Text "What is Life Coaching, Anyway?" by Shannon the Coach over background of prairie dog wearing a purple fedora and singing into an old-timey microphone

You might be wondering why this blog has an arguably adorable picture of a prairie dog belting out a tune and what in the world that has to do with life coaching.

We picked this picture for two reasons:

  1. Life coaches can have a sense of humor
  2. For people who don’t really know what life coaching is, a life coach is a kind of like a singing prairie dog: at first it doesn’t make much sense but chances are you’re gonna love it

This blog series will give you the life coaching basics. Over the next months we’ll help you get familiar with what coaching is, how it works, and what it can do for you. Of course we’ll continue to address specific topics with Shannon Beck, CPC, but we want to give you the knowledge to be empowered. Let’s start with the basics.

Depending on where you live, “coaching” can mean really different things. In the Midwest, most of us think football or maybe pep talks about career choices. On the coasts or in the UK, coaching is bigger than sports or work–it’s a recognized way to get more out of life and live in limitless potential. Life coaching is a service people use to move forward and achieve potential in relationships, finances, creative endeavors, career, and yes, even sports.

Certified life coaches are skilled professionals trained to work with people to identify problem areas, then explore beliefs and mindset to gain the necessary perspective to make shifts and change outcomes. The way this looks varies from person to person and issue to issue–some people need a session or two to figure out how to finally get that promotion, deal with a difficult coworker, or figure out how to keep their head in the game (literally or figuratively, both are important!). Some are unsatisfied in their relationships. Some are stuck and don’t want to circle the same issues over and over. Some feel that there has to be more to life but don’t know what that means or what to do about it. Whatever the problem, coaching addresses temporary stumbling blocks and fundamental obstacles with the same processes tailored to each person and situation.

Every coach has tools that they use to assess a client’s personality, preferences, and core beliefs. Different people appreciate different tools–for instance, one might dislike personality tests but energy levels make sense. Tools help coaches appropriately explore issues and strategies, teaching the most useful skills to clients to improve their lives one step at at time. A certified coach has received training from an accredited institution that belongs to the International Coach Federation and has worked with experts in their field to provide valuable, conscientious service to help clients move forward quickly and safely. Coaching is not currently regulated in the United States (which is why coaches can’t currently take insurance) so it’s important to make sure a coach is well trained, certified, and a good fit personally–much like a therapist–since the coaching process is rewarding but difficult work and it takes an expert to guide you through. Change is not easy!

Coaching has a lot in common with therapy but there are a few key differences. A therapist will deeply explore emotional wounds or trauma that hold us back. Therapists often help clients explore points of pain to allow healing; coaches center on beliefs and stories formed from those experiences and identify shifts that will help us move forward. Skilled coaches will refer clients to therapists if there are issues a client needs to process before making changes, and some therapists refer patients to coaches when people have healed and are ready to get into motion and take action.

Although coaching looks different for each person depending of their needs and preferences, every session has common elements–exploring where we are and building skills to move forward.

In the next several blogs, we’ll talk in about what issues bring people to coaching, and how it works, how the coaching process works and what to expect, who’s a good candidate for coaching, what to look for in a good coach, and more about Shannon Beck’s experience and practice. If you have questions or comments, please contact Shannon, or if you’re ready to get started, click here. We look forward to connecting with you!