Be ready for the process! It will require you to step out into action - less thinking and more doing. The 'business' of living a fulfilled life isn't necessarily easy. Addressing challenging decisions requires one to recognize behavioral patterns, and awareness of the emotions at play (EQ) which at times can touch the epicenter of one's nerves. When you are truly ready, however, the work is very rewarding. Changing old habits is actually POSSIBLE as well as enlightening. Believe it or not it can be fun, too!
#1 What is coaching?
The International Coach Federation (ICF) definition is:
“Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”
An expanded description is:
Coaching is a process of discovery, awareness, choice, and action designed to address every aspect of your life (your career, money, health, and relationships), resulting in a sense of empowerment, fulfillment, and celebration of your true talents. It is a wellness model that is based on the true and solid belief in human potential and positivity. You, as the client, design the agenda and through a spacious, creative, challenging, and encouraging process, your vision is put in focus and you will gain full control over your choices and actions.
#2 What are the differences between coaching and therapy?
Both therapy and coaching offer tools to help us better understand our lives, our makings, and our motivations as well as to take a look at uncharted territories that may affect our behaviors and overall well being.
Both professions are grounded in different theories and use distinct tools although there is a growing trend among therapists to incorporate valuable coaching skills into their practices.
The departure point for both is strikingly different. The Merriam Webster Definition of therapy is: “Treatment of a bodily, mental, or behavioral disorder.” In one respect, considering the root of the professions, therapists work from the perspective of pathology, from the assumption that something is wrong with the patient or the patient’s life that has to be fixed or addressed in order for the patient to progress. By contrast, coaches approach the client with the firm belief system that clients are creative, resourceful, and whole from the moment of contact. The emphasis is on connecting or reconnecting the client with their resourceful, resilient, and positive self and from there striving for their highest goals, where fulfillment resides. The process, though, doesn’t skip acknowledging and charting troublesome territories such as negative past experiences, self-limiting beliefs, or self-critics (AKA saboteurs, gremlins etc.) and their ‘tolls’.
Iris... lends her strength
With that in mind, both professions have their limitations. Coaching is by no means a replacement for therapy! It works really well with individuals that are motivated to change their lives and refresh their ‘default’ approach to living. Both professions can compliment one another and clients can benefit from working with both a therapist and a coach simultaneously.
The processes of both professions can be also dramatically different. Therapists, especially classically trained ones, tend to stay neutral and are less collaborative. While listening, they assess and dissect and are on alert for things like transference, countertransference, the type of an appropriate DSM-IV diagnosis, and pathology. They will interpret a behavior as it presents in a client and assign pathological motives to such behaviors.
In coaching, one of the most valuable tools is curiosity. Coaches are trained to listen on a deeper level and to ask powerful and insightful questions that bring great awareness to the surface. Their work with the client is collaborative and the exchange is often very dynamic. The role of the client is essential; they are an equally powerful part of the process. They bring the agenda and do much of the ‘digging’ while the coach makes sure they stay focused so that they dig where there’s gold.
One powerful tool that differentiates coaching from therapy is client accountability. Therapists sometimes give homework, but in coaching the homework is crucial in propelling the clients forward in healing, in extinguishing crippling truths, behaviors, actions, and beliefs, and in establishing new truths. Good coaches will hold their clients accountable and, in so doing, will help their clients recognize their own power in changing their reality. How awesome that is?!
NOTE: Here is an excellent link on the CTI site with a clear diagram that illustaetes the differences: Coaches Training Institute
#3 Are there professional standards for the coaching industry?
Yes, there is a coaching code of ethics, and coaches undergo core competency and accreditation processes. Additionally, an International Coach Federation (ICF) promotes the advancement of the coaching profession (www.coachfederation.org/ICF). I was trained in Co-Active Coaching® at the Coaches Training Institute® (CTI). CTI’s founders were actively involved in the creation of the International Coaching Federation, and the Institute is the world’s first ICF-accredited coach training program.
#4 What advice do you have for a customer looking
to hire a provider like you?
I highly recommend interviewing at least three professionals before choosing one. Most offer free sample sessions for that purpose- use this great gift!
Look for someone you have a great connection with. TRUST is the base for this relationship, and I believe that it has to be present in the relationship from the outset.
Come prepared to your sample session and ask detailed questions. Pay attention to your role in this relationship. Are you an active participant or passive? Who's setting the agenda? Are the assignments that you are given getting to the heart of your issues? Is there deep learning in each session as well as steady progress and growth?
Listen to your intuition and choose. Good luck!
#5 Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
I am driven by an earnest desire to help others THRIVE (not just cope)! I believe that despite the hardships that we go through, we can flourish and learn to cherish the moments of joy that are woven into the fabric of our challenging lives. I am a positive and super resourceful person, and I truly appreciate and honor people and celebrate the diversity of our species.
In addition to my excellent coaching tools and rich life experience, I bring curiosity, sincerity, compassion, vision, kindness, and humor to an already powerful process. I encourage my clients, family, and friends to embrace resourcefulness, resilience, persistence, and creativity. My coaching yields results and learnings that STICK!
I live every day and minute from the most authentic place of my being.
I walk the talk and always follow my heart’s desires even when the paths I choose are the most challenging ones.
It is an absolute pleasure and honor to be part of someone’s transformation and to witness those individuals celebrate their gifted selves or simply enhance their lives!
I specifically love the collaborative aspect of the Co-Active Coaching model I’m using; the fact that it addresses one's entire life is vitally important. My work experience proves, again and again, that all the elements of the 'pie' of our lives are tightly connected (career, spirituality, fun and recreation, family and friends, significant others, physical environment, money) and when one is out of balance, other elements are affected.
#6 What important information should clients have thought through before seeking you out?
#7 What do you like most about your job?
I help connect people with their primal inner fire, passion, values and the joy of living. What's not to like here? I love that my work isn't work; it is a calling and a privilege. I greatly appreciate the transparency of the process and the sheer honesty and tight connection between coach and client. In addition, the impact of coaching, unlike therapy (which is a slower process), can be immediate. After a short singular session, it is possible for coachees to step out of the experience shaken and touched to their core. The simple power of generating new perspectives helps them feel recharged and motivated. I find it very touching and exciting! Again, it is beautiful to be able to reveal the hidden treasures in each individual. This process of deep inquiry and reflection allows my clients to see the treasures (strengths and talents) in themselves and to celebrate those qualities as well as recognize their blind spots, triggers, and weaknesses and alter them if necessary or simply accept them. This process is not only rewarding for both coach and client, it is empowering as well!
#8 What is your greatest strength?
My tough life experiences taught me the power of being humble and the ability to empathize with others. My excellent listening skills and natural ability to see the beauty, strengths, and potential in people help me anchor my clients and mirror to them their own powers. My coaching style balances the qualities of a tough coach, who sees the ultimate potential of a talented athlete, and a fun cheerleader.
I bring great sincerity, various skills, enthusiasm, trust, creativity, fun, and passion to the process and I expect my clients to be just as committed.