I want to tell you about my experience of having life coaching. I was recently presented with the fantastic opportunity to have a series of free group life coaching sessions with a Dr Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. Deborah Chalk is a trained life coach and career coach and was motivated to offer the free sessions in order to empower women through her work. Two of my school friends are trained life coaches and it is of great interest to me so I thought it was too good an opportunity to miss. Having a chance to learn something new about myself and experience coaching first hand sounded great to me.
What is a life coach?
A life coach is someone who aims to help and empower others to make, meet and exceed personal and professional goals. This can be anything from workplace goals to relationship goals. Using core psychological principles and client intuition, life coaches provide the tools to help their clients move forward. They will not tell you what to do, they will not offer their advice or opinions, instead they empower their clients to help themselves.
As Deborah explained to our group, it is the brain equivalent of a personal trainer at the gym.
The basic principles behind life coaching include:
1) Guidance: A life coach acts as a guide providing the tools and support a person needs to do something for themselves.
2) Empowerment: with the help of life coaching, anyone can build confidence and strength to control their own life. (I love this principle as it is a key focus for my blog)
3) Subjectivity: sometimes a shift in perspective can open up a new way of doing things, and a life coach can help you make that shift.
I must point out that coaching is not for everyone. It is designed for people who are coping well with their everyday lives but perhaps need a little direction or encouragement. It is not for people suffering with depression and cannot replace therapy. Life coaches are not qualified to diagnose or treat mental health problems and so they would suggest you see your GP first and foremost.
What happened in our first session?
The group sessions took place over Skype and the group consisted of me and two other ladies. Deborah introduced herself and gave us a bit about her background, and explained that we were to sign a contract which sets the boundaries of our work. It covers confidentiality and that we understand the basis of the coaching.
It was explained that any decisions we make are our decisions, and that we are the expert in our own lives. We are to follow our own intuition and we are responsible for our own actions and outcomes.
We then had an opportunity to introduce ourselves to the rest of the group. It was fascinating to hear about the stories of the other clients.
Deborah then gave us an exercise to complete. It is called The Living Space Tool. We were given five minutes to write down what is the least favourite part of our living space. We were then given another five minutes to write down the favourite part of our living space. This tool uses your home as a metaphor for your life by noticing what you don’t like and what you do like about your home and then applying it to yourself.
What did I write?
There is a part of our home outside the kitchen door which houses the bins and my husband’s tool box and gardening equipment. I guess you would call it a vestibule as it is covered in this horrible plastic roof which I can’t clean because you can’t access it. It is a cluttered space and I don’t know where anything is. I refer to it as my husband’s man cave. Interestingly it is his favourite part of the house, as it is where he gets the most peace and quiet! I have no control over this area which confirms something I already knew about myself. I am somewhat of a control freak and a bit of a perfectionist.
On the flip side, my favourite part of our home is the living room. It is a light, uncluttered and airy room which opens out onto the garden. It is where I have cuddles on the sofa with my children, where my husband and I relax, where we socialise with friends and family and where my children play. Deborah asked me to consider how I could apply this to myself. I guess it would suggest that I have a light personality, my family and friends mean a great deal to me and I am sociable.
For our homework, Deborah asked us to practise being more mindful and conscious. Over the week and when we were able to, she asked us to record in a notebook the following:
- What am I thinking?
- What am I feeling?
- Where am I feeling it?
I thought the life coaching session was fascinating. It was great doing it in a group as it enabled us to share ideas and experiences, and I really enjoyed hearing the other women speak. I cannot wait for Session 2 which you can read about here next week. To ensure you don’t miss out, click here to sign up to my blog.
Have you ever had life coaching lessons? What was your experience and did you benefit from it? I would love to hear from you.