When is a lifestyle coach not a coach?

Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole

David Rigby
David Rigby - Special to Al Arabiya English
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If you are head of a big organization or head of the family it can be lonely at the top. And often the weight of decisions can take a huge toll.

If you want to discuss issues, then who can you turn to help you decide? If it’s the board or your wife or husband or mother or father – are they ever able to give truly dispassionate advice? Or will they always have a vested interest whether consciously or unconsciously? Are they likely to spread rumor and gossip about the issue? Sometimes you want lots of opinions to help you decide but still can’t make up your mind.

If you want someone to tell you what to do – talk to your neighbour, someone in the bar or the local fishwife. If you have a mentor they might tell you to do what they did 20 years ago, and will be insulted if you don’t. If you want someone to help you make your own mind up then get a coach.

The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment.

Coaches honor the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach's responsibility is to:

• Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
• Encourage client self-discovery
• Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
• Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

To put this more simply, coaching is a process where the coach helps the client to make his own decisions.

In other words you NEVER tell the client what to do. The responsibility for what happens next is entirely up to the client.

A good coach will help you
• Define precisely what the issue is that you are trying to solve
• Understand exactly what the current circumstances are
• Take you through your different possible solutions and encourage you to think of new alternatives
• Weigh up the options and decide a path forward.

A good coach will not only help you to decide, but will also help you commit to how you are going to deliver, how you know you have delivered, and when you have committed yourself to doing it by.

And you are only answerable to yourself. When you next meet your coach, if you have delivered what you promised yourself then you will be congratulated. If you didn’t then the coach will be non-judgemental and help you understand how you missed your own set deadlines.
And the coach won’t tell anyone – whether you succeeded or not, nor the discussion which lead to the resolution. Coaching only works when you both have agreed to confidentially.

• A good coach is not a counsellor: The purpose of a coach is to look forward a counsellor looks backward to discover the root causes of issues – maybe back to childhood
• A good coach is not a mentor. A mentor will listen then tell you what to do or, in the case of a sports ‘coach’ will show you how to do it.
• A good coach is not an advisor. An advisor will tell you what to do.
• A good coach is not your best friend. Your best friend will sympathise a coach may empathise.
• A good coach is not a trainer. A trainer will tell you things. A personal trainer will beat you into submission.

A good coach may very occasionally wear the hats of those above, but will never tell you what to do and ensure YOU make all the decisions which affect life.

David is a keynote speaker at Middlesex University of Dubai on Monday Feb. 29. For more details, follow this link: https://www.mdx.ac.ae/business-partnerships/healthy-minds-healthy-bodies

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