The two questions I get asked the most are, "Does life coaching work?" and "What is coaching really about?"
The answer to the first question is, yes, it can. But it truly depends on whether or not the client is open and really wanting to achieve the change they say they want. They really have to be willing to step outside of their comfort zones and hear the hard reality of how to get started on the road to fixing it -- by someone other than themselves.
However, I think the most important part of any coaching experience is linking up with the right coach. So, take them up on their offer for a free consultation. You probably will not make any earth-shattering discoveries or changes in that hour, but you will get a real “feel” for the coach. Just like any other service you pay for, if you have personalities that do not mix, success is going to be hard to achieve. Besides, making real changes in your life can be hard enough; connecting with the coach certainly should not be!
The reason life coaching works is pretty basic. Coaches are life strategists. Simply, a coach is trained with strategies to help the client help themselves. A coach helps the client to organize and prioritize goals and gives them ways to strategize to accomplish them on their own. And, the idea that you are speaking one-on-one with someone is something that provides structure and accountability. And, frankly, having that human connection with a coach who will share in your personal triumphs can be rewarding as well!
A coach should basically help you clearly identify and understand your goals and objectives, help you develop a clear vision, assist you in creating clear plans by which to achieve your goals and provide the step-by-step actions needed to achieve success. A life coach is not a psychologist or psychiatrist and cannot and should not offer counseling for mental-health issues or other deeply rooted issues that require that type of specialized care.
But within a few visits with a coach you should clearly see a pattern of change taking place angling towards the life you want. A coach should ask you to provide a clear vision of your future self (what you want to be different from the life you are now living and why), identify and address the fears that are stopping you, break self-limiting patterns and have you identify what you think is required of you to write that next chapter in your life.
Writing that next chapter and achieving the authentic happiness you are seeking generally comes at a price though. And that "price" is you doing the hard personal work. While self-limiting beliefs and patterns may stem from the past, it is important to remember that coaching is working on the future and what it will take for you to achieve the picture of your future self. It will not be working on your past. So if you have deep-seated issues that you need to work on before you can move forward, seek the help of a mental health professional.
If you are ready to do the homework needed to seek, identify, clean house and focus on change to achieve your vision of your future self, then call a life coach. Just like with a sports coach, it is all about helping you be the best you can be.