Pretty much everyone will have seen the effect sports coaches had on the UK Olympic Team, helping sportsmen and women to improve their performance to levels they may not have imagined they could achieve.
The importance and talent of sports coaches is even acknowledged to the extent that the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards includes a category dedicated to the Coach of the Year.
Sports coaches use their experience and training to help athletes evaluate the options open to them, offering advice on ways to improve their performance so they can achieve a higher standard in their chosen sports discipline.
The outcomes are entirely down to the athlete concerned. They decide which options to try first, then apply and practice them, before seeing if the suggested way forward is making a positive difference to their results and moving them from one level to a higher level.
How does sports coaching translate to life coaching?
Personal Development and Life Coaching is essentially the same with the coach helping people to create positive outcomes in their work or personal lives. The coach provides the level of encouragement, support, guidance and motivation to empower clients to have the confidence to make decisions, apply considered solutions, and use these to help them succeed (and be the best they can be).
A typical starting point is for the Personal Development and Life Coach to use their questioning and listening skills to help the client identify the most important priorities in their life (for either work or personal challenges).
The coach can then use proven coaching models to help the client establish ways to tackle their most pressing challenges, while instilling the confidence for them to undertake the solution in bite-sized, manageable pieces. The aim is simple: to empower clients to take the action(s) required to help them reach their goals.
How does this differ from mentoring or counselling?
A Personal Development and Life Coach doesn’t give suggestions, advice or sort out personal, marital or health problems for clients; that is very much the realm or a therapist, mentor or counsellor.
For instance, a therapist will help clients to explore the past in order to uncover what is stopping a person from going forward; a counsellor will listen to concerns and anxieties; and a mentor is likely to share their own experiences and offer useful hints and tips, while a consultant will usually give the most logical advice.
Personal Development and Life Coaching is not just about people reaching their aspirations; it is very much aligned to helping people find their direction in life, especially if they feel a bit lost or stuck.
People don’t always know what they want in their lives, but they certainly know what they don’t want. By having a structured conversation, listening and identifying their personal goals, clients can explore a range of options and identify manageable step-by-step actions to make positive life changes.
The Life Coach’s role in this is to help the person concerned to achieve the end result more quickly than they would have done by trying to tackle it alone; in much the same way that a Sports Coach uses their experience, training and knowledge to benefit the athletes they help.
The Historic Definition of “Coaching”
The term “coaching” originates from the Anglo-Saxon word for “carriage”, i.e. a means of transporting something or someone from one place to another.
You can see how this has translated into the modern definition of “coaching” in all its forms, and for Life Coaches it shows how we guide individuals from where they are now in life to where they want to be.
If you feel lost or stuck in a rut and would like to find out more about Personal Development and Life Coaching please contact me for an initial, free discussion, to see how coaching can help you.