WHY SHOULD I HAVE A COACH?
Here's the truth. You have all that you need, and you need all that you have. That is to say, you already have all the resources you need to solve all of your problems. The thing is, you need to actually use all the resources you have available to you. These problem-solving resources are contained in your relationships. Inner relationships to yourself and outer relationships to others. Coaching is just a way to help you discover, access, and expand your relational resources. The more of these resources you are consistently using. i.e. the more you're supporting and being supported by your relationships, the more aliveness you feel. The more aliveness you feel, the more easily you pursue goals and solve problems in life.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ALIVENESS?
Aliveness is the feeling of connection to the living world, connection to ourselves and connection to other living beings. Stated plainly, aliveness is more or less a combination of motivation to grow stronger and gratitude for simply breathing. Aliveness comes from our relationships. As humans, we are fundamentally created and sustained by our relationships. These are our resources. All of our failures and successes in life are determined by the quality of our relationships to ourselves and others. When we feel connected, we feel more alive (more motivated to grow and more grateful for just breathing). When we feel disconnected, we feel less alive. Good coaching helps you feel more connected to yourself, empowering you to improve your relationships. Good coaching is also, itself, a relationship.
WHAT IS THE COACHING RELATIONSHIP?
The coaching relationship is a special type of relationship. It focuses on helping you use all the resources available to you by improving the quality of all your relationships. This makes coaching a meta-relationship, exponentially useful in generating aliveness. The coaching relationship is a partnership between equals (the client and coach). The client brings the energy of wanting to solve their problems and increase their life satisfaction. The coach brings full presence, a calm and open space that allows the client's energy to grow and transform. Done right, it's powerful and inspiring, an evolution of both client and coach, human-to-human. Each coaching session is about cultivating a coaching relationship in which deep insight and simple solutions present themselves easily. The client then goes back into their daily life, and the inner resources they ignited in the coaching session spread through their life, growing automatically.
HOW IS COACHING DIFFERENT FROM THERAPY?
Generally, coaching focuses on the client's current struggles arising from the present: achieving goals, managing stress, increasing life satisfaction, building resilient relationships, enhancing motivation, and sharpening the mind. Therapy tends to deal with more mysterious psychological issues that involve pain and trauma from the past, like an injury that's not quite healed. Although the analogy is not perfect, you can think of the difference between a therapist and a coach like the difference between a physical therapist and a personal trainer. When you have an injury that's been around for a while, maybe preventing you from being able to walk easily or lift objects, you go to a physical therapist who helps you heal and rehab your injured joints. When you just want to get in better shape, have more freedom and functionality, and improve your overall relationship with your body, you go to a good personal trainer. Therapists help you heal psychological injuries. Coaches help you stretch your social-emotional resources and lift heavier goals.
WHAT TYPE OF PERSON HAS A COACH?
Everybody needs a coach sometimes. Even coaches have coaches (and their coaches have coaches)! Anyone who wants to love their life, achieve their goals without suffering, and feel more connected to the world can benefit from coaching. That being said, it requires a bit of courage. Anyone willing to practice courage by showing up and facing their challenges head on (but with help) is a great candidate for coaching. Everyone can do it, but not everyone is ready for it. Many people spend years not getting coaching because they think it will mean they've "failed" because they haven't solved all of their problems on their own. Of course, the truth is that we never solve problems on our own. We always solve problems through our relationships with others, i.e. by using all the resources available to us. Someone trying to solve all of their problems on their own is an example of not using all the resources available to them, which means holding themselves back. It doesn't work that well. Coaching is a method of finding and using all the resources available to the client, so they can solve problems in their life more easily. The coaching relationship exponentially improves the client's ability to solve problems because the coaching relationship helps them improve their other relationships. This gives them more access to essential resources for solving life's big problems.
HOW IS A POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY BASED COACH DIFFERENT FROM A LIFE COACH?
Positive Psychology is a branch of psychology that researches optimal human functioning. Positive psychology researchers identify people who are most satisfied with their lives (and/or who live the longest), figure out what strategies those particular people are using, and then see what happens when other people adopt those strategies. Some strategies improve people's lives. Some don't as much. As a positive psychology based coach, Dave uses research to help his clients increase their life satisfaction. In standard life coaching, there is no "teaching" by the coach. As described above, the coaching relationship is a partnership of equals. In positive psychology based coaching, the same is true, but there is the added option for the client to learn about the science of optimal human functioning as well. This can help if a client is trying to construct a self-care routine, or they want to change their self talk regarding an area of their lives, and they want to know what practices or techniques have been shown to be most effective by research.
HOW MANY COACHING SESSIONS DO PEOPLE USUALLY SIGN UP FOR?
Different coaches have different programs and schedules. As described above, the EffortWise program is 4 weeks long, with 1 hour-long session per week. Many clients do just the 4 weeks and then feel excited to use the framework on their own. Often, clients will bring up other issues they would like support with, aside from the coaching program, which means they will often continue coaching for longer than 4 weeks. Some clients choose to do more sessions but spread them out, so they have ongoing support from the coaching relationship, but with less financial investment.
WHAT DOES A COACHING SESSION LOOK LIKE?
While coaching sessions vary substantially, depending on the needs of the client, they do tend to follow a progression. They usually start with the client reviewing their current situation. What they're happy with, what they're struggling with, what they're curious or worried about. That creates a context for the work of the session. Then, the client decides on one or two issues in particular that are most pressing to them. In the EffortWise coaching program, there might be a theme of the session and a mind-body activity to help the client develop insight, connection to themselves, and a deeper understanding of effective problem solving (click here for more details about the coaching program). Every coaching session is punctuated with breathing. Every natural pause in the conversation is a moment for a deliberate pause to reconnect the mind and body and find greater presence. Finding full presence is a phenomenal source of solutions and insights, so we do this often. Each session ends with a plan for effortlessly bringing the energy of the coaching process into the client's daily life.
HOW DO I KNOW IF A COACH IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR ME?
This is the most important question, and the answer is very simple. The best coach for you is the one you feel safest with, the one you feel most able to connect with, human-to-human. Positive psychology based coaches are not necessarily better than regular life coaches. No coaches are necessarily better than any others. It all comes down to the human connection. That's because we transform through relationships. If you feel an easy, safe connection with a coach, that's the coach who's most likely to help you transform your life. Even if you like what a coach says, how they describe themselves and their insights about your situation, if you don't feel in your gut that you're emotionally safe with them, you won't be able to make progress with them. Progress requires opening up and letting yourself fall apart a bit, so you can put yourself back together in a way that's more aligned with who you want to be. You can't fall apart unless you feel safe. Don't go with the coach who sounds the most "impressive," go with the one who makes you feel safest and most at ease.