Firstly, congratulate yourself on wanting to take this first step into the unknown! Any type of coaching or therapy takes courage. Deciding to take this step can often ruminate in people’s heads for weeks or months, or even years.
I believe it’s really important to recognise this. Talking about your dilemmas, your topics, your fears and fundamentally your life to someone, can be daunting and nerve racking. So I thought this would be a good topic to write about, to give anyone considering coaching some reassurance and clarification.
So what is ‘life coaching’ ?
I really like this definition by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) :
“the act of partnering with your client in a thought-provoking and creative process” which means being able to help your clients to become aware and reflect deeply about their situation resulting in them implementing the appropriate actions to achieve desired outcomes.
A life coach is a specially trained person who will help you to look at your life objectively, and help you to reach any goals you might have. Your answers are within you, we won’t tell you what to do.
Coaching helps you to create more self-awareness; which then has the potential for deep transformation. A coach can pick up on your patterns and help you to create new narratives for yourself, and new roads to walk down, leading to a much freer and more fulfilled way of living.
Coaching helps get rid of any limiting beliefs, is forward thinking, and offers a hope of long term fulfilment and healing, and becoming more confident in your own decisions.
I believe there’s 4 important things that you can expect from a first coaching session.
Firstly, a coach will give you a safe space to talk. What this means is that we treat your session with the strictest of confidences as we are bound by our Code of Ethics from our governing body. I belong to the Association of Coaching and you can find their Code of Ethics on their website, there is a link to it here.
Also, all practising coaches should have regular 1:1 coaching supervision when coaching. This is where we (as coaches) go to for incorporating reflective practice. It is our safe space to explore and improve our practice as a coach, whilst also being supported to do our best work. You could come up by your coach in a discussion with their supervisor, but would do so anonymously.
This safe space allows you the freedom to open up and really get to the heart of the matter, and in doing so, provides you with the opportunity to go on to balance your life, develop and grow.
Secondly, we are non-judgemental. This means that you have the freedom to talk openly without being judged. We are trained to put away our own thoughts and feelings, to accept without judgement and concentrate on what you are saying and how we can best help you.
Thirdly, we are master listeners. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and this is why we are well trained in this area.
‘Every model of psychological practice has this advice in common; to listen without judgement. The person speaking needs to be able to fully describe their experience, partly so we can begin to see the situation as it feels to them, more importantly so that they can gain a new perspective’ – Listen. Kathryn Mannix
This is how coaching is really effective. We often have to hear the words out loud before our brain can truly take in what we are saying and thinking.
Fourthly, the coaching partnership is an equal one. There is no hierarchy involved. What this fundamentally means is that the coach and client cannot find success without the other.
Your first session often feels a bit strange or nerve wracking, after all you are usually opening up to a complete stranger. You might be unsure of what to say, or how to answer, but at this point it’s good to put your trust into your coach. They will know how to hold this session for you. Being honest and open and willing to talk is all your coach really wants you to do. It’s also completely natural that this could take some time. Sometimes on a first session you want to get everything out, other times you aren’t sure of what to say, let your coach guide you. All of it is right.
At Kerry Castledine Coaching I’ve devised a life wheel that I can send out to you before your first session. This can be really helpful in identifying the areas of your life that you would like to give your attention to the most. Its good to identify your goals and have a focus area, but not always necessary, especially if you are aware of a specific problem you would like help with. Generally one subject of discussion leads into other areas of your life, and then you start to build up a picture of connection between things, helping you in the process to reach your desired outcome.
My sessions are 50-60 minutes long. At the end of your first session you should feel lighter and somewhat clearer, although you may also feel exhausted! You should also feel supported as a person and motivated moving forwards. You will evolve over time as things become clearer for you and you start to have a higher level of awareness. It is fundamentally all about maximising your potential.
You will get asked lots of questions during sessions. Taking the time to pause and reflect on the questions will be very beneficial to you. Life coaching sessions are often challenging sessions. This is where you will start to feel your growth, and hopefully start to see changes in your way of thinking.
As I said earlier you may find some sessions are really tiring, whilst some can be exhilarating and energizing. You will feel many different emotions as you go through the sessions and this is all perfectly normal.
As Dr Wayne Dyer once said : ‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.’
Your coach will completely guide your sessions, but if you would like to get a step ahead, then some questions to consider before your first coaching session could be:
- What’s most important to you?
- Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
- What do you enjoy, and what motivates you?
Through coaching you should start to feel more confident, more motivated and therefore more productive. Having a clear vision of your future life is priceless.
If you’d like to book a 1:1 session with me please contact me here.