What *IS* Life Coaching, Anyway?

When I tell people that I’m a life coach, lots of people seem a bit confused about what that means. They’re not quite sure what category to put me in, or how what I have to offer might help.

So I thought I might offer a bit of a clarification! 

First of all, life coaches come in all different shapes and sizes, with all different types of specialties and all different types of training.

Many work especially with executives or small business owners, helping them to run their companies (and lives) more efficiently so that they can be more successful. That’s not really my thing, but I have friends who do a great job at this work – feel free to contact me for their details.

Some of them work in the not-for-profit setting, helping individuals and organizations maximize their potential impact, and be more effective at vision-setting and vision-casting. While I’ve got a fair amount of experience in the not-for-profit setting, that’s not really my main thing, either, but again, I’d be happy to put you in touch with folks who are doing this work.

While it’s not a very common niche, I am convinced that the principles of life coaching – asking compassionately curious questions to help a person uncover what they already know to be true – can be incredibly effective when applied to our relationships with ourselves and the people we love the most.

In all cases, as a life coach I am convinced that each and every one of us carries a ‘unique way’ that we were made to live – a set of core values (like an operating manual) that help us to determine how we were best designed to function. So we always start by identifying our values. We need to root and ground ourselves in these values if we are going to be able to make sense of the complexities of the problems ahead of us.

Once we’ve determined our values, we can go on to tackle the challenges and struggles we’re facing. Here are just some of the scenarios I’ve helped people navigate:

  • I always promised myself I wouldn’t react to my kids the way my parents did with me – but now I hear their voices in mine, and I have no idea how to change that!
  • How do I juggle parenting a child with a complex disability with parenting their older/younger sibling(s)?
  • I had a baby a few years ago, and I haven’t felt the same since – does it have to stay like this forever?
  • I found out last night that my kid is gay/lesbian/trans/bi/2-spirit – what do I do?
  • How do I navigate a marriage after everything I went through in the past or in the midst of all that we’re going through right now?
  • HELP! I’m an adult and I’ve just realized that I may be on the autistic spectrum – no one I’ve talked to seems to be able to help me understand what I’m going through or give me useful tools to function!
  • I know I need to change what I’m doing for work, but I feel like I’d just be taking a leap in the dark right now – I have no idea what the next step looks like!
  • I dealt with an abortion/medical termination/miscarriage/infant loss weeks/months/years ago, and I thought I had processed it, but it’s started coming up again in my thoughts/dreams.
  • I feel like my emotions are out-of-control, but no amount of ‘trying harder’ seems to make it possible to be more in control – what do I do?
  • I always thought of myself as a good parent – then my kids turned into teenagers and I found myself in over my head dealing with issues around mental health, drugs and alcohol or self-harm. Nothing prepared me for this!
  • HELP! I’ve been married for years and I just realized that my partner is on the autistic spectrum. I feel like everything around me is crumbling. What do I do now?
  • I just found out my partner/child has a disability (or I have a disability) that’s going to change everything about how we do life. I don’t know if I/we’re ready for this!
  • I feel like I keep going round and round in circles. I keep having the same fights, thinking the same depressing thoughts, or choosing the same (poor) coping mechanisms. I know I’m not happy the way life currently is but I have no idea how to get free of the cycle.

Regardless of what you are going through, as a life coach you can count on me to offer you non-judgmental support and encouragement. 

Sometimes, simply telling your story to a sympathetic ear can make a big difference.

Sometimes there are some tools I can offer you for your toolbox that will help you cope with the things you are going through.

But often there’s something else going on under the surface, and I always try to do the work to make sure that we’ve got a complete picture of what’s going on.

You see, I think that each of us has a few ‘bugs’ in our software – places where the operating instructions got distorted just enough to make it difficult for us to become the people we were made to be.

My goal is to unearth the software bug (or ‘message’) that runs this bit of the ‘code’ in your life. The messages are almost always based on fear, but are almost never based on our values. By exposing the messages to our values, we have the opportunity to determine whether these messages are true to who we were made to be or not. We then look to the values to help us determine how we were actually designed to function, giving us the chance to rewrite the software that automatically drives our decisions, actions and responses, instead of merely giving us another thing we have to ‘try harder’ to get right each day.

Although I have lots of tools available to help put the lessons into practice, I don’t supply the answers as a coach. I’m convinced that you already know the answers, you just need a space and the support to give you the courage to be vulnerable enough to find out what they are.

The process can be hard. We have to ask hard questions and go to hard places. But time and time again it has been effective in the lives of the people I have worked with.

If you’re ready to do some hard work, I’d love to hear from you. Coaching sessions can be arranged in person in the Barrie area or by Skype around the globe.

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