- Teaching clients basic life skills such as managing their finances or health better
- Identifying problems in their work, private life or general wellbeing; and helping them plan solutions to address those problems and achieve a better life/work balance
- Help clients connect with resources that can help, whether financial advisors, sources of funding banks, fitness programs, diet plans, etc.
A coach may look at how the client deals with problems. Do they create problems that are not really there? Are they good at solving problems? Do they look at a range of options or are they narrow minded in how the resolve problems? A coach may need to encourage a client to “think outside the box”.
Sometimes just by taking the time to talk about and examine a problem the client will be able to come up with their own solution to the problem. If they are still struggling to come up with a solution, often rewording or reframing a problem can enable a client to see it from a different perspective and to come up with different solutions.
Part of problem solving is the ability to make, and stick to a decision (there is more on being decisive in the next section). To do this the client may need to come up with a range of different solutions and, with the support of the life coach, decide which solution is the most appropriate. After committing to this decision and trying it out for a while, the client may find that this solution doesn’t work for them. Because they went through the process of coming up with a range of solutions, they will have other solutions to come back to and try. The life coach can play an important role in this by helping the client to see the problem from different angles, and helping them determine when it is time to try a different approach.
Assertiveness training includes learning how to give and take criticism. Some clients may find this hard. They may feel “put upon” and worn down. They may not recognise that accepting the criticism is a means by which they can improve themselves, or acknowledge that by offering criticism someone may be trying to help them. A coach can help the client to look at why a person may say the things they did, and help the client to make use of that criticism as a way to move on and improve their performance and behaviour.
Some clients may find it hard to make decisions. This may because of their personality. It may be because they are stressed, tired, or have so much on their plate that decisions are hard. There may seem to be so much going on in their lives that there are no easy answers. Imagine that a simple decision like working an extra day a week affects so many other areas of their life – their children, childcare, who will look after them, they will have less time for household chores, who will do that, will they pay for someone to do the chores, can they fit them in at another time, do they want to work another day, will it help financially if they have to pay for childcare and a cleaner, is their work pushing them to do another day and they don’t want to? and so on, and so on.
All of these factors can make it hard for a person to make a decision. Sometimes a life coach may simply need to encourage the person to think – what do they really want? Do they WANT to work another day a week? Yes or no. Then take it from there.
As with being decisive, if a person feels stressed and worn out with too many demands on them, they may find that their time management is not so great either.
Poor time management is common. Life coaches commonly hear the complaint "I don't have time to do that", or "I don't have enough hours in the day".
The Pareto Principle (20/80 rule) states:
80% of what you achieve, comes from 20% of what you do, therefore 80% of what you do only accounts for 20% of what you achieve.
Revealing and emphasising this rule to a client can often have a significant impact.
A life coach can sit down with a client and encourage them to think about how they plan their day, what they are doing, and so on. They may find they have so much to do that they do not sit down and plan what they have to do. Spending five minutes each day looking at the tasks they HAVE to do that day and prioritising them can be more helpful, than simply ploughing into all your tasks.
Imagine a case of a young woman named Jane. She has to write two reports by the end of the week. She finds it hard to fit them in. Every morning she plans to write the reports, but she starts looking at emails, making phone calls, working on a project that is not due for another month, and by Wednesday she has not even looked at the urgent projects. Instead, a coach can encourage Jane to make better use of her time by planning her days better through the establishment of small achievable goals which ultimately lead to her accomplishing her main goals. For example, the coach might suggest that she works on the project from 9am to 11.30am. She then answers emails from 11.30am to 1pm, take lunch from 1pm to 2pm, and works on the projects from 2pm to 3.30pm, before answering emails and calls from 3.30 to 5pm.
The course offered through this school is 100 hrs, and is divided into 10 lessons as follows: