We hear more and more about people utilising a life coach these days, but what exactly is a life coach, and could having one be just what you need? We chat to Anne Nielsen of Green Apple Coaching here in Mallorca to get the lowdown.
What is life coaching?
Life coaching is positive psychology. It focuses on what is happening here and now in our lives in relation to where we wish to be. It is goal oriented and seeks to eliminate our negative stories that we all tell ourselves, which stops us from going forward, and then replacing them with new supporting thoughts/stories, so we can reach our goals.
A Coach is a motivator, who is there to help us identify what is needed to succeed, keeps us on track and cheers us on as we step by step make positive changes in our lives.
Who could benefit from a life coach?
- Anyone who feels overwhelmed in life in a certain area, be it personal or professional
- If you feel stuck or trapped in your life and keep on repeating patterns
- If you would like to grow within your current career but not sure how
- If you want to start a business you can get great benefits from taking on a coach because of all the different elements of taking on such a project. It can be difficult to see what takes priority, but a coach can help to make this clear and step by step find solutions to any problems that occur
- If you have important life decisions to make
- If you would like to improve on unhealthy living patterns
- If you want to improve personal or professional relationships
- If you are not coping well with a relationship breakups
- If you would like to change how you react to certain situations in life
What led you into life coaching?
After I left chef college many years ago I landed myself a job as a chef on a yacht. Yachting was to become my life, on and off, for many years to come. For some years, I loved everything it involved; travel, friends, parties, sailing, beautiful locations, etc. etc. but over time I found myself becoming more and more dissatisfied with life, even though outwardly I was living a life that most people would envy.
I felt an underlying unhappiness and middle satisfaction most of the time. I tried to compensate those feelings by changing location, job, leaving the yachting industry, re entering the yachting industry, and by reading self help books. However, the feeling of feeling lost would return to me after a while whatever I did to try and hide from it.
Then some years ago I had a life crises that brought me to a new low. I felt more lost than ever and made the important decision of doing something about it. I sought help from a professional psychologist, who helped me to understand many things about myself, but most importantly that, the ‘thing’ I had been missing in my life was a connection to my deeper self. I was given new tools to deal with life as it comes at me and gained the ability to be positive, content and grateful for what I had and what I had achieved so far. A completely new way of looking at life for me.
I felt so grateful for what I had learned, that I felt compelled to pass it on to others by becoming a life coach.
What kind of coaching do you focus on?
As a coach I am very interested in life balance and how to eliminate stress from our lives. How to live simpler lives with much higher satisfaction and better relationships. Letting go of expectations and learning to accept the things we can’t change, so I focus on life in general with all its challenges I guess.
Having said that, I have had my own business here in Mallorca and I have a degree in hotel and catering management, so I do know a thing or two about business as well.
What can someone expect to cover in a life coaching session with you?
Each session will have a different approach because no client has the same problem or wish. The first session is really about getting to know each other, to see if its a good client/coach ‘fit’ and of course what the client is looking to achieve from coaching.
Some clients know exactly what they want to work with and what their goal is. If this is the case, I will go straight to the point, so as not to waste time. I will, with the client, brainstorm to try to figure out what is needed to help them pinpoint what their next step should be.
With many clients however, it can take quite some time to find a goal to work towards, simply because they don’t know what they want out of life, but they do know that they are dissatisfied. If this is the case I will talk to them first about several aspects of their lives such as relationships/work/money/life satisfaction/growth/family etc. and find out how satisfied/dissatisfied they are in each area. This will give a helicopter view of their life and make it easier to see where they need to improve. From there a goal can be formed and a plan can be laid out on how to reach that goal.
How much time should someone invest in receiving coaching?
If a client wants to see real change in their lives, they will have to invest time and effort. Coming to coaching sessions will be a complete waste of time and money if they then go and live life as they always have, without changing anything. The result of the coaching session will be equal to the effort the client puts in after the session. A coach is not a miracle worker, but the client can be if he/she is willing to open up and make the changes that are necessary.
Each session will show what the next step is for the client to progress forward. If the client then goes and does what has been agreed is the next step, then he/she will see positive results relatively quickly. Coaching is progressive, so one session is really like having none. It is unlikely only one session will give the clarity that is needed to make long lasting changes in their life, so a course of sessions would be recommended.
What kind of benefits can someone typically expect from having life coaching?
- Clarity of what to do next
- More life satisfaction
- Elimination of negative stories we all tell ourselves
- A more positive outlook on life
- A simpler outlook on life
- Better relationships
- Healthier lifestyle
- Clearer boundaries
- More self respect and self confidence
When you look back at your coaching history with clients, what are the common issues or goals that they raise?
The common issue is fear. Fear of change is a big one, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of not being able to change. Therefore the common goal tends to be walking through the fear with the help of a coach. I sometimes say to clients, “You are ready for a coach, when the fear of staying where you are has become greater than the fear of changing”.
How does life coaching differ from therapy?
Therapy goes into our past and our childhoods where it aims to resolve trauma that occurred then, so that the client can understand why they have certain issues, behaviours and feelings. Coaching does not go into the past other than to look at the negative stories we believe about ourselves, such as ‘i’m not good enough’, ‘im not clever enough’ etc., that stop us from moving forward. These stories will have been etched into our minds over many years and a coach will help the client to understand that he/she doesn’t have to believe these stories, but can replace them with new positive beliefs and stories, so they can live a more positive, happy life.
What advice would you give about how one can find the right life coach for them?
If you are looking for a life coach I would suggest you call a few for an informal chat. Tell them what you are looking to achieve and ask them what they can offer you with regards to support and possible solutions to your immediate problem. From these calls you should be able to choose one to meet for an introductory session.
During the first and all sessions it is most important to be open and honest with your coach. If you feel you are not able to be honest and trust your coach in the first session, it is best to choose someone else because honesty and trust is all important for good results.