Life Coaching: The Catalyst To Setting and Achieving Your Goals

When I first heard of the term ‘life coaching’ I had so many questions, but as I asked questions and did research, it all started to make sense. There may be many definitions of coaching and what a coach does but I’ll try to explain my own understanding and my interpretation of what a coach is.

Male life coach in clinic with client

A coach acts as a facilitator and catalyst for someone who wants to make improvements or changes to an area of their life. It is the process of improving performance and focus on the present and working towards goals that you may have for the future. A coach is not here to teach you or to give you advice, but to help you to learn. Learn how to gain greater clarity, self-awareness and skills/techniques that will serve you in the long run. A coach can help you unlock doors that you did and didn’t know where there to help you make real progress. It gives you the ownership, responsibility and power to move forward.

Coaching is very much present and future focused. This differs to for example therapy, where a therapist helps a client to explore their past in order to uncover what is stopping them or holding them back. Although coaching does delve into the area of limiting beliefs from the past, which is a great understanding of self-awareness, Coaching is predominantly more focused on what actions you can take now for better performance in your life whereas, a therapist helps a client to explore their past in order to uncover what is stopping them. Similarly, a counsellor is there to support someone who is experiencing significant levels of distress which is impacting daily life.

Pensive woman looking through window.

Coaching also differs to Mentoring. A coach is more of an expert in really understanding the client, their goals, their desires and helping them to teach them to unlock personal barriers and challenges. As mentioned previously, a coach is not there to give you advice. Whereas a mentor does offer advice as often they are someone who has been in your position but is maybe just a few steps ahead of you.  Therefore, they can share their own experiences with you and as a result, advise you on the particular area of your life you are looking to work on.

Therapy, counselling, mentoring and coaching all have their time and place, but knowing which one is able to serve you in your current life situation is extremely important. It’s important to understand the difference between these services and which one you currently require. It may be that you could benefit from a combination or that you need to gain the services of a therapist or counsellor before a coach, because once you are able to fully understand and accept circumstances of the past, it is then you are able to be fully present and move forward.

Carefree woman on beach

Personally, I believe the greatest benefit of having a coach is that it gives you a real sense of direction and focus. I’ve lost track of the number of ups and downs there has been in the last year, but a great coach will keep you balanced and focused on your own journey regardless of any external noise and distractions there are. Because there are always things that ARE in your control and finding your own focus and motivation gives you purpose every day. Finding that certainty in the midst of uncertainty.

2020 affected everybody in some way and although it certainly was challenging for many, there can always be positives to take away. For many people that I’ve been around and spoken to, it’s really given people a chance to reflect and become more self-aware of how they want to live their life. It may have given you a new vision or dream for your future or there’s a certain area or aspect of your life that you want to change. But having a dream without taking any action is just a wish and so it’s important to take steps towards living the life that you truly want. Maybe, you don’t have a vision or dream, but you know of what it is that you don’t want in your future, which is also positive and a first step of awareness.

Thoughtful older pensive man

Now, when it comes to a new year, a lot of people set new year’s resolutions. But studies have shown that only 10-20% of people keep their new year’s resolutions for the entire year. There are many reasons for this, which I won’t delve into here now, but what if there was a much more effective way of making medium to longer term changes to our lives?

There is, its goal setting.

The truth is most people don’t know how to set out clear, positive goals that will encourage them to take action on a regular basis.

Often when setting out goals, we attach too much weight on the outcome and of course the outcome is important, but what is more important is learning along the way and the growth you will make whilst making progress towards the goal. If you truly focus on the daily, weekly steps you need to take, the outcome will look after itself. It was the famous American author Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “life is a journey, not a destination.” When we focus on the destination, we are not fully present in the current moment which means we don’t get the best out of ourselves. It also delays our sense of self-worth because often we attach our self-worth to the imagined outcome or destination. However, what if you attach your self-worth to how much you are learning and growing every day? You are way more likely to have positive outcomes as a result of this mindset shift.

Happy young Asian woman talking with mentor

So, here are my top 3 tips on goal setting for 2021:

 

  1. Start with why. Your goal shouldn’t be about what you think you can have, but instead, what you truly want and why. At this stage, you don’t need to know how you’re going to achieve it. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What is going to give you? What is going to do for others? The bigger your why, the more likely it is you’ll keep striving when things get more difficult which inevitably it will if you’re setting yourself a big goal.

 

  1. Write your goals down. Research suggests you are much more likely to achieve your goals if you have written it down. You can visually see it and far more likely to engage with it. It will create a change in how you act and will give you greater clarity and direction. It’s the way the brain works.

 

  1. Surround yourself and put yourself in an environment where its near impossible you won’t achieve your goals. Are you able to connect/engage with 3-5 people who are looking to achieve the same goal as you?  Most high achievers set out ambitious goals that they may not even reach because making progress towards the goal is more important than the goal itself.  When you set such an ambitious goal, the smaller steps you have to take appear more achievable in comparison to you not having a big ambitious goal.

So, here’s a tip on how high achievers set their goals: They set big and specific goals and take small steps. If you set yourself a big goal, for example, to run the London Marathon, but you’ve never run before, it’s unlikely that you are going to be able to run 10km comfortably tomorrow. But you may set yourself an aim of running 5km by the end of the month. At the end of the month, your next aim will be to make it 6km, then 7km and so on.

Relaxed calm man sitting in front of laptop

Now, maybe at the moment you don’t have a big goal or vision and that could be because you have not yet been exposed to the right person or environment that gives us a greater sense of clarity. If you are walking down the high street, there’s only a certain number of shops that you can see. However, when you reach the end of the street, you start to see more shops that you couldn’t see or didn’t know existed. “You can’t be what you can’t see”. So, if you are in this position, it might be a time to experiment and try new things and see it creates new opportunities for you that you didn’t know existed.

I hope you have found this article useful, even if it is just taking one point away from it today and I wish you all a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2021.

 

Want to keep learning?  Find out more about the author - Amir Elhami


Mental Health and Wellbeing

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