I had a very interesting phone call today with someone. It was an interview actually, where I was being asked to join a panel of life coaches. During the interview, I was asked several important questions, the first being, “What is your philosophy?”
What is your philosophy?
This is a good question to explore even if you aren’t a life coach. It helps you know what helps guide you throughout your life.
My response was, “First, do no harm. And if I can’t help someone, at least I won’t harm them.” Many people think of harm as something physical but in a coaching construct (or life construct, for that matter), it means emotionally and spiritually. Life coaches, much like others in any helping field, have a duty to make sure they do no harm. You may have heard other professions use this — medical doctors and psychologists in particular — and some more spiritually focused religions.
When I said “First, do no harm,” I mean I will trust the person’s spirit as a precious gift. I will ensure my words and actions will be to lift up, to nurture, and to encourage; not to tear down or destroy.
When I said “And if I can’t help someone, at least I won’t harm them,” I mean they will know the space I hold is a safe one. Even if what is presented to me is a situation I do not understand, I will treat it and the person presenting it with care. We don’t have to understand one another to offer compassion and empathy.
What do you think is the most important aspect of coaching?
For me, the most important aspect is seeing your client reach their goals. Whatever those goals may be. Goals vary from person to person, and for some, it is completing a project they never thought they could (i.e. training for a marathon, earning a degree, etc.); for others, it is losing weight, or quitting smoking. Life coaching can be short-term, or it can be long-term. Some people may need someone to touch in with regularly, while other people may just need someone to touch base with a few times a month. Coaching is highly personalized and customized, to the individual.
What is your approach in coaching?
I tend to be a nurturer by nature, and believe in encouraging people. I use a non-judgmental, compassionate approach when dealing with everyone I come in contact with. Our perspectives are based on so many different, personal variables that even two people growing up in the same home will have different perspectives on things. It is not my task to change your perspective, but to meet you where you are and help you get to where you want to be. I do this by encouraging and showing compassion. So many people go through life without simple things like being told, ‘You can do this,’ ‘I believe in you,’ or ‘You’re doing great, keep going.’ Usually, people are told what they fail at and do wrong. Positive reinforcement is a huge part of my approach.
Also, I don’t believe I hold the answers; my clients do. I help them unlock their own answers within. During coaching, instead of me telling someone what they need to do, I will prompt them to find the right course of action for them at that time. They may need to do “C” but may only be able to do “A” and that’s fine. We’ll get there. When they are ready.
What is your preferred method for working with clients?
I have found the Internet to be the most convenient method for working with clients. Skype, email, Google hangouts, etc. have made it so convenient to meet with someone, especially if they are not local to where I am. It is also is great for people who may live in areas where life coaches are not readily available. I have offered workshops in bigger cities but found the best response in holding private groups on Facebook. Even if someone did not feel comfortable speaking out in the group about an issue, they had access to PM me.
Additionally, I think the convenience of technology has helped make it easier for people to connect as needed. I can customize different packages so if someone needs a prompt during a few times a week or emails, it can be done, instead of having to make an appointment and then driving somewhere. Many people actually prefer just email coaching and it seems to work well!
If you are interested in my services, please feel free to contact me so we can work out a package for you, or you can chose from the a la carte menu.