Qualities of a good life coach
Choosing a life coach can be an important decision - emotionally and financially - and is, therefore, a little daunting. It can also be the start of a new life.
What are the qualities to look out for in a coach? How do you know whether you've found the right person?
First and foremost, you need to like them. The rapport - or 'chemistry' - is key to creating a successful coaching relationship.
But when someone doesn't reveal much about who they are, how are you supposed to know whether you like them?
Perhaps by asking a few questions and testing their openness. If they don't state it on their website, you can ask about their background and why they decided to train as a coach.
Self-awareness is the key to emotional intelligence. It's a skill that requires constant work and vigilance, and it is concerning when a coach believes to be done with their own self-work.
Humility is the ability to remain teachable. Like parents can learn from their children, and teachers from their students, coaches can definitely learn from their clients. It's about participating in the process as an equal, rather than from the standpoint of the dogmatic expert.
In order to look the part, some coaches will hire expensive practice rooms and charge ridiculous amounts of money for their services. But are price and quality directly proportional to one another? In my experience, when it comes to the helping professions, the opposite is often true. When someone truly wants to help others, they will try to make their services affordable to a wider range of the public.
5) Emotional health
Nobody is fully healed, but a good coach will have resolved most of their emotional issues, and there's a huge difference between resolving your issues and pretending they're not there. Someone who always appears happy isn't necessarily a healthy person, as they may well have dissociated from their issues and traumas.
By autonomy, I mean independence of thought and action, as opposed to being swayed by external influences. Also, if someone relies on medications to regulate their mood, they might not be in the best place to help others - unless they have a mental health condition, in which case the drugs are more than a 'crutch'. To be fair, I've known people affected by bipolar disorder who had incredible insight and wisdom.
Adhering to coaching models, such as GROW, isn't just restricting - it is downright stifling. When someone just follows patterns, they will inevitably become stagnant. Coaches must be capable of creative and critical thinking.
A good coach will not be scared of challenging his or her clients, even at the risk of losing them as clients. It almost goes without saying that tact, empathy and compassion are crucial qualities to look out for in a coach, but courage and integrity are equally important if you want to achieve any substantial change.
Last but not least - in fact possibly the single most important quality for a life coach to possess - is presence. It is only when the mind is calm, centred and focused that we can hold space for another person and have the necessary insight to help them get unstuck.
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