WHAT IS COACHING?
The 'What is Coaching?' question is becoming ever-more important to address. You see, coaching seems to be everywhere, and sometimes it seems like everyone is a coach. Nutritional coach, fitness coach, sports coach, fashion coach, life coach, career coach – you name it, there seems to be a coach for pretty much every conceivable aspect of life.
And there's definitely a place for coaching that is focused on specific life or work aspects. At Big Life Coaching (that’s what we call our Live a Big Life coaching operation), however, we don’t focus on a specific life or work aspect, skillset, attribute, trend or fad. We focus on you.
Now, perhaps because there seems to be so many different types of coaching, coaching has been defined in many ways. But, when all is said and done, coaching basically boils down to just a handful of basic principles - key elements that capture the basic essence of coaching :
- To help you change in the way you wish to change, and to go in the direction you wish to go.
- To support you at every level in becoming who you want to be.
- To build awareness, empower choice, and lead you towards change.
Coaching is not a master-student relationship, it's a partnership between your coach and you, that unlocks your potential to maximise your performance. Your coach's role in that partnership is to help you to achieve your personal best, and to produce the results you want in your personal and professional life.
And that's why it's super-important to note that for coaching to be effective, it is not necessary for your coach to be an expert in your field of work, or in the area of change you want to effect in your personal life.
WHAT ISN'T COACHING?
Great question! How about we take a minute to address what coaching is not, so you can be 100% clear on what you will get out of a coaching relationship with Big Life Coaching. Coaching is not...
Mentoring involves a mentor, who is a sponsor with great professional experience in your field of work.
A counsellor works with you when you feel uncomfortable, or dissatisfied with your life. You might seek counselling when you are looking for guidance and advice; and your counsellor will try to ‘fix’ you (or, at least, your problem).
Therapy focuses on relief from psychological or physical symptoms and deals mainly with your mental health. You might seek therapy if you were hoping to receive emotional healing and relief from mental pain.
Training is all about gaining knowledge, skills or abilities by study, experience or teaching. The trainer is the expert, and the training course is likely to target specific skills and be designed to deliver pretty much immediate results. You’ll also tend to find that training is delivered in a ‘one to many’ (or group) setting, rather than one to one.
A consultant provides expertise and solves business problems, or works with businesses to develop them as a whole. Consultants deal with whole (or specific parts of) organisations, rather than specific individuals within those organisations.
Teaching is where knowledge gets passed from teacher to student. The teacher knows something the student does not, and the student is there to learn that information.
Unlike counselling and therapy, coaching does not try to 'fix' you. Rather, it deals with your mental growth, rather than mental healing, and moves you towards goals that you want to achieve, and outcomes you want to manifest in your life, rather than helping you to move away from pain or discomfort.
In addition, whereas in teaching and training, the teacher or trainer is generally considered to be the expert in the relationship, in coaching the exact opposite is true: you are the expert and you have the answers, not the coach. The coach will simply help you step into your expertise and find those answers that have so far eluded you.
THE BIG LIFE COACHING SECRET SAUCE
If you have coaching with us, we'll follow what's known as a 'Solutions-Focused' approach. We'll explore exactly what that is a little further down this page, but before we do, I want to tell you about our 'Secret Sauce' - the Big Life Coaching Stamp, if you like, that we bring to our solutions-focused coaching. We believe it is what makes our approach so successful, and is an expression of everything we believe and stand for here at Live a Big Life.
And, before you begin to worry, like with most things, it is its simplicity that makes it so powerful - rocket science it most definitely is not! In fact, it only has three ingredients...
LET'S LOOK AT THAT IN MORE DETAIL
So, what is it about strengths, values and a dash of Positive Psychology that makes the difference? Well, how about we take a closer look at each ingredient that goes into the 'Big Life Coaching Secret Sauce' in turn?
Big Life Coaching focuses heavily on your strengths. Strengths are innate – they aren’t something you pick up through hard work or learning – they are already present in you. In simple terms, they are built-in capacities for certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
During your coaching sessions, your coach will help you accurately assess your strengths, unpicking and unwinding any distortions that may have crept in over the years; and develop strategies for applying those strengths not just in the pursuit of your coaching goals, but also in other areas of your life where you may not be getting the most out of them.
Big Life Coaching also places a strong emphasis on your values. Values are abstract, desirable end states that people strive for, or aim to uphold, such as freedom, loyalty, or tradition. They inform your decisions and, when the values you hold are present in your day-to-day life, they give a sense of alignment, security and wellbeing.
So, your preliminary sessions with your coach will involve work to identify and clarify your values, so that care can be taken to ensure that all your coaching goals line up with your own value system.
Positive Psychology particularly focuses on the positive events and influences in life, including: positive experiences (like happiness, joy, inspiration, and love); and positive states and traits (like gratitude, resilience, and compassion).
As a field, Positive Psychology spends much of its time thinking about topics like character strengths, optimism, life satisfaction, happiness, well-being, gratitude, compassion (as well as self-compassion), self-esteem and self-confidence, hope, and elevation.
Of course, there's a lot more to each of those ingredients than just this brief overview suggests. If you want to find out more about each of the three ingredients of our 'Secret Sauce', just click the button below.
A SOLUTIONS-FOCUSED APPROACH
Solutions-focused coaching primarily uses the strengths, values and positive attributes already present in you to achieve the results and outcomes you are looking for. At its core is the focus on helping you find solutions rather than problems, build on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, and find positive ways forward rather than examine barriers. There are essentially four steps to this coaching approach:
Step One: Goal Setting
A goal within solution-focused coaching does not identify the root cause of an identified issue, but, rather, focuses on how a problematic situation can be improved, or an issue can be resolved.
Step Two: Action Planning
After identifying your goal, your coach will help you to develop an action plan. Your action plan pulls together the actions necessary to work towards, and deliver, the goal outcome you want.
Step Three: Do the Work
In this step, you take the suggestions generated in step 2, and act on them. You and your coach agree how your progress will be monitored - the metrics and measures that you will use to track the success or failure for each action.
Step Four: Tweak and Adjust
In this step, if the actions you identified and built into your Action Plan aren't working effectively, working closely with your coach, you’ll analyse what's working and what isn't, and adjust the Action Plan accordingly, so that you can move forward.
Solutions-focused coaching is a widely used, proven and trusted approach to coaching. To find out more about what it offers, how it works, and explore whether it may be the right approach for you, click the button, below.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT
Like we've already said, coaching is a partnership between the coach and the 'coachee' (the person being coached). And within that relationship there are certain expectations. For the coaching relationship to be effective - or, in other words, deliver you the results you want - those expectations need to be fair and realistic. So, what can you expect from Big Life Coaching, if you choose it?
Well, let's answer that question by exploring four distinct elements: your coaching sessions, your coach, yourself, and your 'extras'.
Coaching sessions are led by you. Sure, they will follow a structure, but the direction they take is driven by you. They are yours to own, and your coach is there to help you get the results for those sessions that you want.
So, together with your coach, you will set an overall 'coaching agenda', as well as specific session 'agendas'. Setting an ‘agenda’ for your session helps your coach make sure that the conversation and progress stay on track, and makes sure that you receive the value and results that you want.
You’ll agree the number of sessions, and the length of each session, with your coach. Typically, though, a session runs for about 60 minutes. Depending on your location, the session may be face-to-face and ‘in person’ at an agreed venue. More often than not, however, sessions take place via video conferencing.
Your coach is not there to give you advice, but to guide you to your own solutions, and they will do that through a combination of active listening and questioning.
Specifically, your coach will help you to formulate coaching goals or intentions. They will discuss with you the areas that you want to explore, how these relate to your development, and how they fit into the coaching brief.
As your sessions unfold, they will support and challenge you, help you to work things out for yourself, and learn from this, explore options, including the advantages and disadvantages of different courses of action, and ask questions to help you to explore issues more deeply. On top of all of that, they will hold you to account.
You are the driving-force behind your coaching experience. You set the direction, the agenda and the tone. And, because of that, if the coaching relationship is to be effective, you have a responsibility to play your part. So, what does that part look like?
Well, as the coachee, you will need to take an active role, starting with thinking about what you would like to explore during the sessions, and preparing fully for them. In each session, you'll need to be honest and open, and take responsibility for your own learning and development - your coach will guide you through listening and questioning, but the responsibility to learn from what that uncovers sits with you.
You will be expected to reflect on your learning between sessions. And, of course, you will have to carry through actions that you have committed to, and demonstrate a willingness to explore the reasons if actions are not carried through - no action, no change, right?
During the course of the coaching conversation, your coach may introduce interventions, tools or resources to help you unpack or develop specific aspects of the goals being worked on.
Big Life Coaching draws from a range of interventions, tools and resources, all of which have been validated through research, and are considered appropriate for use within the Big Life Coaching approach. In particular, interventions used will tend to lean towards Positive Psychology, as these generally offer the greatest consistency with the overall coaching approach and methodology we apply.
While you are expected to demonstrate an openness and willingness to engage in such interventions, tools and resources, you will always be able to decline their use, should you not wish to participate in a particular activity.
There's a lot to the coaching process, and what we've set out here really only sets the scene. If you choose coaching with us, then you will have a detailed contract that will set out the process in full, but if you want to go a little deeper into what you can expect, then simply click the button below.
We’ve mentioned a few times that coaching is personal. And, just because someone is a great coach, it does not mean that they are a great coach for you. So, if you are interested in coaching with Big Life Coaching, you won’t find a ‘buy now’ or ‘sign up here’ option. You see, even if you have read all this, watched the videos and feel 100% convinced that we are the right option for you, we haven’t actually had a conversation yet.
And that conversation is key. It is a conversation that you should have with any coach you are considering working with before you commit (and, any coach worth their salt will expect to have that conversation with you before they commit).
You see, it’s a conversation that will help both you and your potential coach decide whether working together is feasible (no conflict of interest, or other obstacles, for example), worthwhile (you will get benefit from it), and appropriate (the right course of action for what you want to achieve (as opposed to training, counselling or therapy, for example).
So, if you think Big Life Coaching may be right for you, let’s schedule a call and explore that a little further. Simply scroll down to the booking calendar and complete the three simple steps to set up your FREE 30-minute Coaching Exploration Call.
Alternatively, if you have some burning questions that you want answers to right now, just pop your details and query in the form below, hit submit, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
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BOOK YOUR COACHING EXPLORATION CALL TODAY!
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