A life coach according to McLoughlin: “A life coach partners with the client in a collaborative approach to unlock the clients potential. A life coach is a catalyst for change they do not advise the client on what they do but they ask questions and give the client time to explore themselves to come with a solution to their own problems. Each client has an answer in themselves but they just need to be asked certain questions and be given certain time to reflect on their lives to get that answer”.
A life coaching session begins with the client and the coach talking about a contract. The contract shows how the coaching session is going to operate. “A coaching session is confidential so it normally lasts for maybe an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes. The client will state what they wish to achieve from the coaching session and the coach will hold the client to account so as to allow the client to get the maximum from their coaching session”, according to McLoughlin.
The client might say that they want to be more successful when working or would like to balance their work life better. McLoughlin says: “The coach will ask a few questions and allow the client to unearth where they are going wrong or not necessarily wrong but to allow them think more deeply about their situation and following on from that the client will set a goal for themselves that they wish to achieve over a certain period of time that might be could be a month or six months”.
A key point from this interview is that coaching is not therapy instead it looks ahead and focuses in the present compared to therapy which mainly concentrates on the past. All fully accredited coaches work with the supervisor. On this point McLoughlin says: “All coaches after thirty sessions must check in with their supervisor and talk about what coaching issues that might have arisen. All of this is done confidentially and the clients identities are not revealed, this is all part of best practice”.
Great communication skills and listening to people are crucial in being a successful life coach. Mc Loughlin says: “Listening is the most important part of life coaching and by listening to the client you can also sometimes hear what is inferred but not said and also building trust with the client by making the feel good and that they are not being judged”. It is vital that if a client makes a goal or target that they stick to it.