Life Coaching has become such a buzzword as of late, but many don’t know what it means. Is it a glorified friend telling you what they would do? Is it a therapist who just hears about your problems only to ask how you feel about them? Or might there be a third option that blends the supportive listening a therapist offers you with more experience than a friend who hasn’t traveled the path you’re on? In this article, we’ll discuss exactly what Integrative Coaching is and what you can expect when working with a Life Coach that works within this framework.
What Is a Life Coach – Selecting the Right Fit
Put simply, a life Coach is a person who works with a client through thought-provoking session that leads to a co-creation that inspire the client to maximize on the areas of life most important to the client. A life Coach is going to ask you MORE THAN just how you feel. Some of the questions Amanda asks her clients before she even signs them on a client are:
- How will I know I am living a good life?
- Where has discomfort been worthwhile for me in the past? What growth did I get from that experience?
- What story, that doesn’t yet exist, do I want to tell people about myself?
These questions, and many others, start painting a picture for the Coach and client as to what direction the client would like to go. This allows the Coach to assess if the areas the client would like to work on are areas in which the Coach has experience/training. Life Coaches come in many forms: relationship Coaches, career/business Coaches, spiritual Coaches, financial Coaches, sales Coaches, wellness/mindfulness Coaches, health Coaches, etc. the list goes on and on. The first question you must ask yourself then is – WHAT am I trying to get clear on in my life?
Integrative Coaching – What is Integration?
When you can answer the question – what am I trying to get clear on in my life – you may find that more than one area starts to overlap. For example – you might think, “I want to get clear on my life’s purpose; why am I here?” Now, you may be looking at overlapping spiritual Coaching and career coaching.
Integration is when you combine seemingly separate parts in a way that actualizes their interconnectedness. That’s a lot of big words there. Still, when you break it down to Coaching, an Integrative Life Coach will be trained in multiple healing modalities that touch on mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. When you look at these four areas seperately, you get unpleasantness. When you see these as all interconnected – as integrative Coaching approaches do – you find yourself feeling much more pleasant because you’re living as your whole self.
What does living as your whole self entail? There are countless ways to answer this question because the answer lies in the person’s individuality. What works for one may not work 100%, for another but it certainly may get you 95% of the way there. A Coach’s role IS NOT to get you 100% of the way to your goals – it’s to open you up to curiosity and courage so that you can discover the remaining percentage on your own. That’s where co-creation takes place. The Coach is there to give you tools, frameworks, and mirroring so that you can best find the answer that fits what feels best in all Four Dimensions of self: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.
What Should I look for in an Integrative Coach?
First, the most important aspect you must seek is a Coach you can trust. Without complete trust, you cannot reveal the most intimate parts of yourself to your Coach (i.e., your shadow self – the self you think is unlovable, disgusting, nasty, etc.). In that case, you will not get the progress you desire. A Life Coach can only help you as much as you help yourself. Part of that is admitting the darker elements of you, the elements you really don’t want anyone to know about you. If you don’t feel safe with your Coach, do not work with that Coach.
Next, professionalism is key to maintaining trust once established. Does your Coach show up on time to calls? Does your Coach share stories of others in respectful and confidential ways? Speaking of respect, does s/he respect your boundaries? This is a tough question because part of a Coach’s job is to poke at your edges of discomfort, but discerning between respectful poking and disrespectful behavior is key here.
Lastly, the length and type of experience can be a tough line to tread. Life Coaches do not need to be old to be impactful. Questions to consider are:
- Does this Coach have certifications in the fields s/he claim to be a coach in?
- Did this Coach just one day think, “I can give great advice to people; let me make a job of it?” – if so, how much life experience do they have in the given field?
- Does this Coach have testimonials from others?
Coaching is a skill set you can train in, but life will be the biggest teacher. Does the person you want to Coach you live a life you want for yourself?
This allowed for cultivating new skill sets and the self-development necessary to create a business. We worked with Coaches that allowed us to expand much more rapidly had we just stayed on the path alone. We know first-hand that coaching can give you the ability to save time doing things that don’t lead you to where you want to go.
If you haven’t checked out her 12-Week Program Summary, read this blog about Building Your Empowerment Toolkit.