In today’s busy world, more and more people seem to be experiencing stress. If I got a dollar every time I heard some one say “I do not have enough time to do things”, “Which option do I take?”, or “I am burnt out!”, I would be a very rich man. The concerning thing is that this is not just people in the work force, but also students at school as well as the hard working mums (and dads) at home. Another common issue equally concerning is the lack of self care many people appear to have for themselves. Such people seem to always be putting an aspect of their lives on hold for the sake of others, their partners, their children, their friends or even their jobs.
Fortunately, there are now many resources at our disposal that we can make use of in order to help us find our way through life’s challenges. One type of resource that is becoming increasingly utilised is the Life Coach. A life coach is not too dissimilar to the sports coach found in professional sports. In the sporting arena, the job of the coach is to provide the sport team guidance, encouragement and inspiration. The coach will do his or her best to challenge the team to perform at its optimum level every time the team has to step on that court or playing field. So imagine having a personal coach like that for your own life. In fact nowadays you have the choice of many different types of coaches, not only life coaches, but executive and business coaches. What would it be like to have a personal coach? Let’s take a look at the typical activities that you and the personal coach may engage in and most importantly the benefits that these activities will bring.
The first and probably the most important thing your coach will do is help you arrive at deciding what your goal is. This process can be more complex than what you may expect. For instance you may not actually know what you want your goal to be. However you might be aware that you are feeling stressed or you are feeling extremely dissatisfied with a specific part of your life. A good coach will ask you the necessary questions that will force you to think about exactly what you want. The coach will never suggest the goal but rather will help you become aware of various things you should consider to help you arrive at what your goal is. What ever the goal, it must be measurable, specific and achievable within agreed time frame.
Once the goal and time frame has been set, the coach may then ask you to do a stock take of where you are at with respect to your goal at this very moment. Doing such a stock take will bring to the surface a number of things. Firstly you will be able to see where and how much you are currently falling short of where you want to get to. Secondly it allows you to examine the resources you currently have to help you achieve your goal. This exercise will put you in a position to assess exactly what is needed for you to achieve your goal. It represents the meat of what this challenge is all about, that is the things you need to do and/or put into place to get to your final destination.
The next thing the coach will have you do on your journey is a planning exercise that outlines the very steps and actions needed to ensure success. In the project management world, it is commonly recognised and understood that the successful completion of any project requires project planning. This includes listing all the tasks and actions that need to be done and assigning realistic due dates that will make the realisation of your goal achievable within the desired time frame. The planning exercise you undertake with your coach is probably the most crucial step in the process as it forms the foundation of the rest of your journey towards achieving your goal.
At this stage it is important to note that work you have done to date with your coach, setting the goal, taking stock and planning your path forward, may have taken place over a number of weeks. This all depends on the time frame you have set for your goal and frequency which you and your coach regularly meet. Now that a plan has been laid out, the remaining part of the journey will be focusing on the “doing” bit. This is where you need to be performing the tasks and actions you had set in your plan so that you can achieve your goal. Your coach will continue to meet with you regularly during this time keeping a list of the actions and tasks that you need to be completing from week to week. If your coach is good, then some of these tasks will be designed to stretch you or place you outside of your comfort zone.
The beauty of this is that you will work harder and strive to achieve your goals not only because you feel accountable to yourself and want to achieve your best, but also because you will inevitably feel accountable to the coach. There will be times however when a certain task just can not be achieved in the time frame set. In such circumstances, you may decide with the coach that a readjustment of the plan is required.
The most essential thing to be aware of during the “doing” stage of your journey is that you may be forced to change your current habits or more likely create new habits in order to complete your tasks. For example, instead of watching TV at night you may have to allocate 1-2 hours towards a task that gets you closer to your goal. Or you might be required to do something you normally feel uncomfortable doing such as cold calling prospective clients. It obviously depends on what your goal is. What makes this stage so challenging is that you are essentially changing the way you do things in order to become successful. In fact you may even have to change a number of fundamental aspects of your life, such as finding a more like minded set of people who share the same values you do to be your support structure, rather than the set of friends you currently have. This phase can indeed be challenging and therefore it is crucial that you try to remain committed to the goal especially when it feels like it is getting too tough.
A good coach will recognise what you are going through and will be there to support and encourage you, as well as suggest avenues that you can explore further to assist you in your endeavour. As you complete more and more tasks, particularly those that have really stretched you, the more self confident you will become not only in your abilities but also in your belief of what is possible.
The final phase of the journey is acknowledging what you have achieved. Your last session with the coach will typically involve assessing where you are at now in relation to the goal you had set. Naturally you will review together your efforts over the last couple of months highlighting the things that went right during this process. It is very important that you celebrate your wins. You will also be asked to reflect on things that didn’t go so well and what you have learnt. Together you may identify areas that you need to work on and generate a list of potential actions for you to undertake moving forward. Irrespective of where you end up, the most important thing to remember is …and I hate to use a common cliché but… life is a journey, not a destination.
David Tomaselli is the creator of Stress Management and Self Improvement Techniques – The Wholistic Development Exchange . The aim of the Wholistic Development Exchange is to empower you to deal with stress, pressure and the day to day challenges that life brings by providing you the latest Tips, Techniques, Articles, News, E-Books, Products and other Resources related to Stress Management and Self Improvement. To download free E-Books go to our Free Stress Management E-Books Section. To find out how to create an Extra Hour in your Day, have a read of our NEW seven part Time Creation Tips series.