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  • Jodie Lamb

Your life coaching questions answered

Coaching is growing in popularity. Why? Probably because our lives are filled with increasingly complex demands which can put us under considerable strain and stress.


We can often feel removed from more traditional ways of connecting and making decisions.


Coaching offers solutions by enabling us to make more focused decisions and enact our plans. But most people unfamiliar with the mechanisms of coaching still have a lot of questions.


Below I answer some of these most common coaching related questions:


Can life coaching help depression/ anxiety?

Can life coaching help with stress?

What can life coaching do for me?

Is life coaching legit?

Is life coaching a con?

How does life coaching work?

Is life coaching effective?

Who benefits from life coaching?

Does life coaching work online?

Where to start with life coaching?

Is life coaching worth the investment?


life coaching, goal setting, life change, coaching, change coaching, transition coaching

Can life coaching help depression/ anxiety?


Can life coaching help depression/ anxiety?

The quick answer to this is no. You should seek help from a mental health practitioner for mental illnesses. Any coach that claims that they can help you with mental health problems, unless they are also a registered mental health practitioner, is behaving unethically.


You may experience some improvements to depression and anxiety through coaching because of increased hopefulness and the actions you take to make life improvements, but these would be entirely accidental and incidental. Coaches are not trained experts in the mental health field. Find yourself a good therapist. Coaching and therapy can sit comfortably alongside each other, so you could do both at the same time. But make your health a priority first.


Can life coaching help with stress?

Broadly stress can be defined as:

1. Situations in which we are under pressure e.g. having a lot to do, not having much control over a situation

2. The feelings associated with those pressures

3. An inability to cope with the demands placed on us at any given time

Can life coaching help with stress?

Coaching can help with stress because it can help you to manage external pressures more effectively e.g. by consolidating and prioritising what you have to do, and enabling you to let go of some of the demands on your time and energy; or by looking for patterns of behaviour that exacerbates your emotional response and exploring alternatives to these.


What can life coaching do for me?

Life coaching is a change methodology that can be applied to many areas of your life. It is particularly useful for performance enhancement e.g. figuring out what you want to do in any given area, and helping you to get there. So if you want a new job, lifestyle change, to decrease stress, to get a pay rise, improve your business practices, help with better decision making etc. etc. coaching could make a huge difference by enabling you to focus, strategise plan and act efficiently.


Coaching involves deep listening (something many of us do not experience often), impartiality (ditto), insightful questioning (to help you to get to the nub of what you want, and understand what is holding you back from getting it), and action-oriented change.


In the past year my own clients have created 3 new businesses, started 3 new jobs, negotiated 2 pay-rises, paid off debts, and by far and away the most important thing, have increased their confidence and satisfaction.


Is life coaching legit?

Life coaching is very similar to the performance coaching and executive coaching used by businesses. Companies increasingly use coaches because of their proven ability to improve business practices and performance. A life coach provides the same function but within different spheres of your life. It is often highly effective. While coaching is a relatively new discipline, there is an increasing body of peer-reviewed research that shows the efficacy of coaching.


However, there is no regulatory body for coaching, and it is possible for anyone to set up as a coach. So it is in your best interest to exercise some caution. Your best bet is to look for accreditation.


I took my own accredited coaching course (training provided by RD1st, accreditation by Culture at Work, formally Performance Coach Ltd.) in 2008, and have taken a number of training courses and refreshers since. My initial coaching training entailed 64 hours face to face learning, a written analysis of a coaching process with a client, personal study, 25 hrs of mandatory practice and a coaching session observation and assessment.


Don’t be afraid to ask a potential coach about their training and accreditation, and make sure that you speak to them before starting your coaching to establish whether they are a good fit for what you need. Training and accreditation should be seen as a baseline requirement, not your only criterion for selecting a particular coach.


Is life coaching a con?

Is life coaching a con?

As with anything that is not regulated there is a certain amount of snake oil and poor practice. But there are also many talented and effective coaches. So some due diligence on your part is required to find a person that is not just offering platitudes and unrealistic promises. Look for accreditation, consistent and considered messaging, and someone that is clear that coaching is a framework within which you can explore and experiment with making change happen, and not a magical solution that they will drop in your lap. If this is what you want, you are not yet ready for coaching.






How does life coaching work?

Life coaching works by:

Facilitating the exploration of needs, motivations, desires, skills and thought processes to assist the individual in making real, lasting change.

· Uses questioning techniques to facilitate the client's own thought processes in order to identify solutions and actions rather than taking a wholly directive approach.

· Supports the client in setting appropriate goals and methods of assessing progress in relation to these goals.

· Observing, listening and asking questions to enable to the coachee to better understand their current situations and future options.

· Encourages a commitment to action and the development of lasting personal growth and change.

· The coach maintains unconditional positive regard for the client, which means that the coach is at all times supportive and non-judgemental of the client, their views, lifestyle and aspirations.


During coaching a number of mechanisms help the client to make changes including asking challenging questions to enable the client to develop an understanding of their attitudes, behaviors and habits; goal setting for clarity and motivational purposes; an examination of the clients’ deeply held values to ensure that change is congruent with what is meaningful for them; supportive positive re-enforcement; and finally having someone that is neutral in relation to what you want to achieve and will therefore hold the space for you to explore and experiment by listening and reflecting and facilitating.


In his book Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman (Goleman 1995 p.43) https://www.danielgoleman.info/biography/ claims that people with self-awareness and people with “certainty about their feelings, are better pilots of their own lives.” The role of the coach is to use a number of tools – reflection, challenging questioning and positive goal setting – to create a framework within which the coachee can clarify their own thoughts and feelings, and develop a greater understanding of how to make the changes they would like to make.


Coaching is a future focussed discipline that assumes that the coachee is capable of making choices and decisions that will suit their own values system, personality and learning style. The role of the coach, is not to lead the coachee, but to enable them to find solutions by examining the reality of their situation. The coach will identify patterns of thoughts and behaviour, which they will highlight. The effect of this is often to draw the coachee’s attention to negative beliefs that they might hold about themselves or their abilities (self-limiting beliefs), and to challenge these beliefs. This approach is key in enabling the coachee to remove the obstacles in the way of their making the changes they wish to make.


How does life coaching work?

Is life coaching effective?

Life coaching is effective if you are in a position to, and are committed to, doing the work required. A coach can’t make things happen for you but a life coach can accelerate a change process enormously. A life coach can help you to find clarity and focus. They can support you in planning in a way that is manageable so that you can get stuff done. And a life coach can help keep you on track and motivated.


My personal experience has been mixed, very much depending on the coach. For example, I am not keen on coaches that emphasise action and accountability over clarity and value. This is because I have no problem with doing difficult things, but I do tend to do things because I think I ought to, not because I really, truly want to. So I need a very intuitive coach that can interrogate my need to act to please others. I have had some coaches that have compounded the issues I wanted to resolve, and some that have been very effective in helping me to move forward in a meaningful way.


Who benefits from life coaching?

Anybody can benefit from life coaching. The two most important things to consider when deciding if life coaching is right for you are:


1. Do you want to make changes (to your mindset, your circumstances, your habits); and

2. Are you prepared to make the changes you need to achieve what you want for yourself and with the support of an impartial and non-judgemental coach?


If you think that coaching will magically change things without your own concerted input, coaching is not for you right now.


Does life coaching work online?

Few of us are able to meet face to face at the moment because of the pandemic and various restrictions associated with it, and are increasingly accustomed to using video calling for our daily interaction.


Coaching works well online and in many ways is free of some of the distractions of a face to face meeting. It also means that there is more flexibility for coach and coachee without the burden of travel time.


Where to start with life coaching?

Where to start with life coaching?

As with all relationships in life, what matters is compatibility, trust, and shared values. So choose a coach that you like and that you feel comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make use of chemistry calls. Follow social media accounts. Ask for recommendations from friends (though remember that everyone is different so someone your friend thinks is great might still not be the right fit for you). Read blogs like this one. Do your research. Experiment.


Is life coaching worth the investment?

Is life coaching worth the investment?

Life coaching is worth the investment if you can afford to pay for it (it’s fairly expensive), and if you have the time and the will to do the work required. My own experience from working with clients is that coaching rarely fails to bring about significant change and improvement in people’s lives whether through mindset change or a change in circumstances. These changes often have a remunerative value.


But the investment is most valuable in sense that it makes you a better pilot of your own life.


If you have any questions that I haven’t covered here send me an e-mail and I’d be delighted to help. If you are considering coaching, but aren’t sure/need to do some further research to find the right coach, drop me a line and we can book in a chemistry call where you can ask questions and figure out whether we are a good fit.