I had many concerns about my endeavor. I worried that I would not like life coaching. That I’d feel it was second best. That I’d been a psychotherapist so long that I couldn’t get behind a new way of thinking. I worried that the people I used to see in my counseling practice couldn’t use life coaching. I was wrong on all counts.
As a therapist, I treated people with PTSD. People who had the horror of child abuse in their background. People who were raped. And people who experienced as many varieties of trauma as there are painful life experiences.
I really liked everyone I treated. I loved the work. Each time someone took charge of their growth and moved diligently forward, my heart sang.
Last week I had several important realizations. One, a lot of what I did as a therapist fit right in with life coaching. Sometimes what I’d think about working with patients took an interesting twist when I began to apply it to working with clients. Other times I realized I’d see something but needed to turn my actions upside down. The flip side of what I used to do.
Two, trauma survivors have dreams too. And three, trauma survivors can and do reach for the wishes deep in their hearts. Our first coaching practice case involved an adult survivor of child abuse. This person had gone to therapy some years before and now wanted to reach for their life’s goals. I celebrate that fact.
Coaching is a very positive endeavor. The skills involved in being a life coach include understanding other people as personally powerful. It’s a profession that honors others as healthy and capable. We assume the client is innately resourceful and has their own answers within them.
I always worked from a place of personal empowerment. This is an issue of power. I have never wanted to hold more power or status than my clients. Power is an important issue of mine. I don’t like feeling less than or more than. I want to be your equal. So, as a therapist, I worked very hard to keep that equality present. Life coaching starts from that premise.
I won’t have to work as diligently to keep a power balance in life coaching. The very core of life coaching is that the client is whole, healthy and the authority on their life. Many survivors of any kind of trauma think and/or feel as if their power has been taken from them. Life coaching is a practice that honors your power.
I’m now working to become, as they’ve repeatedly said in class, the authority on life coaching. And life coaching only. Not an authority on your life.
I’ve always believed that there is a beautiful light within each of us. That everyone is born with a mission that can contribute to the betterment of the world. I think that life happens. People hurt us. Put us down, criticize, and do what people do to compete in the world. Life hurts us. Sometimes we believe the negatives thrown at us and it separates us from that light that shines inside. Life coaching is a practice that can help you reconnect with your inner light.
I think that light nudges us with our deepest heart’s desires. Those dreams, hopes, and wishes everyone feels are right, proper and just. Most people dream a dream, have a wish, and hope for their future. But they let the negatives they have experienced in their lives to trample on their dreams. But really, your dreams are calling you. Life coaching can help you answer them.
I realized this week that it is reasonable for someone who has experienced a trauma to have a goal of reclaiming their life. Of owning their dreams. And of the desire to take charge and reach for their light. Of developing the life skills involved in moving past their trauma.
Life coaches ask questions to help you hear your dream. We ask powerful questions within a conversation as a partner to our client. Powerful open-ended questions that are designed to expand a client’s awareness of the solutions they carry within them.
We ask questions with every intention of listening fully. I’ve written about listening before. Listening is good. This week we talked a bit about curiosity. Being curious about what the client says in service of their personal mission. To help you hear yourself, see your dream and honor that dream.
In the process of honoring your dream, you will sometimes run into barriers. Occasionally old mental tapes and scripts can temporarily wear you down, seductively whispering failure thoughts. A life coach can help you find the skills and strategies to shut them down.
Maybe you’ll find that you are missing some skills necessary to achieving your dream. Life coaching can help you figure out what those are and how to develop them.
Once in a while, people find that the dream they think they want isn’t really their dream. It could have been giving to you by someone important in your life. Or it’s a life goal you think you should have. Life coaching can help you decide what your very own dream really is. And then encourage you to develop the strategies, skills, and plan to achieve it.
Now and then people fail. For a time, people forget that failure is a stepping stone on the path to success. That there are gems in the midst of failure. Lessons. Growth. New skills. Different outlook. A new and improved plan.
All of this and more is involved in life coaching. I’m excited about working toward my dream.
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©2016 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D. All rights reserved.