What is a Life Coach?
One way to get the ball rolling is with a life coach. After working in patient care for eight years, I decided that only about 10-15% of us are able to make immediate permanent diet or lifestyle changes (I wish I fell in this group, but I don’t).
The rest of us struggle, fail repeatedly, fall off the wagon, completely give up, look for ways to cheat the system, or never even bother to try at all.
In order to best understand how life coaching may help make the needed changes to prevent disease and improve health, I decided to interview my favorite life coach, Tim Brownson, author of a fabulous little book I am reading right now called “Don’t Ask Stupid Questions-There are No Stupid Questions.”
What is a life coach?
There are a number of different types of life coach, but in essence it is somebody that helps their clients get from where they are now to where they want to be. The big differential between a life coach and say a counselor or psychotherapist is that a life coach looks to the future and doesn’t spend too long digging around in the past.
Coaches are much more goal oriented and also have an inherent belief that the client always has the requisite tools to achieve what it is they want to achieve, they just sometimes need help finding them.
A coach can also help people with accountability. I do a lot of work with people that work for themselves and have no boss to report into. They like having a coach to help keep them on track and to report into.
Why should someone hire a life coach?
If they want to see improvements in their life. Anybody really that wants help fulfilling their potential, setting and achieving goals and just feeling better about themselves can benefit from hiring a coach.
Personally, I also do a lot of intervention work which involves showing people alternate and more empowering ways to look at things and help them change their thinking patterns to be more empowering.
Who needs a life coach?
I think anybody can benefit from a life coach and that’s why some of the really super-successful in society employ coaches. Everybody knows athletes use coaches, but people are often surprised when I tell them that so do Politicians, Captains of Industry, Entrepreneurs, TV celebrities etc.
Who ‘needs’ one is another matter though because defining what somebody ‘needs’ from their life is an individual thing.
What made you decide to become a life coach?
I initially trained because I wanted the skills to use on myself. I had done a diploma on stress management and found it next to useless as I was still stressed senseless, so I took a look at coaching. When I started the training I absolutely loved it and everything just fell into place and from then on in I knew that I was leaving sales.
What is the most common advice you find yourself giving?
I’m not sure if it is one specific piece of advice as such. The one thing that I do with almost every client though is to help her understand her values. In 4 years I have only once had a client that knew accurately what her values were, and that was because she’d been on a Tony Robbins course and done a lot of work round them.
Values are who we are and if we don’t know what are values are and how to live in alignment with them, then we’re destined to live a life of mediocrity and unfulfilled potential. Some people naturally fall into line with them, but most people don’t, or at least that’s how it seems to me.
What is Neurolinguistic Programming?
NLP is probably so misunderstood that I’m really glad you asked me this. I once lost a client when somebody told him that NLP was like Scientology and I had another tell me they thought it was a form of brain washing. I’m just waiting for the first person to tell me I’m the spawn of the Devil. Of course I may very well be the spawn of the devil, but it has nothing to do with NLP.
NLP is a blanket term that covers a number of different skills, techniques and processes designed to help people make rapid change. I actually don’t use some of the better-known techniques like anchoring and the fast phobia cure very often, but I do use the language patterns a lot.
Both the Meta Model of language that looks at specificity of language in a therapeutic setting, and the Milton Model, which looks at artfully vague language, are very useful.
The Milton Model was based on the work of the brilliant hypnotherapist Milton H Erickson and is fascinating because speechwriters use it so often. It allows speakers to say little of genuine meaning so the recipient can apply their own interpretation to what’s being said. The classic use is for horoscope writers, but politicians and preachers also rely on it heavily. In fact some of the really brilliant preachers like Joel Osteen use lots of NLP. Whether intentionally or not (and my suspicion is that it is very intentional), they still use it to manipulate, er, I mean persuade people.
I also do a lot of reframing with clients and that it something that came out of the work of Bandler and Grinder the co-developers of NLP. Reframing is brilliant for helping people feel better about potentially negative situations. There’s a lot more to NLP and I would encourage anybody that’s interested to do some serious research.
Can you send us off with a free life coaching tip?
If a client tells me they don’t know the answer to something, I’ll often ask them “If you did know, what would the it be?” A ridiculous question, but a brilliant one too that I can’t take credit for devising. It usually gets them to shift their thinking and 80% of the time I then get an answer that moves us forward.
If you have any other questions about life coaching you can leave them in the comments here for Tim to briefly answer, or submit them to his website over at www.adaringadventure.com for his weekly “Ask the Coach” feature.
Thanks Tim for being our expert guest this week at the kitchen table!