The Being & The Doing EPISODE 19:
Do I Need a Life Coach?
Curious about life coaching but not sure why you would want one? In this episode we tackle the what and how of coaching – what happens in a coaching call and how you would benefit from working with a life coach. My special guest is a client who shares her experience of working with me.
*A full transcript is posted at the bottom of this page.
How I Became a Life Coach
Curious to know a bit about me? You can read some of my story here
Read about my journey to becoming a life coach.
Top 8 Reasons to Work with a Life Coach
Here’s a blog about the most common reasons people work with a life coach.
Work with Me
Learn about coaching with me and book a complimentary consultation.
This Episode’s Homework
Something to think about:
What’s the one thing if you were to do it consistently would have the greatest impact on your health or happiness?
Why are you not doing it?
These questions give you some insight into what we could work on in a coaching call.
Something to try:
Book a complimentary coaching session with me. No obligation!
You can grab your FREE homework Awareness & Action guide HERE.
Love to hear what you have to say – please take a moment to rate, review and/or leave a comment or question.
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CREDITS: The Being & The Doing podcast is produced by Neela Bell. Voiceovers by Jason Harris. Music is GoodMorning Sunshine by Yoav Alyagon and Firefly by Scott Buckley.
Full Transcript of the Show
Intro: Welcome to The Being and The Doing, a podcast about well-being and the practices that help us have more calm, focus, purpose, and presence in our busy lives. Here’s your host, author and life coach Laurel Vespi.
Laurel: Hey, lovely ones welcome to Episode 19 of The Being and The Doing. Before we dive into today’s topic, if you could do something for me, I would very much appreciate it if you enjoy the podcast, please head over to iTunes and leave a 5-star rating and post a comment. It might not seem like it matters that much but it does really help us in making the podcast more visible in a very crowded podcast world and it would also be great. If you could share the show on any of your social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, tell your friends and your help in spreading the word is very much appreciated.
Today we’re going to dive into the juicy question, Do I need a life coach? You know, this topic was inspired by people telling me that they might be interested in working with a coach but they’re not really clear about what happens in coaching or what they would get out of it. So we’re going to dive into why you would want to coach and the benefits of working with a life coach like me.
So back at the turn of the century, as I like to say, back in the early 2000s when I did my first life coach training, life coaching was a totally new concept. It had been around for a little bit but it was still pretty new and if I said that I was a coach, you know, people either got this very confused look on their faces or they ask me what sport I coached.
Now if you’re interested in the story about my journey to becoming a coach, I’ll leave a link in the show notes to a blog that I wrote about it. So fast forward to now and coaching is more in the mainstream, which is a good thing and a bad thing. Everybody’s a coach now. I can go to Home Depot and talk to a [quote] renovation coach which is not actually a coach. So people are more familiar with the term, ‘life coach’ good thing even if they don’t exactly know what a coach does. And part of the problem is that we see parodies of coaches on TV. There are some reality TV programs that have had so-called coaches or on the reboot of the Roseanne show, her sister is a police officer turned rather an ineffective coach.
So, unfortunately, coaches on TV are usually not portrayed in a very accurate way. It’s not a true representation of what an actual coach, like me, does. So in the real world, not the TV world, why would anyone want to work with a coach?
Well, here’s the thing, we settle in our lives. We settle for the life that we’re living, we play small; why do we do that? Well, we’ve got obligations. You have things to do and you’re busy so it’s easy to take kind of the mediocre route through life. And it’s not just that sort of the circumstances of what’s going on in our lives but we’re also afraid of not being able to play a bit of a bigger game or really step fully into our lives. Or we’re afraid that we will be able to do that and then we’re not quite sure if we’re able to handle that or the people around us, will they be able to handle it if I actually step fully into who I am?
And sometimes it’s just, we get into a routine or a habit of kind of live in the mediocre sort of life or we’re not even really sure of what our best life might look like because you know what? I gotta make lunches and go to work and clean the bathroom. I don’t have time to be imagining what my best life looks like. It’s not really about having a perfect life or even the idea of continuous improvement. Sometimes that idea of continuous improvement, to me, just feels kind of exhausting. It’s not that or it’s not about never being satisfied; quite the opposite. It’s more about just being clear about who you are and what is important to you and then getting out of your own way. Being basically happy and satisfied with your choices. Life is short. I don’t care even if you live to be a hundred and twenty, life is short; so why waste any of it?
I’m going to leave a link in the show notes to a Blog that I wrote about the top 10 reasons to work with a coach. And if you’re trying to find yourself in that be able to see yourself in that. It’s a great blog to read because you’ll see reasons for why it makes sense to hire somebody like me. But there are a couple of important ways that working with a coach really helps that I want to highlight. The first one is that using that old saying we can’t see the forest for the trees and that’s true of our lives too, especially when we’re stuck on something.
It’s kind of like, you know pushing on a door that says pull and we can’t see that we keep pushing on the door that says pull. And so, in working with a coach you begin to be able to separate that out a little bit, “Oh, whoa, I’ve been pushing and I actually need to pull.” Because when we are in the midst of a particular circumstance, we often can’t see options that are available or other possibilities. One of the things that I work with with clients on is becoming much more fluid and being able to shift perspectives; perspectives just being the way that we look at things, like looking at things from different viewpoints. And one of my favorite things is when a client says, “Oh, I never thought about it that way.” I think that’s my little happy dance moment because before that “aha”, there weren’t any other possibilities or choices and now it’s like, “Oh, I can look at it differently. I have new possibilities and new choices.”
And the second important thing that happens is that you have some accountability. It’s a great thing when we can hold ourselves accountable and there are lots of things we do hold ourselves accountable for but there’s just a lot that we don’t. And if you could hold yourself accountable for creating a new habit or doing something that you always say that you want to do if we could do that, we would already be doing it. And sometimes it helps to have someone else who provides some structure to you so that you can get done, what it is that you say you want to get done. Because you see, my job as your coach is to help you get what you want out of life. Because I don’t have any solutions for you. Now, sure, we might brainstorm some ideas of things that you can try, but I don’t have a prescription to fix things. In fact, nothing actually needs fixing, you are not broken, you’re simply a human being and human beings get stuck or are afraid or are ruled by limiting beliefs. And those limiting beliefs can often be holding us back. That’s just the natural flow of life. We get stuck, we get unstuck. And coaching can help you not spend weeks or months or years stuck in the same spot.
Now, there’s an important distinction here that life coaching is not therapy. Yes, there are people who need the help of a healing professional to work through mental health challenges or to work on past trauma, definitely important work. But most people don’t need therapy, they’re just human beings. They just need a little help getting unstuck or a little encouragement or imagination or awareness of where they are and where it is that they want to go.
In coaching, we are very much focused on the present and how to create the future that you want. So I don’t have a magic wand, I don’t have a magic potion. I simply have the training to listen very carefully and ask you powerful questions. And so we build a relationship where, together, we are getting you where you want to go. I don’t have the answers, that is not a coach’s job but I can help you uncover your answers. I don’t have an agenda for what it is that you should do. I am pretty certain that you already have people in your life who tell you what you should do, I do. You have a mother or a friend or a partner, somebody who does that, you have someone who ‘shoulds’ all over you.
My job as your life coach is to be your champion, to help you get clarity, to encourage you, to support you and, yes, give you a kick in the butt sometimes. To call you on your excuses and to celebrate your wins. My job is to give you a safe space to come and fully be yourself with no judgments at all. That’s one of the things that I think clients love the best about coaching; is they get to come to their coaching call and here’s a space where they can show up and just be themselves.
Try on some stuff, figure out what it is that they want and then go out and do it. But instead of me trying to keep making the case for why you would benefit from working with a coach like me, I want to introduce you to a client that I’ve been working with for a long time who can share what brought her to work with me and what she’s gotten out of it. Her name is Marilyn. Hi Marilyn.
Marilyn: Hi, Laurel.
Laurel: Thanks for joining me on the podcast on this topic that we’re doing today about coaching and we’ve been working together for a long time.
Marilyn: Yes, we have. I don’t even remember how many years it’s been.
Laurel: It’s been a few, which actually might be surprising to people that how long somebody might work with a coach and I know for some people it might be a kind of a short-term thing and for some people it’s a longer-term thing and people come and go. If you think back, what is it that brought you to coaching in the first place?
Marilyn: Well, it’s interesting that you started talking about, you know, how for some people that’s a long-term thing because I was thinking about this and I actually started coaching for a totally different reason than I continue to do coaching. So I started coaching because I thought it was a good way to you know, solve that thing that sort of wrong or fix a specific thing that you can’t figure out on your own. It was sort of like, oh, I’ll just do this coaching thing and check it off my list and I’m going to feel better. Everything will be wonderful.
Laurel: Yes. We’ll fix that.
Laurel: And what made you stay?
Marilyn: Well, I think the biggest thing was actually working with you as my life coach was that I realized that it’s about building skills and it kind of helps me live my life the way I want to so the regular coaching is a good way for me to check in and stay focused on what I’ve set as my goals and the things that I want to work on and the intentional way that I want to live.
Laurel: So practically because for lots of people like coaching is this kind of nebulous sort of thing. They’ve heard about coaching, you know, it’s kind of maybe a little bit more in the mainstream now than it was a number of years ago, but for lots of people, they just don’t really get why they might work with a coach. So for you, practically, what is it that you get out of it?
Marilyn: Well, initially when we started the coaching, I sort of set some goals and decided on you know, some principles that I wanted to live by and you know, they sort of develop and change as I grew and changed. So some of the practical things that I get out of coaching is that it reinforces those commitments that I’ve made to myself and it helps me recognize when I’m stuck. And you know, the way that you coach and once we’ve sort of name that stuckness and sort of talk through it and kind of gently prodded me with questions and asked the right things, that sort of reinforces that commitment helps me shift my perspective about what I’m thinking because that’s part of being stuck as you get stuck in your own perspective and it’s hard to find your way out. So the gentle questioning and kind of working through the issue really is a practical way for me to kind of work through my day to day things.
Laurel: Yeah, because I know some of the things that we’ve worked on, you know, in our time together has been a little bit of understanding how it is that things apply across different areas of one’s life so where we might be talking about something that’s going on specifically at work, it doesn’t take much to begin to see how that actually begins to apply to, you know, perhaps relationships with family members or something else or your own, you know self-care whatever it might be that it actually starts to cross over boundaries from you know, this part of your life into another part of your life.
Marilyn: Exactly. And I’m always surprised how this you know, I start the call, thinking, oh, I don’t know what I want to talk about. And then when we’ve finished the call, it’s like I’ve had these ‘aha’ moments that I can kind of, you know have a greater understanding or apply what I’ve learned in the past to the situation that we’re talking about that particular week.
Laurel: And that might be a really helpful point that you just made, Marilyn, that for people to understand. It’s not even necessarily that you know exactly each call what it is that you want to coach about that day. That it might be that you come and it’s ‘I know this is what I want to coach about today’. And ‘Ah, I don’t know.’ And it doesn’t really take us long before there’s something that, oh, yeah, let’s have some clarity or forward movement on this particular thing. Because I think maybe people think they have to have, someone was like, ‘I have to have it figured out before I do coaching’ and it’s like, ‘Yeah, no, we’ll figure it out while we’re coaching.’
Marilyn: Exactly. I think we start just about every call saying oh, I don’t know what I want to talk about today and it always goes off into something that’s really easy to talk about.
Laurel: So what’s your favorite part of coaching?
Marilyn: I think my favorite part of coaching is the relationship that I have with you because it actually it really encourages me to be honest with you and therefore honest with myself about what I’m feeling or believing or where I’m kind of stuck in something. The simplest thing when I start talking to you about it, maybe I’m making excuses and we’ve been working together for a while and you can kind of call me on that and, you know, ask me the right kind of questions that lead me to you know, sort of solve the problem on my own by answering your questions.
Laurel: Yeah. Well, that’s probably one of the parts that I love about coaching is I don’t have to have the answers because you have the answers or together, you know, you’ll discover what the answer is.
That it takes a lot of the pressure off of me as a coach to not have the answers to whatever it is that everyone’s looking for, that’s part of the power of the coaching conversation. Is that yeah, sometimes I do kind of call you on your stuff and you know, maybe ask you is that really true what you’re thinking or how does that fit with something else you might have said, you know, previously. So yeah, there is that part but it’s also exciting to be able to cheer you on. Because again, we have been working together for a while and to see you really sort of step into the life that you want and you know, you’ve made some bold choices and decisions and it’s really wonderful to watch that happen.
Marilyn: Thank you. It’s a really wonderful way for me to have a certain level of accountability and to stay committed without it being, you know, this torturous thing that you have to do. It’s a conversation and it’s like a discussion with an old friend who will be honest with you instead of someone who just kind of lets you get away with everything.
Laurel: Yeah, and an old friend, you know, I appreciate that you’re saying that and the difference of being friends is that I only want what you want, I don’t have an agenda for you. I don’t have in my back pocket this idea of what it is that you should do. I just want you to be able to step fully into whatever it is that you want to be able to do so. Okay, that was that. What’s your favorite part of coaching? Okay. What’s the hardest part of coaching?
Marilyn: I guess the hardest part and I can’t count the number of times I’ve told you that this whole being aware of you know, what’s happening in the situation. So awareness is hard. So now like the hardest part for me is that I’m aware of the triggers and I’m encouraging myself to move out of my comfort zone more than I would have prior to the coaching. So I feel like I’ve really developed some skills and techniques to use but it’s still, you know, some days it’s still hard to have that awareness and continue through the commitments to do the work.
Laurel: Yeah, we have talked about that. And actually you’re not my only client who says you know, ‘oh darn that’ awareness thing. Because once you have some awareness or clarity or you have some new skills, then you’re kind of called to use them or at least you are even aware when you’re not. So it’s, I actually, you know, understand what it is that I need to do here and then it’s, you know, sort of taking a deep breath and being able to do it. So it is kind of that blessing in cursive. You have better awareness. You have better clarity, you have greater skills and now what is it that you’re going to do with those particular skills?
Marilyn: That’s exactly it and I’m aware of my triggers and stepping outside of my comfort zone.
And now I’m aware that I can make choices and sometimes I can actually make the choice to do nothing. And you really helped me with that as well as part of the coaching is, yeah, I’m at this crossroads that I can make a choice to, you know, live in the uncomfortableness of the situation or I can just make the choice that I’m going to kind of ride through it. So the awareness, it allows me to be accountable for the choice that I make.
Laurel: Yeah, and really that’s the cool thing about awareness. I mean, at least when we are sitting in awareness, and we’re aware that we are not making the choice to do something, that is a great thing. The beauty of having the awareness is even when we have awareness and we’re making a choice to not do something with it, that’s actually conscious. Where most of the time we’re just living with these unconscious decisions that we’re making that we’re not really thinking about them and then we find ourselves in the ‘how did I get there’ place. So, you know awareness, yeah, could be a challenging thing, but it’s a good thing.
So there’s another question I wanted to ask you because I think people might be interested in, I do a lot of my work by phone coaching. And when I started coaching that was sort of the primary way that people did do coaching and I think there’s a lot of people who think you have to do coaching in person and that how can telephone coaching actually work? What is it that you like about phone coaching?
Marilyn: Well, I guess the first thing is that it’s so accessible and easy. I travel a bit for work or for personal life and I can meet with you via the phone for like anytime anywhere kind of thing if we need to or if we have something scheduled. It really is no different than you know, having a phone call and the conversation can still carry on even though we’re on the phone. And I think it’s actually very relaxing because I can do it at home. I can sit on my deck, I can sit in my kitchen, you know, all those kinds of things. It’s just so easy and accessible and there’s also the support through your online group and stuff like that. So it’s not like phone calls are the only thing we do but the actual coaching, having our phone call is really no different than kind of sitting across a table from you and having a conversation.
Laurel: So you don’t find phone coaching to have any barrier in terms of feeling like we don’t have a connection or somehow I’m not reading your body language? Because I think those are the concerns that people have, that’s not your experience?
Marilyn: No, no, it’s not. I think it’s quite easy and maybe sometimes it actually makes it easier because I can, you know, I don’t have to look you in the eye. I mean, I do a lot of, as I said, I travel for work and stuff. I do a lot of Skype conversations and meetings every day and it’s really easy to tell when someone’s not paying attention and that never happens during a coaching session. You know, the conversation always flows and I know that I always have your attention while we’re having this session so it’s never been a problem. Then there are lots of days where it’s like, ‘what you want to coach about today Marilyn?’ I think it works just as good as being in person and I don’t have to go out if the weather’s bad, we can still have our call.
Laurel: Yeah, because I think, I mean there is that convenience piece that I think people really do understand that you know when we have a coaching call, you know if you have a 30-minute call booked that it’s really just 30 minutes. There’s no travel time or you don’t have to worry about weather and lots of people do, you know, fit their coaching into their lunch hour or first thing in the morning or right after work, whatever it is that it fits in because it isn’t an extra amount of time. But I think the biggest concern people have is that they are concerned that somehow we can’t have as deep a connection as we can in person. But that, you know, that goes back to the training about being able to really pay attention and to be able to listen to not just the words that you’re saying, but the words that you’re not saying in the spaces in between.
Marilyn: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I would say I think that it always works that we, you know, sort of pick up on each other’s cues and probably the silences that happen when you ask me some significant questions or things like that. It’s something that I mean, there’s a skill to it obviously; as you say, it’s part of what you get trained to do.
Laurel: Well, I really have appreciated you sharing your perspective. Is there anything else that you want to say about coaching?
Marilyn: Good question.
Laurel: That’s the business of coaching question.
Marilyn: That’s right. There’s always that question is there. I think we covered most of it. It’s something that’s really enjoyable. And as we said in the beginning, I’ve been doing it for a very long time and when I started talking about doing this, it was actually one of the questions that was asked to me when I started thinking, you know, what’s my favorite thing and stuff. one of the questions that was asked to me is, what would I miss if I didn’t have my coaching calls? And it was actually hard to think about that because I think that I really value the time that I spend with you and when I say, you know, there’s a level of accountability, it’s not a hard thing the way we do the call. So yeah, I think it’s definitely worth trying and you know, if people wanted to try it out they probably will be like me and get hooked.
Laurel: And they may or they may, you know, not all clients stay for a long period of time. Some people only coach for a few months because they come for something very specific and then they move on. Well, thanks, Marilyn. It’s always, I so appreciate having the great pleasure and honor to be able to work with you and for you to take the time to share your thoughts on coaching with all of our listeners.
Marilyn: You’re welcome. Have a nice day.
Laurel: I love my clients. They are all people who have taken a deep breath and said, ‘I want more in my life’. Now, sometimes more is something quite simple and we work together for a short period of time. And sometimes, like Marilyn, clients continue coaching as they want to develop greater self-awareness and personal skills. Now, I hope that you might want to work with me. And there’s a link I’m going to leave in the show notes about how it is that you can do that. But if it’s not me, please choose to work with a trained coach because, as I said, everybody is a coach these days but not everybody is a trained coach. And sometimes I will hear this thing from people who aren’t trained coaches who say, “Oh, but you know, I’m a coach. I actually have been coaching all of my life helping people.” Well, if you use that analogy then you don’t need to go to a dental hygienist who is trained to do that. You just have to go to somebody who’s been brushing their teeth all their life because you know, I’ve been brushing and flossing my teeth, therefore I can help you do that.
When I put it that way, it sounds silly, doesn’t it? You want to work with somebody who actually has the training and credentials to be able to help you. So for now, let me leave you with a little ‘being and doing’ homework. It’s very coachy. That’s what we often are doing, working on things that we can think about and things that we’re going to try. Because coaching is really the ultimate ‘being and doing’; we’re developing awareness and we’re taking action.
So something to think about and something to try is kind of the perfect example of what goes on in coaching. We have conversations, there are things that we’re going to think about, there are some things that you’re going to perhaps try. So something for you to think about now is, what’s the one thing if I were to do it consistently would have the greatest impact on my health or happiness?
And a follow-up question, why am I not doing it? And that’s what coaching is about. It’s that gap between the awareness of ‘what is it that I want’ and sometimes we know that and sometimes we have to kind of explore that and what is this gap between this thing and actually doing it and how can we close that gap?
Now your something to try is; hey, book a complimentary consultation with me. Just fill out the form on the coaching page of my website and the link is going to be in the show notes to that page and maybe share the answer to the ‘think about it’ questions, you know share the answer about what’s the one thing if you did it consistently would really make a difference in your life and why aren’t you doing it?
And then I’m going to be in touch to set up a time for us to chat by phone. And you might decide that, yeah, then you do want to do some coaching and maybe you decide, no, that’s not for you. But what have you got to lose? What do you have to lose? So reach out, book that consultation and let’s see where you are.
Now the next time on The Being and The Doing, we’re going to focus on: Positivity, what it really is and why it is more important than you think. And until then, lovely ones, pause, breathe and enjoy this day.
Outro: You’ve been listening to The Being and The Doing with your host Laurel Vespi. If you like this episode and think other people would, please subscribe, rate and give a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcast. Be sure to tune in next week for another conversation about The Being and The Doing. Thanks for listening.