is best handled by a certified leadership coach. An in-house coach or a coach hired by the organization can have a monthly or quarterly session with each employee to ensure that they are on track.
In this one-to-one session, the employee focuses on a long-term goal related to a key leadership area identified by them and their team leader. This session can happen over a video call once a month or a quarter, with each session lasting from 60 to 90 minutes.
Leadership coaching is a great opportunity for formulating the “big picture” of one’s career. It also helps the team leader identify and groom employees who are ready to step up for greater challenges and responsibilities.
By providing a combination of human and digital coaching resources, organizations can help unlock the wellbeing and potential of their employees that had been impacted by lockdowns.
When coaching is available on demand, a geographically distant employee no longer feels isolated and lonely. Even while working remotely, they feel emotional intimacy and a connection to their purpose. That’s when work truly feels like home.
Professional coaches have the incredible opportunity to positively impact the lives of their clients.
The relationship between coach and client allows for new and creative ways to tap into potential and increase productivity levels for both parties. A great way for coaches to maximize their own business in this continuously advancing digital world is to build a professional brand online and apply it across all of your accounts and channels.
A professional brand communicates the core of who you are. It distinguishes you from other coaching professionals in your niche. Creating a professional brand can elevate your reputation, expand your coaching network, and provide a space where you can express your expertise and personality in a way that is cohesive, polished and easy to recognize for followers and potential clients.
The idea of establishing a professional brand may seem daunting at first, but there are a few tips to assist you in the process and ensure you are building your brand strategically.
Define What You Want to Be Known For
As a coach, you have a unique role in many people’s lives. Pinpointing what makes you stand out in your own personal and professional life will serve as a foundation for your brand and help potential clients get to know a little about you at first glance. In other words, who you already are can help build and reinforce what you wish to be known for.
You may feel uncertain at first when attempting to create a personal brand, but just as with coaching, it’s best to start with your authentic self. You know yourself better than anyone, as well as the perspectives, strengths and skills you bring to your coaching practice. Help the online world meet that person.
Share Your Message Through Social Media
Creating a professional presence on social media fosters new and existing relationships in the coaching industry. It can also attract new clients. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram all have features that assist in building profiles, such as recommended accounts to follow and tips for setting up accounts.
Once you have created a profile in social media, a great way to capitalize on your new communication channel is to participate in conversations with your network as well as creating your own content to share. This can be done through sharing your coaching insights or articles that align with your brand, as well as “liking” and commenting on content in your feed.
Utilize Professional Images
With social media in mind, it is an effective strategy to use the same “profile picture” on each platform. A professional headshot that showcases your personality while staying in line with your desired image as a professional coach can make your brand more recognizable to your network and potential clients, no matter how they find you initially.
Along those lines, choosing a photo that is up to date and reflects how you look on a regular basis—again, reflecting your authentic self—enriches the connections you make online.
In addition to using the same profile picture across all platforms, sharing any other professional images that apply to your coaching career or experiences can bring life to your online presence and pique your network’s interest. Images that align with text can capture attention in a different way than either by itself. This also is an opportunity for some creativity and fun. Don’t forget to link to your website and use a consistent bio across your profiles, too!
Continuously Build Your Brand
You are constantly branding yourself in your coaching career with the choices you make, the expertise you deliver, and the clients you work with. This should be reflected in your online brand. By defining how to present yourself in the online world, sharing key messages and promoting professional images through social media channels, and remembering that your brand is ever evolving, you are already on the road to success.
These tips can serve as a foundation for the journey of building your brand, and a great addition to the many other aspects of your coaching career.
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is gradually becoming a part of our daily reality, for some more than others. In addition to its effect on our external reality, it is also affecting our internal one by inviting additional stress and anxiety into our personal space.
This new internal reality enters the coaching space with our client. If we want to help our clients achieve sustainable results, we need to know how to support them through this.
The RAIN (recognize, acknowledge and accept, invite, and non-attachment) model offers a road map to create clarity, increase resilience and build an action plan to move on. We can use it with our clients and for ourselves.
Recognize the thoughts and emotions associated with the stress. Notice them without judgment and name them. Naming our thoughts and emotions helps us to resize them into a manageable size and separate them from other thoughts and feelings.
Remember that anxiety is an unbalanced state of fear. In the context of this crisis it is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.
Acknowledge and Accept
Acknowledge what you are experiencing, feeling and thinking. Accept it as the present reality and allow yourself to be with it in a compassionate way. Accepting our current sensations, thoughts and emotions does not mean we are passively accepting the things we do not like; it merely means that we are embracing our humanity and how we are at this specific moment.
Invite coaching curiosity into the process and ask yourself:
- What do I need now?
- What can I trust?
- What resources (internal and external) are available to me now?
- What are some actions I could take to help myself?
Once you feel ready, shift into a META View and ask these questions again.
Our thoughts and emotions, not who we are; they are part of an experience we are having. By releasing our attachment to the content and nature of our thoughts and emotions, we stop identifying with them. Once there is no identification, we can reconnect with our values and redirect our focus and energy to an action plan.
When I am coaching a client on a stress issue, I tend to add an S and turn the RAIN into RAINS. The S stands for self-care.
True self-care is not about having a massage or drinking champagne with your chocolate cake; it is an act of self-preservation. Self-care means making a conscious choice to take intentional actions that increase mental, emotional and physical health.
When we start practicing true self-care a lot, negative inner talk and limiting belief will come to meet us. Therefore, we need to practice self-love and self-compassion so we can self-care.
RAINS is not a “quick fix” technique. It is an approach and a way of holding the space for others and ourselves.
This crisis will end at some point. Just like any other crisis, it can bring out the best as well the worst in people. Let’s make sure that we, as coaches, use our knowledge, tools and calling to promote goodness and make this world a better place.
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When asked about what she thought of the impending freedoms, she said she had mixed feelings. “I’m definitely not looking forward to more traffic on the morning commute to work and dealing with more crowds – it’s been a really nice change. On the social side of things… honestly, the idea of being in a fully packed bar gives me a tight chest.”
And it makes a lot of sense that people feel weird and disconnected about getting back to normal activities. After adjusting to the ‘new normal’, we’ve settled into a routine – something that humans thrive off. While we all miss family and friends, there’s no denying we’ve become comfy and secure with what we now know.
There’s a reason behind why we’re so reluctant to separate from our routines, especially when it involves enjoying the presence of others.
It’s called re-entry anxiety, and it’s the new psychological phenomenon that has us struggling to once again adapt to our old lives.
The ‘re-entry anxiety’ phenomenon.
Coined by psychologists Jeanne and John Gullahorn in the 1960s, ‘re-entry syndrome’ was a term used to describe the emotional toll of rejoining society.
The Gullahorn’s studied a group of people who had been away from home for long periods of time and found these candidates had developed something called a ‘W curve’.
It’s basically a graph that shows a dip when someone is removed from their normal society, before peaking when they rejoin it and dipping again as they struggle to integrate back into their old lives (you can think of it like a roller coaster).
Psychologists call this a ‘reverse culture shock’.
While it’s particularly severe among soldiers, prisoners and Arctic explorers, it’s also a similar feeling to what you get when you return home from overseas after a length of time. It’s never a case of just returning home and picking up exactly where you left off.
It’s more complicated than that.
“Re-entry anxiety is a sort of post-lock down anxiety where people are feeling worried, stressed, anxious and even scared about re-entering the world. In general, it’s nervousness about reintegrating back into the world, or back to (the new) normal,” explains Lysn psychologist Nancy Sokarno.
“That might mean feeling nervous about being around people or feeling anxious about attending social gatherings. The reason many people are suffering from re-entry anxiety is because we’ve become accustomed to our current lives and now the changes in lock downs are threatening to throw that off course.”
While there’s a very obvious feeling of widespread joy and excitement around ‘freedom day’, reintegration and a period of introspection is something that can be expected – almost guaranteed.
“In short, we’ve adapted to a new way of life but are now being asked to adapt again (or change back to how it used to be)! That’s a lot of change to endure and whilst most people are quite resilient, it is still a lot to handle.
“Many people are also suffering from fear or nervousness about being around people for fear of contracting the virus. This can make it hard to know how cautious to be or makes them start to question whether it’s just safer to stay home.”
Learning new behaviours.
The last year has been… intense.
A study published in The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) identified trajectories of elevated or increasing depression (about 19 per cent of participants) and anxiety symptom scores (23 per cent of participants) over the 12‐week period between May and June 2020.
According to MJA, factors associated with this rise were COVID‐19‐related, with young people, those who are suffering financial distress, those who have an existing mental disorder diagnosis, and those who have been exposed to recent adversity (such as the bushfires of 2019–20).
It was found that this pattern was consistent with previous suggestions that the pandemic should raise concerns about risks for mental ill health.
So, yeah – it’s not entirely unexpected.
The threat of anxiety around the pandemic is not necessarily a new thing. The past few years have fostered the perfect breeding ground for fear and uncertainty. Confusion. Lack of trust in governments. The panic around contracting the virus. Suspicion and doubt of others. (Are they vaxxed? And if not, are they getting vaxxed?).
However, just because there’s now a road map to freedom, unfortunately it’s not something where we can just snap our fingers and jump back into how things were before. Nah. It just doesn’t work like that.
Y’see our brains have learnt all of these new behaviours during the pandemic. We’ve adjusted to working from home, social distancing, and isolating.
Studies have shown that while most people exhibit acute responses to an unexpected adversity, they then adapt to the situation and pick up on new behaviours.
In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it was found that on average, it takes around two months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — exactly 66 days.
In terms of how long it takes a new habit to form, this can vary widely depending on the behaviour, the person, and the circumstances.
In the study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
“Re-entry anxiety can affect anyone, but particularly those that have experienced long periods of lock down. Life has changed in many ways and for some people their lock down routine became a positive thing,” said Sokarno.
Lock down was a time for many people to pause and re-evaluate their life and what they want from it – whether that be moving away from the city, changing jobs, or fading out of certain social circles.
Meaning? Don’t feel the pressure to dive back in and be your old self as soon as restrictions lift. It’s going to take a while – and that’s okay.
For uni student Sinead, 23, re-establishing who she was before the pandemic and slipping back into the mould of the social butterfly she once was, is something that seems quite daunting.
“I live on a university campus, and with lock down easing I almost feel overwhelmed at the prospect of socialising and going out again. I’m surrounded by students every day, so I don’t have a chance to kind of ease back into it. I don’t even know if I remember how to talk to people.”
As Sokarno explains, the discomfort around shifting back to your pre-pandemic self is more common than you might think.
“With the looming ‘freedom day’, as it’s being called for New South Wales and other areas around Australia, it is a phenomenon that many people are experiencing. The sense of nervousness really varies from person to person, but there’s definitely a surge of people feeling that way,” she said.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact that people feel like they’d had finally adjusted and settled into their new routine and now the change feels threatening to their way of life. Many people are also feeling pressure or nervousness when it comes to social situations – we’ve been starved of that for so long that it’s left people wondering how to act.”
The common indicators.
So, how do you pinpoint the exact feelings of re-entry anxiety? And how can you tell the difference between hesitation and full-blown anxiety?
“What’s important to remember is that we, as humans, are very resilient and it’s likely that people felt overwhelmed by the idea of lock down when it first happened. Many of us adjusted quickly and we can adjust just as quickly back to ‘normal’ life,” said Sokarno.
However, if you’re having trouble sleeping, noticing physical symptoms of anxiety or already feeling completely exhausted at the mere thought of re-entry, you may be dealing with more than reasonable hesitation.
According to Sokarno, here are some common signs you might be experiencing re-entry anxiety:
1. You’re worried about returning to your old life.
“Perhaps someone might be worried about returning to their old life – transitioning back to a full-time job, commute or juggling childcare routines can feel overwhelming,” she said.
2. You feel more scared than excited about ‘freedom day’.
“If you’re feeling nervous, stressed, scared or more apprehensive than excited about ‘freedom day’ (and life afterwards), you may be experiencing re-entry anxiety.”
3. You’re already feeling stressed about post-pandemic life.
“You might be feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed or an array of mixed feelings about life after lockdown and this could mean you’re suffering from this phenomenon.”
4. You’re imagining different scenarios.
“You could also be over-thinking future scenarios and playing out worst-case scenarios in your head. These types of symptoms can show that someone could be suffering from re-entry anxiety.”
Okay. How many of those did you just check off the list?
How to navigate re-entry.
While there may be a government plan in place for the easing of restrictions, that’s not to say you have to go in headfirst. It’s all about easing yourself back into it (as much as you can) and trying to find a balance that works for you.
This might mean taking a step back on the social front, and only meeting up with one close friend for the first few times and seeing how you feel. Or, if your place of work permits it, striking a balance between working from home and working from the office for the first few weeks.
Below, Sokarno lists seven ways to navigate re-entry:
1. Be kind to yourself.
“Please don’t worry if you’re not feeling excited about post-lock down life. We’ve all been through (and adjusted) to a really challenging time, so if you’re feeling anxious, show yourself some love and compassion,” she said.
2. Take things at your own pace.
While social media might make you feel otherwise, having excitement about ‘freedom day’ and getting ‘back to reality’ is a completely individualised thing.
“Try not to worry too much about how everyone else is reacting to going to post-lock down life. Instead, expose yourself to the new way of life at your own pace,” said Sokarno.
3. Don’t avoid things entirely.
It’s important to note, though – don’t completely reject the change. It’ll only make things more difficult in the long-run.
“While it might feel like the easiest way to overcome re-entry anxiety, please don’t avoid things altogether. Instead, take it slow, say yes to the things you know are important and gradually build up from there. Try to keep a good balance of being social and taking time for self-care.”
4. Ease your way into it.
Pssst: You don’t have to go from zero to a hundred. Take it at your own pace.
“Okay, so you might not want to go from spending every night home alone watching Netflix to spending every night surrounded by people at a party. This could feel overwhelming, so it’s better to start off small and ease your way into it. That could mean meeting a friend for coffee first instead of overwhelming yourself at a large gathering.”
Sokarno said it’s easy to get caught in a mental cycle of thinking worst-case scenario so try to catch yourself when you do it.
“Try to re-frame any unhelpful thoughts to find a different way to view the situation. Challenge any unhelpful thoughts with more positive scenarios.”
6. Focus on what you can control.
“If new situations or routines feel overwhelming, try to keep a sense of control over the things that you can control. This could mean your daily habits like exercising in the mornings or spending some time meditating – keep all those beneficial habits as a priority.”
Above all, know that you’re not alone in how you feel right now.
“Remind yourself that we’ve just experienced a global health pandemic, and it’s okay if you need help in getting through it. Turn to your support networks, whether that be friends, family, loved ones or even a professional.
Life has changed. And it’s going to change again. But we all need to move at our own pace.
It has been overly apparent that there are thousands are people who will need a gentle empathetic guiding hand into this new world. A facilitator. An accountability partner. An empowering force.
With Life Coaching being a billion dollar industry and growing exponentially, now is the time to take the path of self-development. Learn to overcome your own limiting beliefs and re-frame your mindset and in turn empower and facilitate the same process for others.
Well being and wellness has never been more important in our society and coaches are the glue that is going to help hold it together.
Do you see yourself becoming a Life Coach in the most critical time of our lives in history? Talk to us:
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As an individual, you are continually faced with challenges, difficulties and temporary setbacks. They are an unavoidable and inevitable part of being human. By learning how to manage stress and respond with a positive attitude to each challenge, you’ll grow as a person and start moving forward in life. In fact, without those setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and developed the qualities of your character to where they are today.
Much of your ability to succeed comes from the way you deal with life and manage stress. One of the characteristics of superior men and women is that they recognize the inevitability of temporary disappointments and defeats, and they accept them as a normal and natural part of life. They do everything possible to avoid problems, but when problems come, superior people respond with a positive attitude, learn from them, and keep moving forward in the direction of their dreams.
There is a natural tendency in all of us to react emotionally when our expectations are frustrated in any way. When something we wanted and hoped for fails to materialize, we feel a temporary sense of disappointment and unhappiness. We feel disillusioned and react as though we have been punched in the “emotional solar plexus”.
Manage Stress With A Positive Attitude
The optimistic person, however, knows how to manage stress in difficult situations and soon moves beyond this disappointment. He responds quickly to the adverse event and interprets it as being temporary, specific and external to himself. The optimist responds with a positive attitude, knows how to manage stress and counter the negative feelings by immediately reframing the event so that it appears positive in some way.
Since your conscious mind can hold only one thought at a time, either positive or negative, if you deliberately choose a positive thought to dwell upon, you keep your mind optimistic and your emotions positive. Since your thoughts and feelings determine your actions, you will tend to be a more constructive person, and you will start moving forward and more rapidly toward the goals that you have chosen.
It all comes down to the way you talk to yourself on a regular basis. In our courses of problem solving and decisions making, we encourage people to respond to problems by changing their language from negative to positive. Instead of using the word problem, we encourage people to use the word situation. You see, a problem is something that you deal with. The event is the same. It’s the way you interpret the event to yourself that makes it sound and appear completely different.
Even better than situation is the word challenge. Whenever you have a difficulty, immediately reframe it, choose to view it as a challenge, and start moving forward. Rather than saying, “I have a problem,” say, “I have an interesting challenge facing me.” The word challenge is inherently positive. It is something that you rise to that makes you stronger and better. It is the same situation, only the word that you are using to describe it is different.
The best of all possible words to maintain a positive attitude and manage stress is the word opportunity. When you are faced with a difficulty of any kind, instead of saying, “I have a problem,” you can say, “I am faced with an unexpected opportunity.” And if you concentrate your powers on finding out what that opportunity is—even if it is only a valuable lesson—you will certainly find it. As the parable says, “Seek and ye shall find, for all who seek find it.”
Moving Forward And Thinking Positive
Here are four ideas you can use to help you to maintain a positive attitude and manage stress:
First, resolve in advance that no matter what happens, you will not allow it to get you down. You will respond with a constructive and positive attitude. You will take a deep breath, relax and look for whatever good the situation may contain.
Second, neutralize any negative thoughts or emotions by speaking to yourself positively all the time. Say things like, “I feel healthy! I feel happy! I feel terrific!” As you go about your job, say to yourself, I like myself, and I love my work!” According to the law of expression, whatever is expressed is impressed. Whatever you say to yourself or others is impressed deeply into your subconscious mind and is likely to become a permanent part of your personality.
Third, remember that it is impossible to learn and grow and become a successful person without adversity and difficulties. You must learn to manage stress and rise above the difficulties in order to become a better person. Welcome each difficulty by saying, “That’s good!” and then look into the situation to find the good in it.
Finally, start moving forward in life by keeping your thoughts on your goals, dreams, and on the person you are working toward becoming. When things go wrong temporarily, respond by saying to yourself, “I believe in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life.” Resolve to maintain a positive attitude, be cheerful, and resist every temptation toward negativity and disappointment. View a disappointment as an opportunity to grow stronger, and about it to yourself and others in a positive and optimistic way.
As a leader, one of your most important roles is to coach your people to do their best. By doing this, you’ll help them make better decisions, solve problems that are holding them back, learn new skills, and otherwise progress their careers.
Some people are fortunate enough to get formal training in coaching. However, many people have to develop this important skill themselves. This may sound daunting but, if you arm yourself with some proven techniques, practice, and trust your instincts, you can become a great coach.
The GROW Model is a simple yet powerful framework for structuring your coaching.
About the Model
GROW stands for:
- Current Reality.
- Options (or Obstacles).
- Will (or Way Forward).
The model was originally developed in the 1980s by business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore.
A good way of thinking about the GROW Model is to think about how you’d plan a journey. First, you decide where you are going (the goal), and establish where you currently are (your current reality). You then explore various routes (the options) to your destination. In the final step, establishing the will, you ensure that you’re committed to making the journey, and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.
How to Use the Tool
To structure a coaching or mentoring session using the GROW Model, take the following steps:
1. Establish the Goal
First, you and your team member need to look at the behavior that you want to change, and then structure this change as a goal that they want to achieve.
Make sure that this is a SMART goal: one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
When doing this, it’s useful to ask questions like:
- How will you know that your team member has achieved this goal? How will you know that the problem or issue is solved?
- Does this goal fit with their overall career objectives? And does it fit with the team’s objectives?
2. Examine the Current Reality
Next, ask your team member to describe their current reality.
This is an important step. Too often, people try to solve a problem or reach a goal without fully considering their starting point, and often they’re missing some information that they need in order to reach their goal effectively.
As your team member tells you about their current reality, the solution may start to emerge.
Useful coaching questions in this step include the following:
- What is happening now (what, who, when, and how often)? What is the effect or result of this?
- Have you already taken any steps toward your goal?
- Does this goal conflict with any other goals or objectives?
3. Explore the Options
Once you and your team member have explored the current reality, it’s time to determine what is possible – meaning all of the possible options for reaching their objective.
Help your team member brainstorm as many good options as possible. Then, discuss these and help them decide on the best ones.
By all means, offer your own suggestions in this step. But let your team member offer suggestions first, and let them do most of the talking. It’s important to guide them in the right direction, without actually making decisions for them.
Typical questions that you can use to explore options are as follows:
- What else could you do?
- What if this or that constraint were removed? Would that change things?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
- What factors or considerations will you use to weigh the options?
- What do you need to stop doing in order to achieve this goal?
- What obstacles stand in your way?
4. Establish the Will
By examining the current reality and exploring the options, your team member will now have a good idea of how they can achieve their goal.
That’s great – but in itself, this may not be enough. The final step is to get your team member to commit to specific actions in order to move forward toward their goal. In doing this, you will help them establish their will and boost their motivation.
Useful questions to ask here include:
- So, what will you do now, and when? What else will you do?
- What could stop you moving forward? How will you overcome this?
- How can you keep yourself motivated?
- When do you need to review progress? Daily, weekly, monthly?
Finally, decide on a date when you’ll both review their progress. This will provide some accountability, and allow them to change their approach if the original plan isn’t working.
You’re helping a team member, Julie, achieve her goals using the GROW Model.
Julie says that she would like a promotion to team leader within the next two years. This is a SMART goal – it’s specific, measurable, attainable (as she already has one year of experience, and there are several team leader positions in her department), relevant (both to Julie’s overall career aspirations and the team’s mission), and time-bound.
You and Julie now look at her current reality. She’s in an entry-level position, but she already has some of the skills needed to be team leader. You brainstorm the additional skills that she’ll need in order to be successful in a team leader role: She needs more experience of managing other people, and experience dealing with overseas customers. She also needs to continue performing well in her role, so that she’ll be considered for a promotion when one is available.
You then both review her options. To get the experience she needs, she could lead a small team on a small project. She could also spend time in the overseas team.
Finally, you establish the will. As her manager, you offer to let her lead a small team on a minor project. If she performs well, she can take on additional projects with more responsibility in the future. Julie must also approach the overseas team to arrange to spend time in that department, and continue performing well in her current role. You agree to review her progress in three months’ time.
Life coaching is a rapidly growing industry and life coaches are springing up everywhere, with plenty of training courses also capitalising on the boom. And while in some circles they’re all the rage, the rest of us may be wondering what the fuss is about. So just what is life coaching, what do coaches do and how do you find a good one?
In a nutshell, “the role of life coaching is to identify personally meaningful goals, as well as strategies to achieve them – whether it’s re-energising yourself and your career, setting up a business, or meeting some health goal,” saysDr Anthony Grant, director of theCoaching Psychology Unitat the University of Sydney.
Jenny Devine is president elect of theInternational Coach Federation (ICF) Australasia, a professional association for coaches, including life coaches. She sees the role of the coaching process as helping an individual to create a vision of where they want to go in their life, supporting them, and helping them to find the strategies they need to get where they want or need to go.
Devine emphasises the collaborative process of hiring a life coach, pointing to the ICF’s definition of coaching, which is “Partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.”
“It’s absolutely what we’re about,” she explains. “It’s a partnership, where we work together. It’s not a hierarchical relationship, where we [the coach] tell you what to do.”
What it’s not
Coaching is not therapy, and life coaches aren’t necessarily trained to deal with mental health issues. If there are major psychological issues holding you back – such as anxiety, depression or distressing events from your past – speaking to apsychologistwould be more appropriate. Similarly, if there are dysfunctional patterns in your work or personal life that keep occurring, a psychologist may be better able to help you resolve these.
However, given the high prevalence of mental health issues in the community, it’s inevitable life coaches will come across people with other issues.
According to Dr Grant, “A high proportion of people will have some anxiety or depression – maybe as high as 40%. Coaches don’t deal with treating anxiety and depression. On the other hand, when people have some goals and are able to achieve them, the anxiety or depression may also improve.”
While some life coaches may have a background in psychology, specialist coaching psychologists offer the best of both worlds, being highly trained in both areas to better enable them to offer the right advice and guidance for people in need of additional help. An ethically minded life coach will identify when they’re out of their depth and refer the client to a psychologist or other mental health professional.
The other major misconception about life coaches is that they give advice and tell you what you should do. If this is what you need, a business consultant, a personal trainer or a mentor might suit you better. Life coaches are trained to get you to identify what it is you want and how you might achieve that.
What aspects of life do they coach you in?
Many life coaches choose to specialise in a particular area, depending on their own particular interests and expertise. As they are often coaching as a second or third career, or as a sideline to their main career, they may have extensive experience in their specialty area.
- Executive coachingcan help with time-management skills, motivation, managing stress, encouraging innovative thinking, leadership skills and achieving work–life balance.
- Business coachingis for business owners looking for strategies to establish, grow and/or adapt their business and helps with goal setting, motivation and stress management.
- Workplace coachingtends to be implemented organisationally, and focuses on individual and team performance, motivation, team building, change management and specific workplace problems.
- Career coachingcan help people with career changes and with transition – whether voluntary or forced via redundancy or sacking – or re-entering the workforce. It can also help identify personal strengths, interests and motivations relevant to job satisfaction.
- Health and wellness coachingcan help people identify and change lifestyle patterns that have a negative effect on health, looking at nutrition, exercise, stress and work-life balance.
- Life cycle or life stages coachingaddresses changes or transitions associated with particular stages of life, for example changes in family structure, career changes, and changes in an individual’s sense of purpose.
- Relationship coachingaddresses issues that affect the ability to have successful relationships.
The main areas of coaching in Australia are executive, leadership and business coaching.
What are their credentials?
One of the biggest bugbears among industry professionals is the lack of regulation of life coach credentials and qualifications. As it stands, anyone can call themselves a life coach, with little or no specific training in coaching. For consumers wanting to employ a life coach, qualifications and membership of a professional organisation are important indicators of the person’s coaching credentials.
At one end of the qualification scale (assuming they’ve had any training at all) is a “Certified Life Coach”. We found an online course for only US$69.99 “which could take you from 1 week to a month” to complete and at the end you get an official-looking logo and can “display the credentials ‘Certified Life Coach’ on all your business correspondence”. Credentials, maybe. But credibility? Not so much.
At the other end is Masters level postgraduate training through university-level psychology schools, which takes two years full time, following the minimum three years for a relevant undergraduate degree. In between are Certificate IV, Diploma and Bachelor’s degree qualifications.
Many life coaches will have additional qualifications – psychology, counselling, health sciences, business and marketing are typical – which increase their expertise in these areas.
The main professional association for life coaches in Australia isICF Australasia. Other associations include the Asia Pacific Alliance of Coaches (APAC), theInternational Association of Coachingand theAssociation for Coaching.
Members of these organisations have to meet certain skills, training and experience requirements, and must have a recognised qualification in life coaching. They also have to abide by a code of ethics, which gives clients some recourse if the coach has acted unethically. ICF operates internationally with cross-border jurisdiction, which is useful in the digital age where clients can be coached by someone overseas.
Level of training and experience
ICF offers different levels of credentials, depending on the amount of training and experience the coach has. Associate coach is the starting point, followed by professional coach, then master coach. These certification levels should be considered in the context of other qualifications and experience. For example, a psychologist or business consultant who’s an associate coach might have only the minimum of coaching experience, but a wealth of professional experience and expertise to draw on.
It is definitely a good idea to look for some level of accreditation with one of the main professional associations though, when considering a life coach, even if only so you will have an avenue of recourse should something go wrong.
What happens in coaching?
Starting with an initial meeting, where the issues confronting the client are discussed and the scope of coaching is established, some early priorities and desired outcomes are established. This may include setting some short-term goals as well as longer-term ones.
The theoretical underpinnings of the approach used vary according to the training and background of the coach, but all are based on a solution-focused, goal-directed process that leads towards achieving insight and actionable plans. According to Jenny Devine, coaching tends to work pretty quickly, and after a couple of sessions you should be feeling a sense of progress.
Meetings may take place regularly or on an as-needed basis, and while it very much depends on the particular situation, Devine suggests that six to 12 sessions is about the average number required, though some coaching may go on for years.
How much does it cost?
A survey conducted on behalf of ICF found that the average hourly rate for life coaching was around $300. Coaching costs which are related to an individual earning income – for example, executive coaching or leadership skills – may be tax deductible.
Finding a life coach
If you’ve decided a life coach could be helpful to you, your next step is to find one. Apart from word of mouth or searching online for ‘life coach’, the ICF Australasia website has amember directory.
What to look for
- First and foremost, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the coach, and that you can trust them. When you meet the coach for the first time, how well do you click? Do you understand each other?
- What are the coach’s life coaching credentials? Do they have other qualifications, and what relevant experience do they have? Also, what’s their specialty area?
- Are they a member of either the ICF or another professional association?
- What sort of interaction do they use? Some coaches do only face-to-face coaching (or may do so initially), some do Skype, VoIP, telephone or email coaching, and some do a mixture of methods.
- Is the coach readily available and do they encourage you to contact them? How quickly can they get back to you via telephone or email? 24/7 access isn’t realistic, but you don’t want to be waiting days for a response.
- Consider overseas coaches. With easy access via Skype and other communication options, it could be worth considering, especially in highly specialised areas. It could even be preferable for some, when taking time differences into account.
Despite consumer concerns about the lack of industry regulation and the qualifications of people calling themselves ‘life coaches’, there are surprisingly few complaints made about life coaches.
Dr Grant puts this down partly to the clients, pointing out that most people are pretty resilient even in the face of things going wrong. However, life coaches do generally act ethically, and don’t go beyond their professional boundaries – that is, they’re helping people find their own solutions rather than advising them.
Fiona Toy, spokesperson for ICF, agrees. She adds that most of the complaints they have received have been about life coaches who aren’t members of ICF, which means the ICF can’t take action. If clients do have a complaint about a life coach, they should contact the professional organisation to which the coach belongs – which is in itself a good reason to look for a coach with ICF or professional membership.
Do your due diligence to ensure you are not spending time and money on something that is not going to work for you.