I took some of my own advice this week and engaged a life coach. In years past I have used a coach when facing really big projects and those projects have most often been better for the effort. The best coaches don’t give advice, and they don’t tell you how to live. Instead they assist with the uncovering of your own talents and skills and coach you into using your own resources to handle life as it comes at you. Life coaches provide valuable feedback that you might not, in fact probably would not, generate by yourself. A coach will hold you accountable for developing and sticking to realistic action plans for achieving goals both large and small.
The concept is not necessarily a new one. Professional athletes have coaches to assist them with the technical and mental aspects of their sport. Mentoring is a well-known and highly respected practice given a very prominent and formal place at many companies. A coach will generally meet with a client two to four times a month for a discussion of the prior week. Goals are developed, obstacles are named and plans of action are developed. The plan is put into action during the week and then reviewed again. Formal coaching is not just a set of pre-defined technologies. Coaching is a relationship that is based on uncovering the inherent ability we all have to recognize and solve problems, but which sometimes needs direction and development to be best utilized.
Chances are very good that if you live in a community of any size, there are people who are trained life coaches. However, many life coaches also work strictly by telephone. Getting the assistance of a professional coach is a terrific way to clear your head of the clutter than sometimes obscures your vision. A good life coach will move far beyond your work environment and will assist in developing stronger relationships in all aspects of your life, emotionally, physically and even spiritually.
At first glance, it may be difficult to see the connection between life coaching and travel planning. However, think for a moment of the work you do with your travel clients. Don’t you coach them into the production and actualization of their travel ambitions? Don’t you assist them in getting the most out of their travels, and isn’t the relationship you have with clients developed out of a trust in your skill set? If so, then your ability to relate to people, to come to your job with a fresh and clear vision is important. If your marketing is to be authentic, you must be able to relate and communicate openly, honestly and clearly. Even coaches have coaches.
For any of you who might be interested, I’m using a group of coaches associated with the Falling Awake program. We meet weekly by phone in large groups, and then a couple of times a month for one-on-one sessions. Importantly, everyone has homework, usually revolving around a goal. Imagine that.
Coaching is not free, but it is one of the best possible investments you can make in yourself. Do yourself a favor and seek out a single session with a life coach. I predict that many of you will go back for more.
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh