Working with a life coach involves forming a partnership that has one central goal: helping you create the life you want. A study published in the journal Social Behavior and Personality found that participation in a life coaching program had a positive impact on goal attainment, quality of life and overall mental health. Additional benefits of life coaching include helping people achieve:
- Clarity and direction
- A sense of meaning and purpose
- Less stress and worry
- Greater self-awareness and confidence
- Improved communication skills
- Stronger, healthier relationships
- Greater personal and professional success
Many people find coaching beneficial, but what tools could you learn from a great life coach?
1. Mindset management
For each of us, the greatest obstacle to success and happiness is our mindset — our thoughts, perspectives and mood states, which are usually overwhelmingly negative. In fact, every day, up to 70% of our thoughts are negative.
These negative thoughts, in turn, create negative mood states, which can develop into a dangerous pattern that affects all areas of our life: work; personal relationships; our physical, mental and emotional health; and more. And this creates a breeding ground for anxiety, worry, fear and even depression.
A great life coach will help you become more aware of your thoughts, perspectives and moods and provide strategies and techniques to achieve a powerful, positive shift in the way you experience yourself, others and the world. When you consider that 90 percent of your overall performance — at work and in life — is driven not by your behavior but by your ability to manage your mindset, addressing this area can lead to profound results.
Work-life balance is a serious issue for many American adults. Just how serious? The U.S. is the most overworked developed nation in the world, with the International Labour Organization reporting that Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours than British workers, and 499 more hours than French workers. And a United Nations study shows that, in the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week. It’s no wonder why so many of us feel that we have little energy or time left over for our personal lives, including our friends, families, health and hobbies.
A life coach can help you gain a greater sense of equilibrium in your life by working with you to identify the areas of inequity and teaching you tools around how to prioritize what’s most important, learn how to say “no” more often, better manage your time, create time for yourself, and more.
One of the greatest tools you will learn from a life coach is how to be more resilient, flexible and open to change. Psychological research has repeatedly shown that resilient individuals are better able to cope with stress, remain optimistic, and live healthier, happier lives.
Researchers who have studied the psychology of resilience have identified several critical factors that are essential for dealing with life’s challenges, including:
- Finding a purpose in life
- Being realistically optimistic
- Possessing cognitive flexibility
- Being emotionally intelligent
While some people seem to come by these talents naturally, experts also suggest that resilience can be learned. Psychologist Martin Seligman, known for his research on positive psychology and learned helplessness, has suggested that resilience training can help people develop the flexibility and mental toughness they need to survive and thrive in the face of challenges.
One technique that a great life coach may use to develop your resilience is an approach known as mindfulness. While this technique is rooted in ancient Buddhist meditation, it has rapidly gained acceptance as a tool for coping with stress and building mental strength. It involves paying attention, without judgment, to the present moment and all of the thoughts, feelings and surrounding events as they unfold around you. Practicing such mindfulness has been shown to have a wide range of benefits including boosting immunity, changing areas of the brain linked to emotional regulation, improving attention, reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing relationships.
A great life coach won’t give you orders or an instruction manual on how to live your life. Instead, they will help you learn the tools you need to succeed in your career, your relationships, your health, and other important areas. By learning some of these useful skills now, you can continue to apply them as you encounter new challenges.
In what ways could hiring a life coach enhance your own life?