Life coaching can help people in many different aspects of their life, from physical and emotional wellbeing to career success and financial management. This course will prepare you to offer life-coaching services to others, or to support yourself through personal change.
A good life coach focuses on drawing information out of the client. To do this you need to approach the client in a non threatening, relaxed manner and use concise open ended questions. Professionalism will gain trust - know your stuff! But don't use terminology that will not be familiar to the client. Treat the client like he/she is the only client you have. Nurture their responses and encourage elaboration.
Once you have the information you need, set about analysing it together. Ask specific (open and closed) questions to discover what the client values ie: family life, being fit, earning a decent salary etc. The next job is to translate those values into specific goals.
The course is made up of the following modules. To complete this qualification you must successfully complete the following 6 modules, and pass the exam for each module.
Human Nutrition 1
Psychology and counselling
Either Health and Fitness 1 (for anyone without prior health and fitness studies): or
Professional Practice for Consultants
Duration: 600 hours
There is no one approach to life coaching that is suitable for all individuals. Just as people have different learning styles - auditory, visual and kinaesthetic - there are different processes to facilitate learning and changes in one's life.
Any model of coaching will necessarily include different stages that need to be passed through in order for clients to achieve their desired goals. Remember, when a client contacts a life coach for the first time, it is because there are things in their life that they would like to improve. They are perhaps feeling at a loss to control certain aspects of their lives and may feel that they are losing a grip of these aspects or that they have become unattainable.
One such model of life coaching which takes into account these uncertainties is as follows:
• Stage One
Encourage the client to consider things rationally and not to panic. Anxiety will cause the client to lose their sense of reality and exaggerate the importance of the issues which are of concern to them. As such, it will de-motivate them. Encourage them to focus on other things to take their mind off what is bothering them. Perhaps make more time for leisure activities, such as reading, walking or taking up a hobby.
• Stage Two
Encourage the client to focus on the full picture and to put things into context. Simply thinking about what it is that is of concern does not permit the individual to see things in perspective. All aspects of the individual’s life need to be considered. This means not avoiding the problem, but rather researching all that which is known. As a clearer picture emerges, it will become obvious whether problems are serious, and if so, they can be treated as such.
• Stage Three
Get the client to slow down. Too often when people feel that things are spiralling out of control they make hasty decisions that can come back to haunt them. By slowing down, the individual can consider the implications of the decisions they wish to make. The client can perhaps allow themselves an extra day to make a decision that they would be tempted to make instantaneously. Make them realise how a decision made now could affect where they are 5 years from now.
• Stage Four
Encourage the client to seek help. The more people they can talk to the less of a burden their issues become. The can dilute their problems by sharing them with a few close friends or family members. A problem aired is a problem shared. If they internalise their problems then they can seem far worse and can become burdensome to both psychological and physical health.
• Stage Five
Get the client to focus on the long-term. Help the client to acknowledge that everything passes. What seems difficult now can be resolved in the future. Also, not all things are bad at any one time within an individual’s life, so encourage the client to consider the positive aspects of their life too. By concentrating on positive aspects, the client will realise that they have achieved a lot of success and should help them to realise that they can also achieve levels of success in those areas of their lives that are currently presenting problems. The client should also be encouraged to incorporate exercise and relaxation into their lives to help them to focus.
AN EXAMPLE FROM THE CONTENT OF THE COURSE -
The most common way of communicating is through oral communication, or speaking, yet only less than 10% of what a person actually says is retained. When a person is speaking, the listener is not only concentrating on what is being said, but also how it is being said. A break down of oral communication indicates that an oral message is 55% body language, 38% the WAY it is being said and 7% actual words spoken. So at all times, you must be aware of your body language and ensure that it supports or reinforces what you are saying. For instance, your body language does not reinforce your message if you are talking about being sincere, but you are looking distracted, or if you are advising a client about patience but your gestures are impatient when you listen to his or her many questions.
However, body language is often misunderstood as a universal code in which specific signals communicate specific messages. This simplistic view leads to incorrect assumptions about a person’s frame of mind. One stereotypic assumption is that people who avoid eye contact are avoiding the truth or lack confidence. In many cultures, direct eye contact is considered intrusive or disrespectful, so a person avoiding contact may simply be showing respect. Another example is the gesture of rubbing the side of one’s nose, which is said to indicate untruthfulness, though the real message might be that the person has a cold, has eaten garlic and wants to cover the aroma, or has an itchy nose. The key to reading body language is to be aware of the three guides: clusters, context and culture.
Clusters are groupings of signals that can help you more accurately read a person’s body signals. If a student says, "Yes. I understand that" while looking alert and directly at you, you would probably interpret that he was telling the truth. But if the student has his fingers over his mouth, looks down as he speaks, and fidgets with a pen, you would notice this cluster of body language signals, and interpret them as communicating that the student has not understood.
Context is the environment or situation in which a person is communicating. Crossed arms may signal that the client is not listening, or even rejects what you are saying. But if the room has open windows, it may only mean that she is cold. A student yawning may mean that he is bored with your teaching, or that he had a late night.
Culture is a very important influence on communication, and must always be considered when you deal with clients from different cultural backgrounds. A signal in one country may mean something else in another country. A classic signal is the thumb and pointer finger touching in a circular shape. For Caucasians this means "OK" or "spot on", . For Northern Greek or Maltese people this is an insult that can mean that they are homosexual.
Body language is a tool to assist you in your life-coaching strategies. It requires a keen eye and careful study of the subjects to read their language correctly.