- 01. What Exactly is Life Coaching?
- 02. How Do I Prepare for My First Life Coaching Session?
- 03. What Should I Prepare Before a Life Coaching Session?
- 04. What to Expect in Life Coaching Sessions
- 05. What Does a Typical Life Coaching Session Look Like?
- 06. How Is a Typical Life Coaching Session Structured?
While life coaches are certainly there to help, they're not the only ones who'll be doing the work. To prepare for life coaching (and decide whether or not it's right for you), let's have a look at what life coaching is and what your role is.
What Exactly is Life Coaching?
Just as an athlete works with a coach to further their athletic career, improve their performance, and win games, a life coach works with clients to provide them with the skills, techniques, and strategies needed to achieve their own goals.
You should be aware that life coaching is more about the big picture and tends to look at career goals, relationship goals, and generally helping people to find more purpose in their lives through these goals.
Life coaching isn't a replacement for mental healthcare professionals like counselors or therapists. While your mental health can improve through life coaching, only clinical mental health professionals can diagnose or treat mental health conditions.
In the same way diet, exercise, and therapy can all help with your mental health, life coaching can be part of the solution, but just not all of it.
You should also know that life coaching is not healthcare so they can't charge their services to health insurance. Make sure you know exactly what life coaches should and shouldn't do before working with one.
How Do I Prepare for My First Life Coaching Session?
If you've decided that life coaching could be right for you, you should also know that while you'll be paying your life coach, you also have to do some of the work. In fact, life coaching can only work when both parties are working hard to achieve the goals you've decided upon.
You have to remember that even the best life coaches don't work miracles so to really get the most out of your life coaching, it can help to prepare. Before you've done any life coaching, it's understandable that you won't know exactly what's expected of you or how to have the most productive sessions.
Life coaching isn't something to do on a whim so you've hopefully thought long and hard about what you're looking for from your life coach and can bring this to your first session. However, if you knew exactly what you wanted and how to get it, then you wouldn't be looking for life coaching so, normally, there'll also be some uncertainty about what you need to do.
If you can, get in touch with your life coach beforehand and ask them what you can prepare or bring to the session for them. Ask them if there's anything you should be thinking about before attending the session and what they need from you to do their job to the best of their ability. Otherwise, just show up with an open mind and try to work with your life coach as much as you can.
What Should I Prepare Before a Life Coaching Session?
Once you find the right life coach and have had your first session, you and your coach should really decide on what you expect from one another.
This will include what you expect from them as well as what your coach will need from you. This may feel a bit like getting homework and that's because that's pretty much what it is.
While few people enjoy “homework”, it can help to remember that this “homework” is there to help you achieve your goals and, most importantly, get the most out of every minute you spend with your life coach.
As you'll be paying your life coach for their time, it makes financial sense to get as much as you can out of every session, even when this includes the things you need to do outside of the session.
It can help to have some goals prepared for the session. Again, what these are exactly can be decided by you and your life coach. Similarly, you should also want to attend each session in a good frame of mind. While it can be tough, especially if you've had a bad day, you mustn't waste your time in a session by being an unwilling participant.
Even if you're not feeling it or aren't in the mood for your session, it's useful to remember that the sessions are there to help you, and the more you participate and work with your life coach, the more you'll get out of each session.
To go back to the sports comparison, life coaching sessions are like training sessions. The more work you put in, the more you'll get out of them.
What to Expect in Life Coaching Sessions
It'll be much easier to participate in your life coaching sessions if you know what to expect. Life coaching focuses specifically on your goals so expect to talk about them.
They can't help you with your goals unless you're honest and let them know what they are. A life coaching session isn't the right time to feel shy or even embarrassed about your goals. Remember that you're going to have to talk about yourself and maybe even talk about personal things and sensitive topics.
Expect to put yourself out there a bit, but also remember that life coaching isn't therapy. You're not really there to talk about past experiences but rather to talk about your future expectations and goals.
Your life coach will want to discuss your goals for the future and offer support, strategies, and techniques to help you achieve these goals. Life coaches, much like sports coaches, also look to keep you motivated so that you're less likely to give up on your goals when things get tough.
What you shouldn't expect is that your life coach gives you some kind of miracle solution that fixes all your problems and turns you into a millionaire. While some of the support offered may seem small and even insignificant, you'll see that the smaller actionable changes are what really make the difference.
What Does a Typical Life Coaching Session Look Like?
As everybody is different, it's quite hard to define exactly what your coaching session will look like. What we can say, however, is that it's fairly common for a coaching session to last between 45 minutes and an hour.
This is generally because an hour is a unit of time that works well for scheduling and something that most people can fit into their weekly schedules.
It should be noted that not all life coaching sessions are held weekly and the frequency of your life coaching will depend on you and your goals. If you're planning to get help with some bigger goals, you may only need to check in with your life coach every other week or even once a quarter.
For smaller or more habitual goals, you may need to work with your life coach every week. The frequency of your life coaching will be something that you and your life coach decide upon together.
It's not uncommon for the coaching sessions to change over time based on your own progress and needs. Your first few sessions may be more general in nature as you establish your goals and work out what steps you need to take toward achieving them.
As you and your life coach get to know one another better, you may find the sessions are more effective and you won't need to see each other as often to get the most out of them. Again, life coaching is very flexible by design so these are all things you'll discuss together.
To work out how often you should see your life coach, talk regularly with your life coach.
How Is a Typical Life Coaching Session Structured?
We honestly can't stress enough how bespoke and tailored life coaching sessions tend to be, but in almost every case, they'll follow a fairly similar structure.
Much like with teaching, training sessions, etc., life coaching begins before the session starts, identifies problems or any area to be taught or worked on, then provides the student, athlete, or customer with a plan they can work on.
How this is divided up may change depending on the life coach, their training, their background, and what you're working on, but, generally, there are four main areas.
As we said, life coaching begins before each session and the efficacy of each session depends greatly on how much preparation both you and your life coach have done.
The more you prepare ahead of time, the more time you'll have in your session for working on it. However, there are always certain things that you and your life coach will need to prepare at the start of the session.
Analysis and Exploration
Once you've done your preparation, you and your life coach can go through your goals, discuss motivation, and analyze everything. This part of the session will be more loosely structured than later sections and this is where having an open mind and being an active participant will really help.
This is the part where your life coach brings their skills and expertise to the table. By going through what you've prepared and discussed, they'll work out where you are, where you need to be, and how you can get there.
Of course, you're part of this process, too, and it can be useful to be vocal about any concerns you have at this point.
Finally, once you have a plan, you should have actionable goals and things to work on. This whole process will have been a collaboration between you and your life coach and you should leave the session with a clear list of ideas and things to do between now and the next session, which will likely act as the preparation for your next session!
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