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Life Coaching

What Is It?
How Does Coaching Differ From Counselling and Psychotherapy?
What To Expect
What Is It Used For?


What Is It?
Life coaching is a partnership between a trained coach and a client which aims to move the client forward from where they are now, to where they want to be in life. A coach helps a client to clearly define their goals and to devise an action plan for achieving those goals. Professional coaches support the skills and creativity that the client already has, providing motivation and helping a client to remain focused on what they want to be, do or have.

Life coaching originated in the United States in the early 1990s. It draws from a number of disciplines including sociology, psychology, mentoring and various forms of counselling.

How Does Coaching Differ From Counselling and Psychotherapy?
Counselling or psychotherapy helps a person understand past experiences which may be the cause of their current difficulties. These types of therapy deal with emotional pain, dysfunction and conflict, and aim to free patients from past limitations, presenting new and positive ways for dealing with problems. Coaching, on the other hand, is more future oriented, helping people to define what it is they want in life, and assisting them to move forward to accomplish their goals. It emphasises action, accountability and follow-through in achieving personal growth. Coaching does not focus directly on treating emotional problems. Coaching can be used to complement counselling or therapy and many people work with both a coach and a therapist at the same time.

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What To Expect
Many life coaches offer a complimentary initial session with clients. You can use this session to decide whether the coach is someone you feel comfortable with and would like to work with. Subsequent sessions can be either in person or by telephone, or sometimes by e-mail. Most coaches recommend committing to at least a three month period of coaching in order for you to make changes in your life that are sustainable long term. Sessions can involve much soul searching, with the aim of clearly defining your goals for the future and looking for ways to break old habits that may be holding you back. Coaching requires active participation on your part, with support and encouragement from your coach. You will likely be given "homework", or weekly tasks designed to help you take action to overcome the fears or procrastination that may be blocking your progress. For example you may be asked to rewrite your CV if you are looking for a job, or to make conversation with a stranger to overcome shyness.

Sessions are usually 30 - 60 minutes in length, with two to four sessions per month.

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What Is It Used For?
Coaching can be used to help define and reach goals in any aspect of life, including career, health and fitness, weight loss, work-life balance, spirituality, relationships, study, sports and finances.

References

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