What is life coaching?

15th November 2018

As I look around at the many approaches to personal development, I’ve come to believe that transformational coaching is the current state of the art in exploring the age-old question we all face, namely: “How do I live a meaningful life?” Its underlying belief in human potential, its principles of collaboration and equality, and its quality of unknowing exploration are the bedrock of a new form of personal inquiry in to the act of being human.

– Nick Bolton, Founder, Animas Centre for Coaching

When Nick said this at a conference some years ago he was articulating a belief that would become our vision for coaching.

We define coaching as a collaborative, non-directive conversation that brings about change through inquiry, reflection, choice and new behaviours in order to help people make courageous decisions about their life, relationships and work.

We also believe that coaching is just at the start of its own journey!

The Animas vision is to see coaching adopted as the first choice for personal change conversations and to shed its over-reliance on models and processes.

When coaching first emerged in the 1990s, it set out to distinguish itself from related approaches likes counselling and therapy. It did so by focusing almost exclusively on goals and behavioural change.

Simple-to-use models, like GROW and SMART goal-setting, defined coaching and conversations took on a process-like quality.

But people aren’t processes.

We are human beings and we’re all trying to make sense of our life in some way. We bring with us a complex and changeable mix of thoughts, feelings, habits, beliefs, values, assumptions and instincts.

As useful as models such as GROW are, coaching is at its best when coach and client foster a true relationship of inquiry to explore the client’s challenge, goal or issue from all dimensions.

At Animas, we still teach and value models, they have an important place in a coach’s armoury. But ultimately we want our coaches to rely on themselves as a human being in a relationship of curiosity with another.

The possible applications of coaching are countless, and the core principles and qualities of coaching make it uniquely powerful as a tool for inquiry and change.

Coaching takes many different forms and coaches vary in how they work, who they work with, and the sorts of approaches, issues and areas they might specialise in.

The decisions we make on everyday issues are usually informed by (often unconscious) answers to bigger questions which can benefit from our attention and exploration. Questions such as: ‘What do I want to do with my life?’, ‘What are my priorities at the moment?’ and ‘How am I meeting my values?’

Coaching helps to surface the individual’s ideas and questions, and explore the beliefs, values and assumptions that drive our experience, decision-making, behaviour and results.

Animas’ transformational coaching approach allows us to coach at this deeper level. The change that transformational coaching brings about can be longer-lasting and further-reaching than with more performance-driven coaching. It brings about change not only in tangible results, but also in the client’s understanding of their own worldview and ultimately of themselves.

Click this link to find out more about our Accredited Diploma in Transformational Coaching.

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