It seems everyone is talking about life coaching – at times it can feel that if you haven’t currently got a life coach, you must already be one! But it is a role that appears greatly misunderstood. Neither psychiatrist, psychologist, sociologist, nor counsellor, yet somehow a blend of all. Sounds like there’s more to this than we knew. So, we asked life coach Celine Akkary to give us her take on what life coaching is – what it offers her clients, and what the role demands from her.
I’ve always found it amusing that the ceremony in which degrees and diplomas are handed out to high-school and university students as they reach the finish line is called a “commencement”. And yet here I am, as a life coach, trying to at least start – commence – somewhere by defining ‘Life Coaching’ to you.
Where to begin? I’ll start by talking about Canadian actor, Stephen Amell – perhaps better known to you as the bow-wielding, crime-fighting vigilante Oliver Queen (a.k.a Green Arrow) in the series Arrow. He’s also known for his good looks and a stunning six-pack.
If you’ve heard of Arrow, you’ll know that the series revolves around the spoiled billionaire playboy Oliver Queen. The premise is that he goes missing and, when his yacht is lost at sea, is presumed dead… only for him to return home five years later determined to become a better man, a beacon of hope, a hero. Well, wouldn’t we all?
So, why exactly am I focusing on Oliver Queen, or the Green Arrow, in a wellness feature designed to introduce ‘Life Coaching’?
The thing is, serendipity is a very funny thing, and finding something where you least expect it, out of the blue and, in this case, in a Netflix series awash with uninspiring dialogue and unrealistic action scenes, is something guaranteed to jolt the senses. For me, it came in the form of a line so profound it detonated inside my brain, prompting me to pause and reflect.
“This, this is it, who I am, what I do.” Oliver Queen, Arrow
In essence, this is life coaching’s core operating model – helping clients through the client learning and being processes which lead to smart action taking towards any given goal.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines life coaching as partnering with a client in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. A life coach literally helps people increase self-awareness, generate learning, as well as identify and accomplish meaningful goals.
The world has managed without life coaches thus far, so, you might ask, what is it about modern life that means we may need a life coach now?
The answer is simple.
Since the beginnings of civilization, humans have sought enlightenment, understanding, knowledge and self-betterment. Life coaching, while still relatively new as a profession, is a combination of business and sports coaching techniques and tools designed to bring out such learning, knowledge and betterment across all areas of a client’s life.
While we may not be on the set of one of Netflix’s most popular series, nonetheless we are the main actors in our own lives. For each of us building a solid, objective support system that makes this growth possible is essential. For some, this support may come in the form of a life coach, for others it may be a mentor or a therapist.
While mentoring aims to link someone in a specific craft with someone who’s already skilled at it, and therapy offers diagnosis and focuses on the past to heal certain traumatic experiences, coaching focuses on the future that the client desires, and uses a proactive, forward-thinking approach in getting there.
For a life coach to be effective in helping clients realize their full potential and achieve their goals, it is essential to adopt an open and curious mind – one that avoids judgement and embraces the idea that the client is naturally resourceful.
Inspired? You should be.
Now, before you coach up, here’s the International Coach Federation’s checklist to consider:
- Do your homework. Educate yourself about what coaching is, what it isn’t and what the coaching process entails.
- Reflect on your goals and objectives. Summarize what you expect to accomplish by partnering with a coach. With a clear idea of your desired outcomes, you can better choose a coach practitioner who is well-equipped to help you develop a strategy for achieving them.
- Interview at least three coaches. Ask each coach about his or her experience, skills and qualifications, and request at least two references. Coaching is an important relationship, so look for a personal connection between you and the coach you choose.
- Confirm credibility. Research each coach’s training, professional memberships and credentials.
Reach out to Celine through here