I recently had a dear friend reach out to me and ask me what does it mean exactly to work with a life coach.
This is a great question.
We hear a lot about life coaching and its benefits, but rarely do we know what the process actually looks like.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you are in the process of obtaining and/or are working with a life coach --
Before You Begin
1) A good thing to think about before you even begin the process of obtaining a life coach is what exactly you want to achieve from this process.
What area(s) of your life do you feel would benefit from life coaching the most? Are there any specific outcomes you'd like to achieve? Keep in mind that a lot of life coaches have a niche (i.e. relationship coaching, career coaching, weight loss coaching), so having a general idea of what you want to achieve can really be helpful in your quest for a compatible coach who will help you get the results you're dreaming of.
2) Take a look at your budget and see how much money you can allot to life coaching.
Most coaches offer rates for one coaching session, a package of coaching sessions, etc. If you find that the 1:1 rate is too expensive for you, ask if the life coach offers group coaching sessions and/or packages. This can help bring down the cost tremendously. You can also ask if the coach has an e-course that you can take that addresses the specific topic that you are interested in exploring.
Please keep in mind that the price you pay for life coaching services is an investment that you're making in yourself.
I equate life coaching to the training of Olympic athletes. Olympic athletes have the potential inside of themselves to win gold. Their coaches work with them so that they can be the best in their sport thru the use of specific exercises, training methodologies, etc. Sure, they could try to go at it by themselves, but they work with elite coaches because they know that the coach can help them get to where they want to go.
The same applies to you.
You can totally go at it alone and try to get results on your own. However, most life coaches have gone thru certification programs and have valuable life and career experience and teachings that they can share with you that can help you uplevel even faster.
It comes down to what you're willing to spend on yourself and your development, both personally and professionally.
The next steps will ensure that you get your money's worth.
3) Do your homework.
You can research online. You can ask your friends, colleagues, and family members for recommendations and/or referrals. Look at the life coach's website and social media platforms to get a feel for them and see if ya'll are energetically a good fit. You also want to make note of any certifications and/or trainings that they have under their belt as well as any relevant work experience. Ask yourself if you would feel comfortable working with a niche life coach (relationship, career, weight loss, finance, etc) and/or a specific type of life coach (male, female, African American, Latino, etc). The more research you do up front, the faster you can hit the ground running.
Starting the Coaching Process
4) Schedule your free consultation.
Most coaches offer a free 1:1 consultation to determine if ya'll are a good coaching fit. Make the most of this consultation by thinking about the following beforehand and discussing during the initial consultation --
- How do you like to be motivated?
- What area(s) of your life need your attention? What is important to you?
- What top 3 changes would you like to make in your life?
- Where in your life are you settling?
- What and who do you value?
- How would you determine that your coaching relationship has been successful? Are you looking for a specific outcome ("I got the promotion at my job.")? Are you looking for a feeling ("I am sleeping better and I am less anxious about the future.")? If you are uncertain, ask your life coach how he/she has measured success with other clients.
- What are your strengths and your weaknesses? If you know that follow-up is not your strong suit, make sure and let your coach know so that he/she can game plan with you. This can be something you two explore and work on together.
- How often do you want to work with your life coach? Do you want to meet with them weekly? Do you want to e-mail them throughout the week? What is his/her policy and/or recommendations?
Most coaches have some sort of initial application and or getting to know you questionnaire. Fill this out to the best of your ability. Don't half ass it or rush thru it.
The information you provide helps your coach think of strategies that may be beneficial to you.
Also, just going thru the exercise itself is beneficial to you because it may cause you to think of things that you hadn't previously considered.
5) At the end of your free consultation, determine your next steps.
Before you end your initial consultation, you want to know what the next steps are for you and your potential life coach. Will you be the one reaching out to the life coach to let him/her know that you're interested in proceeding?
Most life coaches have some sort of coaching agreement. Do you need to sign this before you start your official coaching relationship? What are payment terms?
Once You've Found Your Coach
6) Now that you've found your life coach, it's time to get to work.
The first part of the process is to become crystal clear on what it is that what to achieve. Believe it or not, this can actually take some time.
Most life coaches are trained to ask you questions that spark your creativity and get you in touch with parts of yourself that maybe you have ignored for a long time and/or you didn't know were there.
During your sessions, keep an open mind and answer every question to the best of your ability. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and to really think about what matters to you and what you want most of out of your life.
Remember you are paying for this service, so it makes the most sense to really do every exercise and answer every question to the best of your ability.
If you go into a coaching session thinking that you know it all, then you do. You won't learn anything new about yourself. You won't fully explore what's in your heart of hearts. You won't gain any new insights.
Take the approach of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and allow yourself the time to just be in exploration and discovery.
You may get frustrated during this part of the process because you want to know the answer and know it immediately. Give yourself the space, time, and permission to work thru what is coming up for you, so that you can realize your potential in a way that is meaningful and enjoyable.
7) Once you have gotten clear on what you want, where you want to go and/or what your purpose is, set goals that align with your truth.
Now that you have a clear sense of what you'd like to achieve, work with your coach to set goals that are CARDI B. That is, goals that are cookie sized, actionable, relevant to your truth, deadline oriented, impactful, and require the best of you.
Make sure that you have access to these goals at all times.
Whether it is writing them in your planner, journal, a note on your smartphone, in an e-mail, on your social media platforms, make sure that your goals are everywhere because out of sight, out mind.
8) Once you have set goals, work with your coach to create a strategy to achieve your goals and to hold you accountable.
Your life coach can help you craft a customized plan that is authentic to you and helps you to stay focused and accountable for your actions.
The reality is that when we start working on a project, we are super hype because it's fresh and new. After we've been at it for awhile, it's really easy to hit a plateau and get discouraged.
A life coach keeps you accountable, motivates you and helps you remember why you started in the first place.
Achieving Your Potential
9) Constantly review your progress with your life coach.
It's really easy to get lazy and complacent when you're creating change in your life, especially if you're tired and/or frustrated that things aren't coming together as fast as you'd like.
By checking in with your life coach, you are always aware of where exactly you are in the process and you can pivot and/or reformat your plan according to any surprises, changes, and/or obstacles that may appear in your path.
It's important to stay the course and honor your commitment to what you set out to achieve.
You deserve to see how far you can go.
10) Celebrate your wins.
Both big and small, acknowledge your success and what's working in your life. Document best practices and allow yourself to bask in your accomplishments.
In today's instaculture, it's so easy to be in a "What's next for me?" mentality, instead of savoring and reflecting upon what you've achieved. Really let your progress soak into your bones. Be proud of what you're accomplishing.
You are both a masterpiece and a work in progress, all at the same time.
11) Identify any additional areas of your life where you may need assistance from your life coach.
Once you've reached a place where you've hit all of the goals you initially created with your life coach, think about where else in your life you could benefit from working with a life coach.
It may be that you may actually need to seek out a different life coach that focuses on your specific needs. This doesn't mean that your current life coach is somehow incapable. It just means that whatever it is that you're needing may fall outside of his/her wheelhouse of expertise. That is perfectly okay.
In that case, go back to the beginning and begin your life coach search again.
Working with a life coach has tremendous benefits and can help you to create lasting change in a shorter amount of time than if you were doing it all by yourself.
When we were born, we didn't come with a manual. Each of us is trying to do the best with our current set of circumstances, resources, relationships, passions, etc.
I highly recommend working with a life coach because it shows the Universe that you are serious about yourself and what you want to achieve out of life.