An Introduction to Life Coaching


Welcome to this introduction to life coaching. I am a successful life coach and started my first life coaching practice when I left my role as head of investments for Barclays in 2005. Everybody thought i was mad, my wife, my children, my parents, not to mention my father-in-law who had put me in touch with a good business advisor at this time.

"Let me get this right" he said to me looking me up and down. "You've left your job as part of the Barclays' Executive to become a life coach?"

"That's right," I told him confidently. What could he possibly be alluding to?

Karen my wife kept asking me "How do you know you are going to be good at this?"

"I don't know," I continually replied, "I just do." I always got great feedback in my previous role that my great strength was dealing with people so I took it as read I would be good.

That was many years ago and so to present day. I seemed to surprise everyone and have spent many years now enjoying being a successful life and business strategist, my term for a life and business coach.

I have always worked on a number of key principles to ensure I succeed and one of those is a term called modelling. You will learn about modelling on this course and soon be using this awesome technique yourself.

So in this introduction I will be introducing you to what life coaching is, how it works and giving you a good start into your journey to become a life coach.

Modelling is a term devised by NLP founders Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Here is a brief explanation.

'Attitude will get you moving, but won't get you the results. To get results you need a methodology.'

The methodology that they created is called 'modelling.' Modelling is an NLP term for a precise way of copying, where you find someone who is excellent at what they do, ask them questions (elicit information), observe them and adopt what you have learnt very specifically. In brief, to model someone you would observe:

Physiology – what they do with their body

Language – their use of words

Thinking – how they construct their inner reality.

So back to the introduction and what I share with you here and throughout this course is based upon a strategy, approach and a model that really works. I have mentored and worked with many hundreds of life coaches over the last ten years and what you will find in this course comes from my personal experience combined with ongoing evidence and research to ensure sustainable success.

Life coaching is a profession that began to grow rapidly about 15 years ago. Everyone wanted to be a life coach. Many tried and many failed. This is no different today which is why you will hear me continually talk about modelling success. Always model success, something we know for certain not only to work, but to work well.

So lesson number 1 – make sure you are one of the 2% of coaches that enter the market and succeed each year. YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK by being on this course.

So the first thing to get clear and be absolutely sure about is what exactly is a life coach?

A life coach is someone who aims to help and empower others to make and meet personal and professional goals. This can include excelling in the workplace, becoming happy and fulfilled at home, exploring your potential and achieving ambitions.

So a very important point I am making here is that a life coach is a role, a vocational occupation, someone that helps others professionally. Life coaches then use a range of skills and techniques to deploy when working with professional clients to help them achieve their goals and unlock their potential. The skills and techniques I refer to are known as life coaching modalities. The Life Coaching Modalities we will teach you on this course are NLP, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Human Givens needs driven psychology. These are the most powerful behavioural change strategies in the world today which is why they sit in the armoury of most great life coaches. After all it makes sense doesn't it? The life coaching client needs to change if they want to live a different and happy life.

This is why we have deliberately included NLP, Clinical Hypnotherapy and Human Givens Psychology within this course. We also share other life coaching models that teach you various frameworks for you to operate within as a professional coach.

So another early myth to dispel is that life coaching is not counselling.

How is life coaching different from counselling?

One difference between counselling and life coaching is that counselling can investigate the underlying causes of mental health problems. Life coaching focuses more on the future to encourage personal development and self-improvement.

What can a coach help me with?

Life coaches utilise techniques to help their clients in all aspects of life. If you've ever struggled with something – whether it be sticking to a diet, learning a language, moving out of your comfort zone, standing up for yourself at work – then consulting a life coach could help you.

A life coach will approach things pragmatically. Through questions and exercises, he or she will try to get a good idea of how you look at the world. From this they will be able to identify the most effective route to your goal. Some people feel intimidated by the idea of change and so need to take things slowly to fulfil their goals. In this situation a life coach might divide ultimate goals into smaller bite-sized pieces. Other people may get impatient and lose interest. In this situation a life coach might suggest introducing stronger reminders and incentives to keep them on track.

However you approach life, your life coach will be able to tailor your sessions to fit. Subjects life coaches deal with include:

  • Love life – Do you wish you had the confidence to approach someone you have your eye on? Do you struggle with commitment? Are you struggling to cope with a divorce? Whatever the problem, a life coach could help you to understand your love-life and work towards improving it.
  • Business life – Starting and running a business is tough work. Sometimes we get so absorbed in hard work we neglect ourselves. Life coaches can help with confidence, leadership, decision-making and work/life balance.
  • Personal life – Do you feel like you're not making the most of life? There's so much to see, do and learn in this world, but often a lack of confidence, time and willpower can cause us to stay inside not doing anything. Life coaches use specialist skills to motivate their clients to do the things they want to do, so they can finally fight the urge to procrastinate.

  • Performance – Improvement is at the heart of life coaching. Whatever your skill, life coaching could help improve it. Whether you're an athlete, an artist, a writer, a performer, or a musician, adopting specialist techniques will help you to push your limitations and exceed expectations.

Whichever way you look at it life coaches are looking to help clients seek personal improvement and success in many different areas of their lives.

Life coaches also commonly help their clients:

  • Lose weight
  • Get fit
  • Climb the career ladder
  • Manage stress
  • Get rid of bad habits
  • Eradicate limiting beliefs
  • Overcome fears and phobias
  • Improve relationships

We have deliberately included later in this course THE BIG 5 LIFE COACHING CLIENTS – a model dedicated entirely to teaching you how to work with the 5 biggest reasons clients seek out a personal coach.

As you progress through the course you will notice I steer you in a very unique direction when it comes to fundamentals such as:

  • Charging clients
  • Number of sessions
  • The coach client relationship
  • Life coaching programmes
  • The life coaching session

I do this deliberately to ensure you are not one of the majority of first year failures when it comes to setting out as a professional coach. Remember the 2% I referred to earlier.

This just leaves me to say welcome to the course. I hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction, enjoy this beginning phase and don't let anything stop you becoming "the difference that makes the difference" in helping the hundreds of clients that lay ahead of you unlock their full potential, achieve their goals and be the best version of themselves they can be.

Good Luck

Mark Shields Life Coach

PS Please remember to update your tutor at the end of each course part by completing your feedback form and sending it into them.

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