Now that life coaches are fairly easy to find, one of the most common questions I get from people is what they should talk about with a life coach. So let’s break it down! But first, if you haven’t yet read this article about what a life coach is, then I recommend starting there to first understand the basics of effective life coaching.
I can attribute a huge percentage of the positive changes I’ve seen in my life over the last few years to the coaching work I’ve done on myself. Managing my mind, asking myself powerful questions and second guessing all the stories I tell myself have all drastically improved my personal life. But it’s more than just slapping on a positive mindset or adopting pretty platitudes.
I’ve learned to hold boundaries with loved ones, improve my time management abilities, see weight loss progress as well as business success all because of life coaching. Taking responsibility for your mind is the first step to an incredible life.
And even though a life coach is not a therapist, I believe that a lot of mental health conditions can also be improved through consistent thought work. If you struggle with anxiety, depression or other issues, a life coach (along with a therapist and/or psychiatrist) is a great tool to have in your arsenal.
The best way to figure out what to talk about with a life coach is to ask yourself the right questions. For example: “Where am I struggling lately?” “Is there a relationship that seems to cause me lots of stress or anxiety?” “How can I be a better parent?” “Where can I improve in my goal setting and personal development?” and on and on.
In short, there’s no area of your life that can’t be helped by applying sound life coaching principles.
As humans, we all develop a set of personal values that we use to set goals and to guide our actions. If we value having a strong family, for example, then we plan family dinners and quality time with our kids. If we value owning a successful business, then we prioritize getting customers or clients and offering products or services that we can exchange for money.
The problem becomes when our thoughts and actions don’t fall into alignment with our values. We begin to feel some discomfort and look for ways to alleviate the pain. This is where a good coaching conversation can really help us head in the right direction.
There are 3 main tools that I like to use throughout the coaching process; these are key to improving relationships, working on personal goals, developing a successful work-life balance and so much more. These tools are awareness, acceptance and accountability.
Becoming aware of what’s going on inside your mind (and the subsequent results you’re creating for yourself) will be the most important thing to work on when you begin your coaching experience. This kind of mental awareness does not generally come easy for anyone. We’re all used to allowing thousands of unintentional thoughts to flood our minds every day, so taking a hard look at these messages will probably be a different way to work towards your life goals than you’re used to.
This is one reason that finding a coach with excellent communication skills is key. You’ll want someone who is great at helping you dig into your stream of consciousness and decipher what’s going on in there. The more you do this yourself (and practice more intentional thinking on a daily basis) the easier it will be. But it might feel strange and tricky at first.
It’s also crucial that your coach be willing to take you out of your comfort zone while still approaching your mind with openness and curiosity. If you ever feel judged by your coach, it’s time to find a new one. He or she should hold space for how you’re feeling while still teaching you how to accept your thoughts and results for what they are.
Let me explain this using an example. You might come to your coach complaining that your husband never seems to listen to you or validate your feelings. This thought causes you anger and frustration which leads you to show up as an unloving wife, to complain about your husband and to ignore him in retribution. Your result is that you don’t listen to or validate your husband either.
A good coach will show you how it’s your thought (“He never listens to me or validates me”) that’s causing your anger, NOT your husband’s behavior. Your coach should be able to explain this with love and curiosity, without an agenda to make you change anything.
Once you’re able to accept this truth, that your thoughts are the cause of all your feelings and actions, then you can slowly move into the next step.
The situation you’re being coached on will determine how much time you’ll need to spend in each phase before reaching accountability. I’ve found that the more emotionally charged the scenario, the more time a client will need to spend on each step.
But once you’re able to make it to accountability, that’s where the real magic happens. This is where we can accept resonsibility for our role in the pain we’re experiencing and gain new insights into what thoughts and behaviors we’d like to change.
This is one area where life coaches can vary from other mental health professionals. A good coach does not sit in the problem with you and validate your feelings, but instead shows you the truth: that you alone are responsible for your life and that you are capable of taking accountability.
And while this is where the real power lies, this truth can be a hard pill to swallow, especially for those who have dealt with traumatic past experiences or are simply used to the empathetic listening style of a licensed therapist. But if you’re willing to step into this space of accountability, there’s no limit to what your life can become.
So in essence, you can talk with a coach about whatever you want!
A good life coach will lovingly guide you through your life experiences with the wisdom of a leader who knows how to show you your own power. I love learning about my clients’ lives and probing into their minds to figure out where they’re seeing a problem.
It can be really difficult to look at your own personal lives with a neutral perspective (and equally difficult for your loved ones to remain neutral!) but with the help of a life coach, you can gain a clear vision of what’s really going on in all areas of your life and make decisions for creating the most meaningful life possible.
Ready to try it out? Schedule a complimentary mini coaching session with me here.