Life Coaching

Crabby Old Lady took a swipe at life coaches
yesterday. I commented to her that the same might be said of lawyers,
heath care providers and financial counselors. The fact is there are
many opportunistic and unqualified people calling themselves coaches.
While I can agree with her concern, I cannot let her sweeping
generalization impune the work of thousands of committed and competent
individuals.

What I want to point out is that, as an emerging field and
profession, coaching is attempting to address the question of how do
you empower people to ‘break through’ their habits and patterns and
CREATE their own future as distinct from simply coping with
circumstances and living in their comfort zone.

Just
as one might hire a fitness trainer or yoga instructor to assist them
to restore or maintain flexibility and strength, so might one use a
coach to challenge long-held assumptions and beliefs about what one can
and cannot do as we age.

Moreover, if we think about the process most go through when
retiring, there are lots of courses and coaching on what to do with
your money, but almost nothing about what you will do with the rest of your life
(which for many will be longer than the years they were working). What
could possibly be wrong about spending some hours examining oneself in
relationship to the future, looking at options and motives and
expectations? If someone were beginning their career, they would think
nothing of hiring an experienced counselor to assist them in their
choices. Why should post-retirement planning be any different?

Finally, I want to suggest that, although Elders may or may not
choose to be coached in those areas of their life where they have big
commitments or are challenging ‘conventional wisdom’, many of us should
consider that we might have a lot to offer others—as coaches.
It is an activity that lends itself to flexible time arrangements. It
can be done successfully over the phone and it can provide a context of
continuing contribution and making a difference in the lives of others
at any age. One of the most often heard complaints from Elders is that
of ‘not feeling valued’. The remedy in my mind is if you want to feel
valued, then add value—be of service. Coaching others is a way of being
of service.

There are a lot of opportunistic ‘schools’ that I am sure would and
should engender Crabby’s ire as well. I will write more in coming days
about how to select a coach and minimize the kind of people that Crabby
Old Lady is besmirching. I will also suggest how one goes about
learning to coach others.

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