Life coaching as an approach means to work in one specific area of your life, on a particular problem. For example, we could look at your home life with regards to sustainable living. In a case like this, I would assist you in gaining clarity around the issues of your home life. Although other areas of your life will be part of our conversations, they won’t be the main focus.
The advantage of using an approach like life coaching is that it begins with the end in mind. In our first session, we will define a goal for you and our relationship. Through the following weeks, we will meet regularly and discuss different aspects of that goal and how they are working to your advantage or disadvantage. We might leave each session with ‘homework’ for you to complete. In one of the last sessions, we will work out an action plan.
After around six weeks (or six sessions), we would part ways. Then it’s up to you to complete the action steps we discussed. I will offer follow-up sessions, but our coaching relationship will have officially come to an end.
In contrast to life coaching, counselling offers the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues of your life and evaluate how they affect each other. Counselling is particularly useful when you have a difficult time defining what is going on in your life. I will guide you through a process of exploring your life and looking at it from different perspectives.
A counselling relationship typically lasts for many months. We will move slowly through the process of identifying what is going on. The focus will be on talking about what is going on in your life. We might look at how to resolve some issues.
As part of our relationship, we could develop an action plan, and I could guide you through working on various steps. However, this action plan would come at the very end of our work together and might not become part of it at all. Counselling is most often used to bring the unconscious to the conscious, and this is most often done through conversation and in a session.
Similar to counselling, turning to mindfulness aims to make unconscious thoughts and habits conscious. Using a mindfulness approach doesn’t primarily aim to solve anything but rather to gain a fresh perspective. As part of a mindfulness coaching relationship we could, for example, look at how your past experiences are still outplaying themselves in your life today. Through this awareness, you will be able to make better decisions in the present and the future.
Although mindfulness is most often associated with meditation, I won’t be teaching you that. Instead, I will be helping you to understand anything that might arise during meditation. I will guide you to a greater understanding of yourself, not just while meditating but in everyday life as well.
Working with mindfulness is a great way to prepare you to make wiser decisions in your life, in the present and the future.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
NLP is less of a coaching approach than a set of tools I like to use. NLP works with a lot of visualisations which can be very powerful to solve issues in the present. As part of an NLP coaching session, I might look with you into past events and how to resolve them for the present. This resolution can help you to reach your goals in the future.
CBT is similar to NLP in being a set of tools I like applying. CBT offers the opportunity to look at your decision making processes today and how these processes can affect your future. It will guide you to understand your thought patterns which will ultimately help you to make better sense of yourself.