Since I’ve become a qualified Personal and Business Coach, I find myself deep in passionate conversations with people about Coaching. Completing the course in 2012, studying the topic and being coached over many months, has brought a lot of self awareness and with that, it has undoubtedly changed my life for the better. When talking to others about coaching, the most common questions seem to be about ‘What exactly is Coaching?’ and ‘It sounds like Therapy or Counselling.’
I’m going to try to explain it in a nutshell and hope to do the skill and practice of Coaching justice.
1. Be True to Yourself:
Coaching encourages a person to be true to themselves. To listen to their gut feelings, (or inner self – call it what you want), and listen to your heart and not your head. This can be best done through deep breathing – for some people going for a walk clears the head, or a run, for others it’s meditation or a bath. Voices or worries in our head can lead us astray and convince us to stay on the wrong path. With Children and teens I ask them to get in touch with their ‘deep down inside voice’ the part of them that knows the right thing to do in a certain situation.
Coaching encourages mindfulness, being in the moment, being present and being here now. No daydreaming, no trying to do a few things at the same time, being totally 100% focused on what you are doing, whether it’s having a conversation, in a meeting, eating something. Paying attention and not drifting off. By doing this the gut feelings that we have, can be more easily heard and expressed. e.g. Someone told me she drifts off at meetings where the same boring person complains all the time. She ends up frustrated because she doesn’t speak up or ask questions because she doesn’t want to sound silly – she misses her chance to give her opinion because she’s not really listening. We discussed staying ‘present’ and listening to her gut and speaking up when need be.
Coaching is about not allowing others: events, people, obstacles to remain the reason why we are stuck where we are, and if you’re stuck and there are obstacles, it sounds like you’re unhappy. Coaching also teaches you not to take things personally or to heart. Listen to yourself and only yourself. Don’t get too caught up in others opinions, and certainly stay away from gossip. I teach kids to value their own opinion of themselves (this is the most important one) – and make sure its a good one, rather than pay too much attention to the opinions of others.
Coaching is about striving to reach our full potential in life. What are our talents and how can we best use them. Each of us can be our own worst enemy, putting ourselves down, telling ourselves to do better, you should be earning more, be in a bigger house, have a better job etc. Coaching allows a person to accept and be grateful for all they have, prioritize their goals and get an action plan, a REALISTIC action plan to work towards. And realize that the only person stopping you is you, and the only person who can make you happy is you! With children, I often come across big dreams and goals to become famous rugby/GAA/Footballers/Gymnasts/Athletes/Performers and I NEVER crush that dream. I only build their self belief. Someone has to be the next big name, if a child realizes that a huge amount of success is down to practice, attitude and self belief then who knows what they can achieve.
5. All types..
A person may seek coaching for many different reasons, but It doesn’t matter if it is Executive Coaching, Career Coaching, Couples Coaching, Sports Coaching, Health and Wellbeing Coaching, Business Coaching, Child/Teen Coaching or general Life Coaching. Coaching is based on the same principles. Truth and Honesty with Yourself and others, Getting over Obstacles, Self-Belief, Listening, Taking Action and Being Present.
6. What it is not
Coaching is not therapy, nor does it try to take the place of an assessment by a professional psychotherapist or psychologist. Coaching is short term and helps people reach their goals. If coaching is not working it may mean that you need more serious help from one of the above mentioned professionals. Coaches can refer you on to someone else or help you to find the right person if need be. In relation to Children and Teens, there are a few times when the issues are deeper and coaching is not the right route. For example if anxiety is prolonged and not improving or getting worse then coaching will not help, this is usually obvious within a few weeks and I will discuss another route with the parent(s). The weekly parent discussions are key to helping the child or teen to move forward.
Coaching children is so much easier than coaching adults, as you can imagine children carry less baggage or limiting self beliefs. Things are generally much simpler and easier to change. Some children come for one coaching session and it clicks. They realize that they have been ‘telling themselves’ the wrong thing such as ‘I can’t do it’, ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’ve no friends’ and they start to catch their thoughts and change it. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that they can apply this to lots of areas of their lives. It is truly the most rewarding job I could ever dream of having.
Caoimhe O’Grady Tegart : Child & Teen Life Coach