One of the central questions of coaching is “What do you want?” You can’t really have a life you love unless you have some idea of what that would look like. The more specific you can be, the better. If you walked into a restaurant and ordered “dinner” or “meat” not only would you get a funny look from the waiter, you also probably would go hungry because he wouldn’t know what to bring you.
Many times when I ask someone what they want around a given topic, they say that they don’t know. What I have found is that most of the time that just isn’t the case. They know exactly what they want but are either afraid they can’t have it or think that other people think they should want something different. “Should” is somewhat of a dirty word in my opinion. Going through life doing only what you should is a sure way to end up bored and taken advantage of. By all means, take the wishes of others into consideration, but try to honor your own desires as often as possible (filtering them through your values, of course).
At the risk of being labeled the crazy cat coach, I think this is yet another area where we can take a cue from our feline friends. You may have heard that old joke that dogs have masters, but cats have staff. It’s only because cats know what they want and aren’t afraid to ask for it. They know you will still love them even if they insist on only drinking running water or snub their dinner. If they want to sleep in the dog’s bed, they do, because they know the dog will get over it.
You can train a cat to scratch on a post instead of your couch and a few other minor social conventions, but for the most part, they do what they want, when they want. Remarkably, this devil-may-care quality is one of the things that we love most about them. Maybe the next time you think that you are not sure what you want, ask yourself, “What would a cat do in this situation?” Would a cat take a poll to see what was the most popular option? Would a cat fret about what others might think? Would a cat fear making the wrong choice? If you’ve ever owned a cat, or even seen one on TV, you know the answer to these questions. Again – I’m not suggesting you should totally disregard the needs and wishes of those closest to you, but when you start putting your focus on what you really do want instead of why you can’t have it, the pieces frequently begin to fall into place. I’ve seen it happen time and again, and it can be that way for you too.
For more about following your bliss, listen to my interview with Cyndi Briggs of The Sophia Project. Information on how to access the interview in The Radio Spot.
What Life Coaching Is and What It’s Not
Even though life coaching is becoming a better known profession, many people still don’t really know what it is or what exactly a coach does. Here’s a short list of some of the things that coaching is and also some of the things that it isn’t:
- Forward focused (not about the past)
- Action oriented
- A safe place to try on new perspectives and ideas.
- A way to reconnect with your own brilliance.
- A way to “see yourself in the mirror” so that you can move past roadblocks.
- For people who are fundamentally well, both mentally and emotionally, but want to improve their lives.
- A time each week without distractions to focus on your goals.
- Not therapy or counseling.
- Not examining the past in detail.
- Not just for people who are trying to solve a problem or change something in their life.
- Not only for those who are wanting to learn new tools; most coaches have coaches of their own because there is no substitute for this powerful process.
- Not a program or set of steps to follow; the client is the expert on themselves, not the coach.
I realize that this doesn’t complete quantify what coaching is, but that’s because it’s a dynamic process and not a discreet entity. What coaching is depends largely on what the client is looking for and what they want it to be. That’s one of the wonderful things about it. The short version about what I do is this: I facilitate a client’s best thinking about whatever they would like more clarity on in their life.
The Radio Spot
The next Spiritual Integration with Life Coach Laura show will air live on Friday, February 25 (and every last Friday of the month) at 11:30 am ET on internet station Blog Talk Radio.
All shows are recorded and available on demand immediately after the live airing at the same link and also on iTunes.
This month I’ll be talking with Cyndi Briggs, the founder of The Sophia Project. She offers life coaching and workshops for women seeking to manifest their destinies and meet their deepest needs for fulfillment. Cyndi will also talk about her own journey towards a more authentic and nourishing life and how to make an authentic life really work for you.
To listen live, click here on the day of the show (Friday, February 25 at 11:30 am ET). A recording is available at the same link directly after the show airs.
You can elect to “follow” the show and receive e-mail notifications of airings so you never miss a show.