A university student in graduate school recently contacted me (well, two actually contacted me and I had to go with the first!). She noted that she is taking a coaching training class and one of her assignments is to interview certified life coaches regarding the journey to become a life coach and various similar topics related to coaching. I was thrilled to know that she was excited to learn about coaching, the processes involved and the benefits that clients receive. The last two questions may be especially interesting for those who have ever wondered what it would be like to have your own coach. The grad student has given me permission to share our interview on blog. Thank you, E!
As I share this info, please feel free to contact me with any questions using the contact form above. Please share any comments or insights below as well. Specifically, I'd love to know: If you had a life coach, what is the number one topic that you feel would be a priority in order to address and bring about positive changes in your life?
- What led you to become a coach and or why did you select this specific field?
I worked in mental health and public health for many years. After being in a system that focused so much on what is wrong and sometimes merely treating symptoms, I decided to focus on prevention and helping people to move forward in order to truly FLOURISH in their lives. There are a lot of people who may not exactly need mental health treatment but instead may be not living to their full potential or living with purpose. Sometimes they may feel they are coasting through life or may feel like work has overtaken their lives. My clients learn to create a life that they love and feel great about. Of course, there is a time and a place for healing and mental health treatment, and the topic is something I am still passionate about. My focus in my practice with clients is positive mental health, happiness and overall well-being.
- What coaching training have you received? (certifications or continued education)
Just a few months after earning a Master’s degree, I enrolled in a certification program that is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF). After completing the general coaching program, I went on to take further courses in group coaching, wellness coaching, and other programs. I’ve also received training on stress reduction and positive psychology, in addition to a host of other courses and seminars on personal growth and development. I am a lifelong learner, which I believe ultimately benefits my clients. I also received training years ago in several evidence-based programs that utilize goal setting and coaching techniques.
- What is your experience in coaching? (mostly in corporations or individual clients)
For my practice, I primarily work with individual clients (usually twenty and thirty-somethings). I also used to hold a part-time position with an agency in which I served as what is called a “care transitions coach.” Furthermore, I occasionally hold workshops in a group format and am currently leading a course called “Flourishing 101” at Emory Continuing Education.
- What would you say your style of coaching is?
I use a lot of open-ended questions. The underlying idea is that we all know what is best for ourselves. We all have our own answers, and sometimes we need to learn to trust ourselves. Clients usually work on a combination of personal and professional goals. I believe everything is connected. I take a holistic approach (looking at the whole person), because in order to truly flourish it is ideal to focus on mind, body and spirit.
- In your personal opinion, what is the most intriguing/ exciting aspect of coaching?
It is really exciting for me to see transformation, breakthroughs and growth. Clients make positive changes in their lives and sometimes feel a sense of reinvention. I’ve seen people take steps to start their own businesses, decrease anxiety, increase confidence and assertiveness, gain a greater sense of balance, excel in school, develop healthy habits, gain clarity on decisions or their vision in life, take massive action, add joy in their lives, and most of all get out of their own way. Someone may come to me stuck, overwhelmed or confused, and ultimately learn the tools they need to reduce stress, gain clarity and live an extraordinary life. Sometimes people come to me already knowing what they want in life, and they benefit from the encouragement to STRETCH themselves and push through the fear of getting out of their comfort zone. When we make a conscious effort to choose happiness, there is a ripple effect that spreads joy and positivity to others.
- Also, what do you think the most important aspect of coaching is? What do you try to provide for your clients?
I think it is important for clients to recognize their unique strengths, passions and interests, and to do whatever it is that makes them light up. It is not about what I think they should do, what someone else thinks they should do, or what society implies. Many people start to live a life because they think they should or what society dictates and end up miserable. It is important to follow your heart, your intuition and your gut. I provide an open, nonjudgmental space so that clients can feel comfortable sharing.
Please share any comments or insights below as well. Specifically, I'd love to know: If you worked with a life coach, what is the number one topic that you feel would be a priority in order to make positive changes in your life?