One of the main reasons people seek the help of a professional coach, is because they feel they need change in their lives or careers, or feel some dissatisfaction about their lives. Often, they might not know exactly what needs to change. They might not even feel a sense of dissatisfaction per se; they just have the feeling that things could be better or that somehow they lack complete fulfilment: something is holding them back from getting the most out of their lives.
A recent UK survey has found that the factors most strongly associated with personal well-being are health, employment status, relationship status and people’s sense of choice and contentment with their situation. With other words, having the sense of being able to make choices and take control of our lives, makes us happier and increases our sense of well-being.
It is clear from the above that wanting to change and take control of your life, is a good thing; getting to a place where we feel fulfilment, satisfaction and that things in our lives are perfectly balanced, is a cause more than worth striving for. However, people often don’t know how to initiate that change process. Furthermore, whenever they get to the point where they start making changes in their lives, people often start feeling that the change they hoped for is beyond their control, and they start seeking excuses and finding obstacles. This self-sabotage is an unconscious process, often referred to as the inner Gremlin as stated in a previous blog* . This often means that they revert to their old habits, and they don’t experience the fulfilment and satisfaction they had hoped for.
It is worth noting here that this fear of change is not just a fear of failure, but often also a fear of success. Commitment to change is commitment to do things differently; this often means hard work and potentially learning from your mistakes over a period of time, until results become apparent. There is also a cultural element often at work. Here in the United Kingdom for instance, where British people value a certain element of formality and predictability in their day-to-day interactions, change can often be seen as ‘hassle’, even when we can clearly see its long-term benefits!
A life coach helps to challenge your self-sabotage and focuses the mind on positive results rather than obstacles and excuses. Whitworth, Kimsey-House& Sandahl (1998), address this self-sabotage in their outstanding book ‘Co-Active Coaching’. In their own words about this self-sabotaging Gremlin: “It’s important that the coach and the client become skilled at noticing the Gremlin…one of the best strategies is to notice it, recognise it, name it. By bringing it out of the shadows, it begins to lose its power. It can’t stand up to too much scrutiny” (p.26).
Clients value the coach’s full commitment to their journey towards change. The life coach shows unconditional belief that the client will eventually get the results they want, moving to a place of more control, fulfilment and happiness. Working with a life coach is an excellent way to create a shortcut to this place of more control within your life.
Kostas The Coach is a Personal Performance and Small Business Coach based in Slough, UK. I help creative people develop their individuality and businesses grow sustainably while remaining ethical.
Kostas The Coach site
*the term ‘Gremlin’ was coined by Richard Carson in his book ‘Taming Your Gremlin’