Contrary to popular belief, life coaches are not extraordinary people. The focus of their duty is not to end world hunger or achieve peace in the Middle East – or any other geographic location.
They are generally not heroes. At least, nothing on their list of professional responsibilities call for them to accomplish heroic deeds.
However, nothing is stopping anyone, including a life coach, from heroic deeds if they are warranted and do not put anyone in danger.
Life coaches are, for the most part, ordinary people who possess an extraordinary skills set.
Those skills, combined with certain human qualities, not only enable people to find their direction in life, but give them license to empower others to orient their lives as they’ve always wanted to.
What are those qualities? What are those skills? Do you have them? Would you develop them in order to help others, all while creating a lucrative business for yourself?
Your Superprof now outlines the characteristics and skills that good life coaches all have.
Life coaches come in all shapes and sizes, but they all embody a certain set of characteristics Source: Pixabay Credit; Geralt
People are genericised as individuals for a reason: the mode du jour is that everyone is unique, alone in his/her particular personality and their spectrum of likes and dislikes. There is nothing wrong with that!
However, there are personality traits and capabilities that prevail among select groups, and life coaches are no different.
For example, saying the French U is incredibly difficult for native English speakers; a sound every native French speaker makes with no problem!
That is an overly simplistic example of how something as natural as language can identify a segment of the population.
A more complicated example is attitude.
Some people see doom and gloom everywhere, and some are so sunnily optimistic you wish they would spend time in a lemon grove just so they could become a bit sourer!
Of course, the ultimate optimist would just make lemonade…
Life coach training does not emphasise having a positive attitude. However, it does underscore the need for a can-do attitude.
What’s the difference?
Being blindingly optimistic – having positive expectations simply because you can’t believe a situation could turn out badly differs wildly from the anticipation of challenges on the way to achieving results.
In a time of great need, do you really want someone to pat your hand and give you platitudes?
“Everything will be alright in the end” is perhaps one of the most self-defeating phrases, because it permits passivity in the face of challenge.
A life coach will never tell you to wait till the end of things to see if everything will turn out alright!
A life coach will help you recognise and find ways to overcome obstacles that stand between you and your goals.
A life coach must necessarily be imbued with a contagious can-do attitude. You should soon become similarly afflicted.
Rather than be clouded by wishes borne aloft in the sky of ephemeral positivity, a person with a can-do attitude is confident and resourceful. They get things done.
Thus, an essential characteristic of any life coach is not a positive attitude but a can-do attitude.
Your life skills coach should imbue you with a can-do attitude! Source: Pixabay Credit: PDP
The art of communicating is a two-fold process that involves both speaking and listening.
In fact, so important is listening to life coaches that they learn three levels of listening in life coach training!
Studies have proven that the majority of people in conversation spend their non-talking time formulating a response; one not necessarily in tune with what their dialogue partner is saying.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply – Stephen Covey
That being the case, how can anyone expect to be heard?
Even if your friends and co-workers describe you as a good listener, that doesn’t necessarily represent the listening skills a life coach needs.
A life coach is not a good listener but an effective listener.
Effective listening means understanding the meaning behind the words: the emotional temperature, the nuances and what is actually being said, along with the intent behind the speaker’s choice of words.
When Sherry complained that her friend no longer had time for her, Sam replied: “Well, you know, me and Jason have our own vibe… We’ll try to make time for you soon… how about lunch next week?”
What Sam was really saying was: “Bug off, Lady!”
Sherry could have saved herself a lot of disappointment by catching on to the sudden, non-apologetic exclusion from a person she thought was a friend, rather than hanging hope on a miserly emotional handout.
Of course, a life coach is not a relationship coach, but the principle of effective listening remains.
Your coach will listen to your ambitions and aspirations, help you determine what stands in your way to becoming successful and outline a plan of action to achieve your goals.
The second facet of communication, speaking, is also a vital skill all life coaches cultivate.
Having an expanded vocabulary does not an effective speaker make. Using the right words at the right time, with the right tone to convey the right meaning is what your personal life coach specialises in.
At times encouraging and others motivating, you can always count on hearing exactly what you need to hear from your coach. That doesn’t mean it will be what you want to hear!
Whether you need encouragement toward your personal growth or empowering in your profession, your life skills coach is dedicated to providing.
We all know what ethics are and we hope that people live by them.
That doesn’t stop people from deviating from the norm; if no one did, we would have no such words as betrayer and backstabber, nor any need for prisons.
If you plan to engage a certified life coach to help you scheme your way into a promotion or to capture the love of your life, forget it: s/he is bound by a set of ethics that forbids deceit.
What professional coaching will help you with is determining roadblocks that stand between you and your goals, with no tricky psychology or unpalatable scheming involved.
Anyone with life coach certification knows that working towards a goal without improving yourself in the process makes for hollow victories.
The goal of a life coach is to help you vanquish self-doubt so that you can achieve anything.
In that sense, your personal goals are actually irrelevant to meaningful personal coaching.
More to the point: your fundamental goal becomes being the best you that you can be in order to achieve whatever external goal you’ve set for yourself.
You’ll find your life coach embodies all of these qualities and more! Source: Pixabay Credit: 905513
You might think that someone who makes a living by helping people organise their lives would be hyper-organised themselves.
That is not necessarily so!
Anyone who has undergone a training program to become a life coach will tell you that organization is overrated.
Organisation is necessary for anyone running a coaching business, but what really matters is their ability to compartmentalise.
That means that, should you break down sobbing during your initial consultation with your life coach, s/he would certainly be empathetic, but those feelings have no impact on what they will do to help you.
Likewise, should s/he be having a bad day, that attitude would not spill over into his/her work life: you won’t get called names or be shouted at in a fit of anger.
Attack the issue, not each other is some of the best advice from relationship coaching, and it also applies to life coaching.
Thus your life coach will be completely dedicated to you when working with you. You should never hear “Well, I had this client, once…”
Not only would that be a glaring breach of confidence but it would be unethical!
Unlike a sports coach who might be supportive in their coaching, a personal coach keeps you motivated by keeping you in the hot seat.
It sounds unpleasant, but it is exactly what you retained such a consultant for.
Should you engage in coaching sessions, it is because you wish to accelerate your personal development.
That puts all of your coach’s focus directly on you; not on any environmental reasons or external variables that would cause you to not reach milestones you laid out for yourself.
That being said, do not expect any mentoring from your coach.
S/he will not tell you how to do things or even advise you on the proper path to take to achieve the results you desire.
S/he will consult with you on a regular basis, to ask if you’ve completed any steps on your action plan and, if not, why you haven’t.
Beware of your answer! You won’t get any sympathy from excuses; your coach is looking for you to succeed!
And, once you’ve succeeded in achieving the life balance you sought, your formal relationship with your coach is over – another result of the compartmentalising s/he is so very good at.
In summary, the coaching skills and qualities taught in every coaching certification program and endorsed by International Coach Federation, the global organisation that directs coaching education, are as follows:
Communication skills – both listening and speaking
A can-do attitude
motivation, and the ability to motivate others
Effectiveness: in getting to the root of your goals and the challenges to overcome them
Empowered and empowering
These core competencies and other coaching techniques are uncovered and developed during the course of coaching programs taught in the UK and around the world.
If you wanted to take a coaching course, rid yourself of limiting beliefs and undergo a transformation in your life, why not become a coach yourself?
If you’ve always dreamed of helping others you could take part in a few workshops, acquire those coaching tools so you can render coaching services!
Talk about a transition to fulfilling your life purpose!