I get asked quite a lot how coaching differs from counselling and that’s a great question…
Coaching is collaborative in nature and, simply put, centers around where you are now (point A) and where you want to be (point B). When we experience something negative or uncomfortable, we tend to become very focused on the problem – coaching can be helpful because it asks you what you want to experience instead, inviting you to identify solutions….
In order to move towards your goal we need to understand what is holding you back and this is nearly always your thoughts and limiting beliefs about who you are and the world around you. A coach can notice the thought patterns that you take for granted, the ones you have believed for so long, you think of as fact.
Your beliefs and thoughts affect your feelings; your feelings determine what you focus your time and energy on and what action you take, and this action (or inaction) directly impacts your results. Those results then loop back around and reinforce your thoughts and feelings about yourself. The key is to interrupt that cycle and gently challenge those beliefs – just a small degree of change can alter your path enormously down the line….
For example, if you are a student just entering your final year at school and you believe that you are not very academic and you find remembering facts and retaining information difficult, this will affect your feelings (stupid, demoralised, what’s the point in making an effort, feeling like you will never make anything of yourself). Those feelings directly impact on what action you take that year – you will likely not spend as much time studying because you believe it won’t help, no matter how much you do; you might be distracted in class because you worry that the information isn’t going in. This will result in you not doing very well in tests, which will reinforce that you aren’t very good academically. And so, the cycle continues.
Understanding where these beliefs started is important – you probably think you don’t know the answers but they are hidden in your unconscious mind somewhere, along with the mindset changes that will free you up to make new and more productive choices in your life.
In most cases these thoughts began to help protect you – from failure, embarrassment, social exclusion or rejection and were learned from when you were quite young. When our minds are developing it is quite black and white in its reasoning – it doesn’t yet have the experience to interpret a thoughtless comment. Instead it takes it as fact and can impact on your beliefs about yourself as an adult; quite often you aren’t even conscious of where that first thought came from. We can revisit those experiences using something called timeline – we can look with new perspective and understand that doesn’t mean it is true forever.
By re-framing these events you can start to see that you aren’t the label you have given yourself, and you can be whatever you want. Life is too short to waste a second more on a path that isn’t serving you – whatever you want to change, it is possible. Take that first step and dream big!