Have you ever felt stuck? Overwhelmed? Unsure of who you are and where you’re going? It can happen to anyone, but for people who are struggling to live the life of their dreams, a possible solution might be to consult a life coach. So learn what is a life coach and how they can help you.
What was once an obscure occupation whose clients only included top businesses, life coaching (or relationship coaching, wellness coaching, and even online life coaching, etc.) is now a billion-dollar business. Companies all over the globe are learning what is a life coach and using them to help their employees become the best versions of themselves. And it’s working: Studies of Fortune 100 executives show that coaching resulted in a return of investment (ROI) of nearly 600%, as well as substantial increases in productivity, teamwork, and job satisfaction.
What is a life coach?
Life coaches can help clients figure out what exactly they want from life, then work with them to help them get there. Rather than feed their clients all the answers, however, life coaches believe that the best solutions to an individuals’ problem comes from within, and employ the use of Socratic questioning, or asking questions that prompt intense critical thinking to help the answerer come to their own conclusions. Socratic questioning not only guides clients to the correct answers, but empowers them when they realize the answers were inside them all along.
Anyone can apply the principles of Socratic questioning to their life. Here are six questions to help you get started:
1. What do you mean by that?
Having tens of thousands of thoughts per day can make it hard to stop and reflect on each individual one. However, this becomes a problem when we dismiss thoughts about ourselves and our lives that are unproductive, damaging, or simply incorrect.
Simply asking yourself “what do I mean by that?” when you have a thought forces you to stop clarify what you say versus what you really mean. What do you mean when you say you don’t have enough time for something? Do you mean you’re too busy, or that you simply don’t want to do it?
2. Why do you think that?
You arrive at work a few minutes late one morning. Your supervisor tears into you, and by the time you walk away, you’re convinced they hate you.
Is it really fair to assume that your boss hates you over one small indiscretion? Probably not. Questions that challenge our assumptions force us to think outside of our own interpretation of the world and consider other possibilities. Maybe they were just having a bad day?
3. How do you know?
Everybody has thoughts or beliefs about themselves and the world they live in, but what happens when those beliefs are wrong, or based on false information? How often do we stop and reflect on the reasoning for our beliefs? If you have to give a presentation and you believe you can’t do it, how do you know? Have you completely failed at giving presentations in the past? Can you predict the future? Or are you just nervous?
4. What is another way to look at it?
When we get trapped in a negative thought cycle, it can feel impossible to break free. Our negative beliefs are like blinders keeping us from seeing alternate perspectives. All we can see is our own narrow view of the world, no matter how warped or incomplete it is.
If you feel yourself trapped in a negative thought cycle, stop for a moment, and ask yourself: How would your parents see things? Your best friend? An unbiased stranger?
5. What would happen if…?
It’s good to ponder the consequences of events, but the “What if?” game can be a dangerous one for anxious people. We get stuck on all the things that could go wrong instead of considering every potential consequence of an action.
One way to curb this is to look most closely at three potential outcomes: The best-case scenario, the worst-case scenario, and a scenario that falls in the middle, which is usually the most likely of the three.
6. Why is this important?
Contemplate the things that really matter to you for a moment. Maybe it’s your friends and family, your job, or your love life. Everybody has things that are especially important to them, but how often do we think about why those things are important?
If you hate your job, why does it take up so much of your life? And what about the things that do matter? You can’t build a life around your priorities if you don’t know what your priorities are!
This article can’t take the place of an actual life coach, but now that you know what is a life coach, and how to apply the same critical thinking techniques life coaches use to help their clients, you can help yourself become the person you’ve always wanted to be.