Life Coaching or Personal Development Coaching can take many forms. I recently was involved in a conversation with a colleague about coaching seminary students around their financial habits. One of the things we discussed was whether a person needs to be a financial expert to coach someone about finances. We agreed that helping a person to break old habits or, perhaps more proactively, develop new habits or behaviors was the key to financial coaching rather than financial expertise.
Developing new habits is not easy. Some suggest that, on the average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. More realistically, how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In a study by researcher Phillippa Lally, a key finding was that it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
This is where coaching can make a significant contribution in a person’s a life. A coach does not “fix” a person or prescribe the best course of action for a client to follow. The role of the coach is to help the person discover what he or she wants to do, make a realistic assessment of where the client is versus where the client wants to be, work with the client to discover the resources he or she has available, and then to set goals and pursue actions that will bridge the gap.
The coach helps the client develop her or his own support network and accountability structures and walks alongside as the client does the hard work of change. The coach does not have to be a content expert, but the coach does have to be a process expert. A coach can’t change another person. The person is the change agent.
This is International Coaching Week, an annual weeklong global celebration of the coaching profession, sponsored by the International Coach Federation. Have you thought about working with a coach? This would be a good week to take action.
If you want to know more about coaching, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time for free coaching call so that you can learn more. Happy ICW!
(A version of the blog appeared here on May 15, 2016)