Clarify Life Coaching
Recently, this coaching topic has been the target of a lot of jokes and demeaning cartoons. Many people have no realistic notion of what it is all about. Life coaching is more than assisting people to set and attain personal or professional goals.
As a life coach, my definition of life coaching is: catalyzing in others personally-desired changes they will make to create a lifestyle of their dreams…one that will work better for them.
In order to effectively do my job described above, I regularly make inquiries about the client. There is a difference between “questions” and “inquiries.” The former can be answered immediately after they are asked.
Some of the best inquiries a qualified life coach can make are described below.
What would you like to gain by working with me as your life coach? In order to assist a client to attain their desired outcomes, it becomes important in life coaching to know what those outcomes are
How can you modify your thinking and behavior so that you increase the probability those outcomes occur? One definition of “insanity” is engaging in the same behavior over and over while thinking the outcomes will be different.
What new thinking habits, emotional habits, behavioral habits or social habits are you willing to develop that will increase the likelihood your lifestyle will be different three months (six months, a year, 10 years) from now? If you want to learn and practice new habits, you need to practice them regularly for at least 3-4 weeks in order to make them “unconscious.”
What can you think, do or say today that will give you practice at strengthening those chosen new habits that replace the old ones? You can never “unlearn” the habits that created your current lifestyle. You can only learn and strengthen new habits that will replace engaging in the old ones! Th.is is the heart of life coaching.
What are some new choices and decisions you can make that will move you toward creating and enjoying the outcomes/consequences you want to incorporate into your new lifestyle? Despite making mistakes and engaging in unskilled behaviors, you might as well risk making new choices that you will enjoy.
With what kind of people will you surround yourself to be supportive of you as you create this new lifestyle? No one ever accomplishes important lifestyle changes without the support of others…even if such support is indirect or out of your awareness.
What are your current strengths, talents and abilities you can use or strengthen that will assist you in attaining your desired outcomes? If you are still alive, you already have some personal abilities that are useful in creating a modified or new lifestyle.
What new habits will result in:
A lower stress level;
A new sense of accomplishment;
A positive redefinition of negative experiences;
An ability to focus internally and lessen your “reactivity;”
An increase in your awareness of the consequences of your choices;
A lessening of your fears and anxieties;
Developing beneficial and enjoyable social and interpersonal relationships;
Developing your happiness and enjoyment about being alive.
If you would like to explore the above inquiries, you just might want to receive assistance from a qualified and experienced life coach…despite all the jokes you may have heard.
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Dr. Thomas is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified life coach. He is on the faculty of the International University of Professional Studies. He is the co-author of the book, “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills, and Techniques to Enhance Your Practice…and Your Life” (W. W. Norton, 2005). He leads seminars/workshops on: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Life Coaching; Business Coaching; Creativity; Academic Excellence; Creating High-Quality Relationships; Effective Communication; Effective Leadership and many others.
- Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
- 3421 Polk Circle West
- Wellington, CO 80549
How does a certified parenting coach hold the right mindset for the ideal clients they envision? Mindset: Focus on your client, not on you.
How You Think and Envision
When a new author writes a book, the author is filled with his or her personal story — it’s drama, it’s inspiration, and the need to have others learn from their experiences.
However, if the author wants to sell the book, he or she needs to know what the reader wants to read and ensure the book addresses that.
If a coach wants to sell services, the services or product must fulfill the client’s needs. The fulfillment is essential to demonstrate in your story, writing, advertising, and offerings. All of your marketing materials need to be client focused:
- About them — someone to listen to their story, not hear about yours
- About solving one of their issues — your book, story or brochure will tell how…
- About finding support — every word you write and every visual clue you use in a logo, color, design and copy reflects how you support them.
The New York Times best-read nonfiction books tend to be cookbooks, biographies of famous people, and how-to books on weight loss. If people are buying these books…
- Why are they doing so?
- What does a client want from a coach that is like a cookbook?
- A recipe, a formula, something that appeals to their appetites.
Remember who you are marketing to:
- A doer wants an achievement.
- A thinker wants the list of steps.
- The supporter who wants whatever is most practical, appealing and adaptable.
- The creative influencer wants to share the beauty with others and convince them of its benefits.
What does a coaching client want that is like a biography?
- The emotional connection to you.
- Small pieces of your life experience connect with their hearts and mind.
What does a coaching client crave?
- the answers
- the steps
- the hope
- the promise
- the guarantee
- the formula… …to their dilemma and solutions or strategies for the issues they deal with every day - the issues that overwhelm them or make them tired and edgy.
Successful coaches respond to the needs of their targeted clients just like an author who is writing a book for them. You answer their needs, provide the soul food they crave, and develop a heart connection. Then, you’ve got it! !
The easiest way a parent coach knows coaching clients is to understand their current problems and needs.
One of the conditions for someone to hire you as their parent coach or family coach is that they believe you can help them with their problem, be a better person, help them change their parenting behaviors, etc.
If you know how the ideal client defines her problem, you can show that expertise in your writing, web site, and through talks, and blog articles. It is important for her to know you can help her. It is more important to show her how you do that, and this checklist clarifies information.
Living situation (where, what type of place, with whom) Occupation Work situation (position, income, general job description)
Who is she close to?
What is her relationship with her family?
Where does her family live?
What is her core temperament type?
What size is her body (wt, ht)?
Hair color and style?
Does she exercise? How and how often?
What does she do for fun, hobbies? What does she do on weekends? Does she eat out or eat in more?
If she eats out quite a bit, at what types of places?
What is her name?
Thoughts or Questions
What keeps her up worrying at night? (This is a key question for you to ask yourself about your ideal client.)
Most importantly: what precipitated her calling for an appointment now?
How would she describe her problem?
How would she answer the question: What would you like from parent coaching
If there’s one mistake that new—and even established—business owners make is failing to develop a clear vision of the ideal client.
Too often we think our service or product is “for everyone.” And while it might be true that everyone could use your help, it’s simply not possible for you and your brand to appeal to everyone. Your prices might not be in line with what some can afford. Your branding might not resonate with others. Your story may not touch everyone with the same sense of urgency.
And when you try to reach everyone, rather than narrowing your focus to your truly ideal client, you dilute your message, making it even less likely that those perfect customers will find you.
But if you’re just starting out, it can seem an impossible task to know who your ideal client is. Start with these three points.
- Gender. Is your audience male or female? While men and women might both read and enjoy your content—and even buy your products—you will most likely find that your market is skewed heavily one way or the other. Men and women are different, and they are affected by stories and branding in very different ways, so what appeals to a man will not always appeal to a woman. Look around at some of the brands you buy, and you’ll quickly see how they form their messages to appeal to one or the other, but very rarely both.
- Goals. What does your client hope to achieve, and how do your products and services help to realize those goals? Whether she’s trying to build a profitable crafting blog so she can stay home with her children, or he’s working to create an online resource for muscle car fans, if you don’t know where they’re going, you can’t help them get there.
- His or her point in the journey. Is she a beginner or well along on the path? How you speak, how you write, what marketing methods you use, and even what prices you charge will all be determined by your ideal client’s level of sophistication. Whether you’re teaching beginning knitters how to cast on, or helping couch potatoes train for their first 5k, their level of commitment (and willingness to spend) is far different from a long-time knitter who is discovering intarsia, or a runner working up to a triathlon. And you will not reach your market effectively if you don’t know exactly where they are and what they need at this point.
Of course, what if you are just starting out, you might not yet know who your ideal client is. That’s okay, but pay attention because the client will tell you…
- Through the products they like
- Through the services they buy.
- By following your social media
- By commenting or asking questions on your blog.
Watch your interactions, study the businesses of those who contact you for help. Take a look at what your competition is doing, and soon enough you’ll have a clear understanding of who your ideal client really is.
Why would a parent coach or a family coach take particular care in defining the type of person who would be their best customer or client?
1: Relationship research suggests that if we are relatively healthy in mindset and emotionality, we attract people, who are similar to us in Emotional patterns, Cultural preferences, Levels of empathy
2. Also, core temperaments influence whom we meet with and coach. Are you the personality type that can be authentic with all four temperaments? Can you work with the types of person who
- Make excuses
- Cancel appointments
- Want to talk about it, and not do much about it
- Becomes angry at you rather than the issue
3. Likewise, our values influence the decisions we make about our business and ideal clients.
This values of your ideal client affects everything you do from setting fees to determining your coaching programs, which will offer solutions to their problems and value to living an inspired life.
4. Spend your time on the most valuable task to make your business successful by defining your ideal client.
- Age group
- Family status
- Lifestyle goals
To make this list real, a clever trick of successful authors is to write a story. Authors write about their ideal reader, and you write about the client who is most compatible with you. You give her a name, a couple of kids, a husband who just doesn’t get it, and a load of student loans. You know quite a bit about her, you think.
If you stop there, you may be missing a huge piece of the puzzle—and losing out on the best clients because of temperament incompatibility.
Temperament Style Mismatch
The topic is rarely considered in the “ideal client” equation, and it’s arguably the most important part: core temperament style.
If you’re bossy, sarcastic, fun-loving and loud, then a quiet, middle-aged mom who spends her time volunteering at the church is probably not a good fit for you. WHY?
- Natural exuberance may overwhelm the person.
- If a client needs to start with small steps, and you whiz to the finish line, you’ve left the client in the dust.
- Either he will be uncomfortable with your style, or you’ll be miserable trying to reign in your natural exuberance.
Drive Determines Success
Check in with your client about their drive to success.
Adaptive Supporter type clients are slower to take the initiative, although they always meet their goal. An achiever may be internally motivated but could move too fast and fail to plan adequately for meeting his goals. Both clients can be frustrating to coach unless you understand the core temperaments and what motivates each person to succeed.
Review your current and past coaching clients, and you’ll identify the disposition patterns of those you attract. Review:
What characteristics did your most enjoyable client bring to the table?
What time frame do you expect a customer to meet their goals?
Which client behavioral patterns are those you do not want to deal with?
How do you handle your disappointment?
How do you celebrate your client’s successes?
Compare your new potential clients to this ideal profile, and you’ll never again sign on with a less-than-perfect client.
One-on-one personal coaching has been the holy grail of coaching for business, health, or personal goals. Yet, many people prefer a group coaching program. What is your preference?
With one-on-one coaching, it’s just client and your coach. The focus is all on your business, what you did (or did not) accomplish in the last week or month, and how you can improve. While the client sets the agenda, the coach distinguishes the quality of the connection…
- Going deeper into thoughts and feelings.
- Challenging beliefs or actions
- Asking questions to clarify aspects that affect every decision a client makes: values, intuition, inspirations, mindsets.
Group coaching, on the other hand, has more social dynamics, and you might just find your clients prefer the interactions..
This coaching model offers a sense of community that coaches cannot find often. With a group program, there’s likely to be a Facebook group or Forum where members can support one another, gain insight into other business models, and get advice in real time from people who have been there.
Need a shoulder to cry on about your landing page flop? How about a few cheerleaders as you prepare to step outside your comfort zone for your first keynote address? A group coaching program includes a community of heart-wise members who support and help. ,
The topic of pricing is another win for group coaching programs. While it might be fun to work with that in-demand coach on a VIP day, the fact is that many people won’t be able to shell out that kind of cash. A group program gives them many of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost.
Lastly, with a group program, you could be guaranteed a successful outcome—especially if the program has proven results and references.. Group coaching programs could offer straight coaching, a mini course in a skill the members need. Naturally, participants must do the work, but the fact is, the model is reliable, and clients know that going in.
Are you thinking of creating a group program? Keep these points in mind. You might just find out your potential clients have been waiting for you to take this step for a long time.
- Members of the group learn that others have similar issues or the same problem. Certainly it feels less lonely.
- Supporters offer empathy to others, sharing camaraderie
- Group members widen the circle of friendships and ideas. You have opportunities or challenges to share and reveal yourself.
- The best ideas for action come from the sharing and brainstorming of group members.