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Get A Life…Coach

(I recently presented this as a speech at my local Toastmasters Club)

I have heard it said, “If you don’t have a vision, you can never be focused in a direction.”

I wonder then, how do you set a goal, and once set what propels you to consistently move in that direction?

Perhaps, like me, you try searching the internet. This is fine, except for those times I don’t really know what I need to search for.

I ask friends and family. However, their answers are given from their own life perspective and experiences which may not quite align with mine.

To move forward I found I needed to look within myself.

How do I do that? In walks my introduction to a ‘life coach’.

You may have heard the term ‘life coach’ – you may even know someone who is a life coach. As with any other profession, there are various styles. Let me introduce you to Life Coaching as I use it in my own practice.

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a manner that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential; in other word – working ‘from the inside out’ rather than ‘from the outside in’.

My daughter, unknowingly, demonstrated to me a life coaching technique when she was a teenager.

She would come to me and say, “mom, I don’t want you to tell me what to do, I don’t want you to fix it, I want you to listen, to hear what I have thought through, and let me know if you see anything I may have missed or need to consider”

As a life coach, that is what I do. I listen. And I ask questions. I help you see what you are looking at from a different angle.

Last year over the Christmas holidays I opened a jigsaw puzzle and set it out. There were 5 of us working on this puzzle at the same time and this is what I learned: we had the picture in front of us and were in agreement of what the end goal was – to make these pieces look like that picture; however, each of us had our own method of reaching that goal. We all started out the same – find the outer edge pieces and make the border. But then, we each went our own way of working through the process. Jon took a piece and worked methodically along pieces already in place and tested to see if it fit, then moved on to another piece. Angela looked for pieces that fit together, even if just 2 or 3 pieces, and worked to create a lot of partial fittings. My granddaughter and I looked at what everyone else did and mottled through trying to expand from their work. A few times, we switched chairs. With the new perspective the pieces to the puzzle suddenly fit in places we had not noticed before. Everyone had their own method to reach the same goal.

As your life coach, I help you find your method to reach your goal. I provide you with the tools you need make the decisions you require to get the job done. I walk with you on your journey toward your goal. I will remind you of your goal, your values, your priorities along the way when life’s detours and road hazards call your focus away from your destination. And, as your life coach I celebrate with you your successes.

Are you ready for a Life Coach? Ask yourself these questions:

• Do I want to grow and change?

• Have I made efforts to change within the past year?

• Am I capable of thinking about the future?

• Am I open to learning?

• Am I committed to making changes?

• Am I willing to learn from others?

• Am I willing to take risks?

• Am I willing to restructure my life if necessary?

If you answered YES to any these questions, you might want to consider connecting with Life Coach to help you as move forward. If this is something you are interested in learning about, I have some references for you from organizations I am associated with that may be of help.

Working ‘from the inside out’ what jigsaw puzzles are developing your life? What steps are you taking you need to clarify? Are there detours on your path you have not considered? Maybe it’s time to ask a life coach to help fill your toolbox.

You have the vision, and now you have tools to keep you focused on the direction, it’s time to begin the journey.

Keeping the Pieces Together

 

You are so busy. You struggle to keep all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of your life together- home, church, family, kids afterschool activities, work, and the list goes on.

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You must plan ahead and determine what pieces of the puzzle (a.k.a your life) will get a ‘yes’ response from you and which will get a ‘no’ response.

Before the holiday season becomes hectic for you, take a look at your situation. Where will you focus your energy? What will be your priorities? Plan now so you can enjoy the holidays instead of dreading them.

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Place your priorities in this puzzle and determine to keep yourself pieced together. Just like putting together a manufactured jigsaw puzzle, there are boundaries. Set your boundaries and build the beautiful picture that is you within them.

Draw Me A Picture With Your Words

I love to use word pictures to try to describe what is happening in my mind’s eye.  I can see something but it is fuzzy, and unclear. By speaking out the picture to someone it becomes clearer. Focus becomes sharper. I can see it and now I can choose how to act on it.

One thing I really enjoy about the coaching process is using questions to help bring that picture into focus. With my own life coach I often describe a bunch of ping pong balls bouncing around, each with a different thought or idea. When it strikes my mind goes there, but before I can focus on that thought or idea, another ball bounces and another thought starts to form. This continues until I am filled with disjointed and ideas that paralyze me from moving forward.

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My coach has learned how to use this scenario to bring clarity and focus by addressing the ping pong balls.

To some, this word picture may be ridiculous. My coach might even think that. But that doesn’t matter. It is my mind, my focus. As a coach she walks alongside me using the metaphor I describe and helps me to examine it, to look closely, and understand within myself what I am seeking.

Another word picture I have seen many use in coaching calls is that of a road. To some the road and clear and they are speeding along it; others find various road blocks and unexpected turns.

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As a life coach I enter your word picture and walk with you.

What word pictures would you use to describe a goal you desire to reach?

What will it take to move you forward from where you are

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to where you and God desire you to be?

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I’d love to discuss this with you. Click the “move forward” tab to start the conversation. If possible, I would love to enter the journey with you.

What is the Goal?

I like to play color match video games. It helps me to keep my mind busy, often while avoiding chronic pain – okay, I will be honest, sometimes avoiding work that needs to be done.

I have played some Candy Crush – until I reached a level I couldn’t defeat and gave it up. I have played Zuma and other similar games. The one I play now is Gummy Drop.

No matter what the game, they all have the same premise. Match the color balls for points, avoid the various barriers that are added along the way.

Sometimes, as you progress through the game you find barriers interrupt the goal. Here is what I mean. You ( I ) have played several levels where a specific barrier must be defeated in order to win the challenge. Then I (you) become so focused on that barrier, that a new challenge comes along with those barriers, that the goal of the challenge to just accumulate so many points is missed!  The barriers have nothing to do with the goal.

When I play, I have to look first at ‘what is the goal’ of the challenge, then look at the board and proceed while focusing only on the goal. I don’t always do this, thus I lose the game.

The same applies to my everyday task. What is my goal for this day, for this project, for this hour, for this moment? Another view is, what am I avoiding? Why?

The project isn’t due until Friday, but today I must work through this portion. Some need the deadline looming over them to move forward. Others need to clear obstacles. What do you need? 

How will you focus on that one specific portion only. The others cannot be complete until THIS is accomplished. Ignore those obstacles of ‘what if’ and ‘he said or she said’ and ‘we may not complete the whole thing’. How you will focus on this – now.

I often relate it to a jigsaw puzzle. I don’t know about you, but everybody I know (and that is not necessarily a lot of people) focuses first on the outer border. Once the outer border is in place, strategies change. Some focus on matching colors, others focus on shapes, some just wing it and pick up every piece and try to place it on the board. No matter the process, they all have the same end goal – to complete the puzzle and make it look like the picture on the box. Same end goal, different process for the various details.

My goal for a Gummy Drop challenge may be to defeat all the barriers, or it may be simply to gather so many points. The end goal is complete each level; and each challenge will get me there, but not until I focus on and complete the stated goal.

What are you working on now? Are you stumped by the overwhelming picture? How can you break it down in your mind so that you can proceed through each step. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.

For some, the color match game works as focus picture. For others, it might be the mountain or the jigsaw puzzle. What image works for you?

Are you ready?

Name your goal, and go for it!