Welcome! So I recently realized we should take a step back. By now you may have deduced what coaching is all about...but maybe not. So here's the 101.
WTF is coaching?
The ICF (the self-governing body for coaches, kind of like Yoga Alliance for yoga teachers if you're familiar) defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today's uncertain and complex environment. "
So there's that. I personally like to think of it as supporting and empowering you to get really clear on what you want, and then help you clear the way to go get it.
How is it different from therapy?
Well, there's the official distinction and then there's reality. Officially, therapy is more focused on healing trauma or helping people deal with mental or emotional disorders. A therapist went to school for a long time to be able to diagnose and treat those serious mental health issues.
Coaching on the other hand isn't as focused on coping or helping you heal your past. Accredited coaches are specially trained to recognize where your mindset and approach to your life is holding you back, and then help you overcome it. Coaches are likely to empower you, challenge you, and encourage you. We're also trained to not give you our opinion on things. It's about you living your best life and tapping into your true desires. Not about what we think is best for you.
All that being said, there are a lot of great therapists who often act as coaches to their patients, and there's nothing wrong with that. A coach, on the other hand, shouldn't be diagnosing your mental health, and may suggest you see a therapist if it becomes clear you're dealing with trauma or something else she doesn't feel trained to support you through.
How is it different from consulting?
Consultants are paid to tell you what to do. Like, you need to do your taxes, a tax consultant will literally tell you how to do that. Or if you want to start a new business, you can hire a business or marketing consultant to help you avoid common mistakes.
Coaches, to my earlier point, really shouldn't be telling you what to do with your life. If they do, they're acting as consultants. Coaches hold space for you to figure out your own answers. As a coach, I may suggest things to try that will help you stretch and grow, but it's not like a "you have to do it this way" thing. To be clear, it's not that coaches won't call you out on your bullshit...we totally will. But that's an intuitive call that you might be playing small or sabotaging yourself on the way to what you want.
When or why should I hire a coach?
Excellent question. I think there are endless reasons to hire coaches. The most simple answer is that you can hire a coach when you're ready to make a shift in your life, especially if you notice the things you've tried in the past haven't worked. Coaches specialize in everything from relationships to finances to career (ahem...hi!) to...really anything.
How do I choose a coach?
This is majorly energetic. By that I mean you need to feel safe and excited with the person you decide to hire. Some things to consider:
Most coaches have a specialty or area of focus. For example, I'm a career and lifestyle coach, and I focus mostly on working with women in their late-20's and early-30's who have hit a plateau in their career and are now seeking new challenges, less stress and more meaning. One way to start is to find someone who specifically focuses on whatever it is you want to work on.
Read their website, check out their blog, and maybe their Instagram or YouTube page. See if you connect with what they say. Does it resonate with you? I'd say you should be thinking "Oh....YAS!" or "I want that! Help me get that!" as you're reading their content.
Ask for a free consultation call. Most coaches will have that as an offer on their website anyway, so you should be able to just sign up for one, but if for some reason it's not, just ask. These sessions usually take anywhere for 20 minutes to an hour, and in that time the coach will get a sense of what you want to work on and where you're coming from. You can come prepared with any and all questions about how they approach coaching. Some coaches have a really specific program or formula they take their clients through, others are more fluid and will instead support you in whatever is coming up for you that week.
Short answer though, go with your gut. Have more questions about this? Shoot me a note!