What Is Life+Work Coaching?

As part of my  Summer of Intentionality I am committed to learning new things.

This summer I am committed to learning a lot for two reasons:

1. I am talking to as many women as possible about self-care and where they struggle for my 100 Women Project.

2. I am starting a new chapter of my personal and professional life. I just started  working toward myCoaching for Life and Work Certification from UC Davis Extension.

As I start my new adventure I’d like to start talking to you about coaching: what it is, how it is different from other professions, and ask you what you’d like to know about coaching.

coaching def

So….What IS a Coach?

According to the UC Davis Professional Coaching for Life and Work program, coaches partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires clients to maximize their personal and professional potential.

The International Federation of Coaching adds that coaches:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
  • Encourage client self-discovery
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable

This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential.

In my own experience with working with a coach, this is exactly what happened!

A few years ago I was stuck and feeling like old thought patterns were getting in the way of moving forward in life and business. I knew I needed help because what I had been doing wasn’t working anymore and I wanted to make changes in my life and business, not just stick to the status quo. I wanted to do my life differently than I had seen anyone else do it.

Luckily this was a time when my coach, Nikki Stern, came back into my life. We had met years before and during her time in the PNW, she became a certified coach. I was super curious about what she did and so I immediately signed up with her for a few sessions.

Before our first meeting Nikki asked me to write some answers to prepared questions to really clarify what I wanted to work on and during our in-person, phone and Skype sessions (all depended on our availablity). During our sessions, she asked me thought-provoking questions which lead to some pretty big epiphanies for me. And those epiphanies lead to some small changes that lead to huge shifts in my personal and professional life.

I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t worked with a coach and I’m excited to learn how to help others in this way.

According to the IFC some of the benefits of working with a coach are:

– fresh perspective on personal challenges
– enhanced decision-making skills
– greater interpersonal effectiveness
– greater confidence
– increased productivity
– greater satisfaction in life
– setting and reaching goals

How is coaching different from other professions ie therapy, consulting, mentoring, training or athletic development?

Again, according to the IFC:

Therapy deals with healing pain, dysfunction and conflict within an individual or in relationships. The focus is often on resolving difficulties arising from the past….

Consulting: Individuals or organizations retain consultants for their expertise. While consulting approaches vary widely, the assumption is the consultant will diagnose problems and prescribe and, sometimes, implement solutions…

Mentoring: A mentor is an expert who provides wisdom and guidance based on his or her own experience…

– Training: Training programs are based on objectives set out by the trainer or instructor…

– Athletic Development: Though sports metaphors are often used, professional coaching is different from sports coaching. The athletic coach is often seen as an expert who guides and directs the behavior of individuals or teams based on his or her greater experience and knowledge…


Coaching  supports personal and professional growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes. These outcomes are linked to personal or professional success. Coaching is future focused. While positive feelings/emotions may be a natural outcome of coaching, the primary focus is on creating actionable strategies for achieving specific goals in one’s work or personal life. The emphases in a coaching relationship are on action, accountability, and follow through.

With coaching, the assumption is that individuals or teams are capable of generating their own solutions, with the coach supplying supportive, discovery-based approaches and frameworks.

The coaching process does not include advising or counseling, and focuses instead on individuals or groups setting and reaching their own objectives.

Though objectives are clarified in the coaching process, they are set by the individual or team being coached, with guidance provided by the coach. Training also assumes a linear learning path that coincides with an established curriculum. Coaching is less linear without a set curriculum.

Professional coaches possess these qualities, but their experience and knowledge of the individual or team determines the direction. Additionally, professional coaching, unlike athletic development, does not focus on behaviors that are being executed poorly or incorrectly. Instead, the focus is on identifying opportunity for development based on individual strengths and capabilities.

What else would you like to know about coaching?

So many questions for you:

– Are you inspired to start a Summer of Intentionality – what do you want to read, do and learn this summer?

– Have you or would you ever work with a coach?

– What questions do you still have about coaching?

I’d love to hear all about it. Hit reply and let me know.

I look forward to seeing you soon!




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