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“Coach” or “coaching” is a term that is most commonly associated with sports so it may not come as a surprise to know that the origins of contemporary life coaching can be traced to the teachings of former football coach, Benjamin Karter. Karter was a college football coach who eventually became a motivational speaker during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Today, “life coaching” is already quite well known with many a success life coach offering their services to help those who are struggling in the achievement of theirgoals.
A success life coach is someone who helps an individual (referred to as a client) in identifying and achieving personal goals. He or she provides assistance, guidance, and support. He or she employs various tools and techniques in helping a client. These tools and techniques, however, may not necessarily be consistent with professional standards or generally accepted practices and principles. Life coaching derives inspiration from a variety of disciplines. The process of life coaching may employ principles identified with psychology, sociology, mentoring, neuro-linguistic programming, positive adult development, career counseling, and various other types of counseling.
A life coach is not a therapist. Neither is he or she a consultant. As such, a life coach is not required to have diploma- or certificate- backed expertise in the specific personal concerns he or she is handling. A life coach simply makes masterful use of inquiry, reflection, facilitation, and discussions. His or her communication skills, knowledge, and experiences make up the most of his or her qualifications. Furthermore, psychological intervention and financial or business analysis are not part of a life coach’s scope of work. A life coach may touch on topics that involve money, business, health, and psychological wellness but he or she cannot be expected to be an expert in these fields.
Several life coach training schools and programs exist in different parts of the world but the practice of life coaching is not highly regulated. Established or authoritative regulatory bodies are yet to be created. Because of this, the practice occasionally invites criticism as it is being likened to psychotherapy that has none of the restrictions, oversight, and regulation to look after the welfare of its clients. Additionally, there are some life coaches who are also known to be prominent psychics or are associated with similar unconventional practices—and they don’t have qualms in using such “qualifications” in advertising their services. Many life coaches obtain certificates and diploma credential designations through classroom attendance or home study although these are not requirements. Clients are usually not keen on examining these certifications or diplomas.
Taking the above-mentioned points into consideration, it can be said that employing professional coaching services does not necessarily mean a better option for resolving personal issues or achieving personal goals. There are other inexpensive and even cost-free options available. As earlier noted, coaching is not a scientific and unflawed approach. Other than through reputation and word of mouth, there are no established standards that can properly assess the skills of a success life coach. There are those who attest to how professional coaching can be helpful to some extent but such testimonies do not really mean that professional coaching is better than other self improvement approaches like the self help book .
Like coaching, self help books have been in existence for a long time and their popularity infers how effective they are. Self help books mean self improvement that is initiated by the self and undertaken according to an individual own discretion. They may not be conclusively better than coaching but they are certainly cheaper. Likewise, they afford a person privacy and greater freedom in setting goals and exploring oneself.
The services of a professional life coach and the usefulness of self help books are similar in their ultimate goal of enabling a person to achieve self improvement. One involves the help of another person while the other is a purely self-based approach. Whether one is better than the other or not remains debatable. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt taking the self help approach as an initial step and employing professional coaching when it should become necessary.
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