Friday, April 3, 2020

What The....Is Life Coaching Anyway!!!

If I tell you that I am a life coach and that I can help you tap into your potential and create the life of your dreams, would you hire me?

Probably not.

Why?  Most likely because you do not see how it will benefit your life and because my promise is vague and unclear. 

Remember, when spas, massages, manicures, and pedicures were not a thing.   What would your grandmother have said 40 years ago if you suggested she get a massage?  She probably would have said that it was a waste of time and money.  What did she say when you told her she should get a microwave?  Mine said, "I don't need that in my house.  I've been cooking for years without it, and I am doing just fine."
See the trend here.  Today these things are common and even essential parts of our lives.  Is this because the powers that be brainwashed us into believing they are useful.  Admittedly, this can often be the case, but many products and services have proven to be beneficial to the quality of our lives. 

Am I going to try to convince you that this is the case with life coaching?
At the risk of being predictable, yes.

In 1995, Daniel Goleman published a New York Times bestseller with the title Emotional Intelligence.  His book changed the way we understood intelligence.  We began to dive into the reality that IQ was not necessarily the most critical factor when it came to success.  More and more research showed that a more crucial factor in determining our ability to reach goals at work and in our personal lives was EQ - Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence, according to Goleman's model, is comprised of the following:

Self-awareness: know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
Self-regulation: manage or redirect one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances.
Social skill: manage other’s emotions to move people in the desired direction.
Empathy: recognize, understand, and consider other people’s feelings especially when making decisions
Motivation: motivate oneself to achieve for the sake of achievement.

Emotional intelligence became widely recognized as being an essential skill in the workplace. We learned that it could be cultivated and learned.  Employers began investing money in assessing their staff's EQ using tools such as EQ360 and developing training programs geared towards increasing this valuable skill set.  Today, some argue that we are still not investing enough in this type of training.  I certainly saw this trend in education.  I haven't extensively analyzed the data, but I can attest to the fact that the most influential teachers, principals, and middle management employees in education undoubtedly exhibited strong EQ skills.

There are strong arguments for the relevance of EQ in the workplace.   Companies continue to spend at least a part of their budgets on this type of training.

But are we taking advantage of what we know about EQ and applying it to our personal lives?  Most of us have goals.  We want/need to get in shape.  We want/need to be more successful at work.  We want/need to better deal with our emotions.  We want/need to have better relationships. I mean, there are at least as many personal wants and needs out there as there are people. And yet we are not exploiting one of the most significant resources for getting these wants and needs met, our emotional intelligence.

We spend thousands of dollars on a variety of magic bullets that promise to help us get what we want.  And then when the magic bullets don't work,  we dismiss what we want out of frustration and discouragement and settle for spending our money on diversions such as food, alcohol, or other distractions.

Why are we not turning towards our most significant asset?  Our potential for developing a valuable and life-enhancing skill set that is already ours.

I would argue that the underlying reason is that the culture and society we live in does not endorse or put much stock in this kind of financial investment.  There are so many other places you are being encouraged to spend your money.  Think about it.  How much money did you spend on things that got in the way of you attaining your goals just in the past six months?

Investing in developing your emotional intelligence supports you in increasing the behavior that gets you what you want and desire and decreasing the behavior that gets in the way.  Go over the list at the beginning of this article.  Can you identify one goal you have that could not be achieved by developing one or more of these competencies?

That is where life coaching comes in.  You are, in essence, hiring someone to help you develop the skills and competencies that will allow you to achieve whatever you want.   And once you learn these skills, you will be in a position to apply them to all other areas of your life.  It is an investment with an exponential return on investment.

Now there are coaches with a variety of niches, and you'll want to find one with a life experience that matches your needs. 
We do not all have the same training or skill set.  Do your homework.  A competent coach will be in a position to help you develop and learn the EQ skills relevant to your particular situation. 

As eloquent and well-written as this article might be, I'm mindful of the fact that you might not quite yet be convinced of the value of hiring a coach.
But please, get curious.  Talk to a coach.  We consult for free. Do some research.  It is well worth the effort.

That I can promise!!

Joanne 💗


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