“A life coach does for the rest of your life what a personal trainer does for your health and fitness.”
– Elaine MacDonald, Harvard Business School
When I was younger, I had one of the best soccer coaches. They helped me work harder and become one of the best players on the team. They pushed me, and while sometimes it was uncomfortable to be challenged, I learned many lessons about myself. These days, while I do not play sports, I still use a coach to help me work harder and learn about myself.
Life coaching is when someone reinforces and motivates certain behaviors, pushes creativity, and challenges personal insight. It is often about reaching that “aha” moment in navigating life’s challenges. And there are many studies that show that having a life coach improves your livelihood and mentality.
Many use life coaches to break a habit, cope with difficulties at work or in a relationship, or reach a new goal for themselves. Often, it is not just life challenges, but it is certain life events that trigger a need for a life coach. Having such a person in one’s life can help to improve one’s self-efficacy, confidence, and quality of life.
Recently, I went through a difficult patch in life – where I felt my professional track was misaligned with my personal goals for where I wanted to be. At this time, I knew that I needed someone else to help me uncover why I felt uncomfortable and discontent. So, I let a life coach into my life. At first, it seemed strange, but then suddenly I had my first “aha” moment – I realized that I was pursuing my work in a negative way, and that was affecting how I was moving towards my goals. The coach was helpful because they asked me many questions and helped me to frame where I was and how I felt about things.
While many of us have good friends in our lives that we often turn to for advice, studies show that having a professional coach can oftentimes be more effective. In a 10-week randomized test comparing professional coaches and peer coaches, researchers discovered that people who were coached by a professional achieved more. Peer coaches, it seems, while comfortable, were not able to push coachees the amount needed.
Identifying your need for a coach comes in different ways. It can be a sudden discovery or a slow realization. When we identify the need for such a person, we must adopt a willingness to be challenged. For, it is within that willingness that we will find a way to push ourselves towards the answer and action we need.
What’s holding you back in life? Find the answers with the right life coach.