The new buzzword in positive living is life coaching, but just what is it all about? Malti Bhojwani answers
The main distinction between coaching and any other form of therapy or counselling is that coaching is ‘present and future motivated’ whereas the others are often about issues in the past and healing. Coaching supports people in assessing where they are now and then deciding where they want to go. It is often about achieving specific goals in the future. In being coached, one does not have to admit either to needing help or even to having a problem. It is positive to have a coach.
A life coach supports the client throughout the coaching program and not only on the weekly sessions. The life coach and client are like partners and the coach is accessible in some way to the client and maintains support and accountability for the client throughout, whereas with counselling, it is usually just during the isolated sessions.
A life coach is not an expert in your given field but will be able to support you to be the best in what you want to achieve. Coaches act as a sounding board, cheerleader, someone to hold you accountable to doing what you say you are going to do. Simply put, a coach asks a lot of questions, expects the truth, gets you out of complacency and supports you in living life in top gear.
2. Who is an eligible candidate for life coaching?
Anyone who is already achieving results in their lives, but wants more and is willing to be open to stretching outside of their comfort zones is ‘coachable’. They would have to be in a place where they are open to changing their beliefs, behaviours and actions. Someone who is ready to keep their word without struggling or sabotaging themselves and give the coach the benefit of the doubt and ‘try on’ new concepts or different ways of doing things.
3. What does a life coaching session typically involve?
Typically, a session involves a phone conversation in a quiet and undisturbed space. A first session would include a discovery process to help the client become clear on what they really want. The coach asks questions to help the client declare those ‘wants’. As I am trained in NLP as well (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), I would ensure that these wants are aligned and also get to the reasons behind the want. For example, someone who wants to become fit and slim, may have an underlying desire to just be liked.
Many coaches will work on three specific goals. After the goals are clear, the client and coach will together work out strategies and then tasks that will bring them closer to the goal. Whether it is to increase the turnover of their business or to improve the communication with a loved one or to become slimmer. The session will engage the client in a focused discussion to help them commit to the actions required during the week.
Subsequent sessions will address the results vs the reasons of the previous week. “Do you want to have a life full of reasons (why you do not have the stuff you want) or results?” The client will get to assess their own progress and the opportunity to clear the space by bringing up any challenges they had during the week and any new breakthroughs or change of perspective. They will also celebrate any wins. The client begins to learn to acknowledge himself / herself and express gratitude for the good that they have experienced. A coach who is also trained in NLP will help the client make a habit of using positive language, affirmations and visualisation techniques to stay positive and attract more positives into their lives.
Sessions may also include closed-eye processes, creating positive affirmations and tools to support the client in staying aligned towards reaching their goals.
The weekly homework would often involve deep self-inquiries and reflection to help the client become more aware of their thoughts and actions rather than being on ‘auto-pilot’.
4. How much of time per week does it take?
The actual one-to-one sessions, which many coaches deliver over the phone, is for about 30 minutes, to keep it succinct and effective. The coach would often suggest ‘homework’ to the client during the week and if the client agrees to commit to that homework, then, they would spend the week accomplishing those tasks – which are aligned with their goals and what they want to achieve. Actual coaching is a 30-minute call once a week and lots of email / sms follow up in between. Often the coach may refuse to make the call, if the tasks agreed upon have not been accomplished by the set time frame. Most coaches find it most effective to coach by phone, which means also that no time is ‘wasted’ in traffic or commuting. I find that phone coaching also puts the client at ease and takes away any sense of hierarchy, shyness or distraction that face-to-face sessions may present.
5. Is there a finite duration for life coaching?
Research says it takes 90 days to form a habit. Life Coaching is also about replacing ‘disempowering’ habits with empowering ones that take you closer and closer to your goal. This is why coaching is generally recommended for a minimum of 3 months. I have created a 3 months package and also a 1-year – maintenance program for continuity after the initial intensive 3-months-coaching.
6. How much does it cost?
Life Coaching can cost anywhere between USD100 – $400 per session. However, as it is new in India, I am offering a promotional rate of Rs 25,000 for 3 months which is about Rs2000 for a week of coaching.
7. How did you decide to become a life coach?
In someway, I was always coaching in my friendships and with people I met and when life coaching as a recognized profession started becoming popular in the US, UK and Australia about 10 years ago, everywhere I looked, I saw signs and ‘invitations’ to become one myself. I researched it and did the training and studied NLP as well and have never looked back. It is a ‘calling’, not just a career. I feel enriched with this work and it has helped me grow in my own life simultaneously as my clients have grown in theirs. There’s a quote by a famous Rabii, Rabii Hillel “"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" – That is what hit home for me, to live a life that was aligned with being there for more than just myself. I use “If not now, then when?” all the time in my writing and coaching.
8. What is the reception towards life coaching abroad?
In my decade of experience coaching Internationally out of Australia, it has been embraced and loved. People have come to the realization that having someone to talk to and who holds you accountable to do what you say you want to do, is priceless. You don’t “need” a coach, like a personal trainer at the gym or a coach to help you hone your golfing or swimming, having a life coach is starting to become very common and very positive. I still continue to attract clients from all over the world and I call them up once a week from here in India.
9. What are the challenges you are facing while introducing this concept in India?
9. What are the challenges you are facing while introducing this concept in India?
As very few people are aware of what life coaching is and have only been exposed to counseling, therapy or corporate coaching, I find myself having to explain it and distinguish the difference. Many Indians feel that if they don’t have any “issues” or problems, then they can’t see the value of hiring a life coach. No one can actually find me through a search engine or directory assistance, as they don’t know yet that such a powerful service like this exists. However, coaches in India are growing and I have been involved across India in Coach Training courses and conferences and I am very happy that it is a fast growing profession here.
10. How has the response in India been so far?
It is being received very positively, by people who are curious and open. I have had immense interests and am continuing to present and speak to large groups of people and to write about coaching in order to spread the word. When asked what I do, I find that people here are very interested and in minutes I gather a small crowd of very curious people. Indians, perhaps are concerned about their privacy and I re-assure them that any qualified life coach will always maintain their confidentiality. I am looking forward to life coaching becoming a household term as I have seen the benefits of having a coach and in this fast-paced world we now live in, it is almost becoming a necessity for every one of of to have a personal coach at various stages in our lives. I personally use a lot of social media and public platforms to spread the benefits of coaching in India and the time seems to be ripe while people are becoming more and more open to personal development. Indian women and men want more “juice” out of life and I have found that when they start to see that there is a service available to help them achieve that, they are becoming more receptive.
Pic: Michael R