I’m often asked: what does a life coach do? Well, Life Coaches help and support people through changes in their lives and help them to set and achieve their goals.
Make a plan, follow it, be successful. What could be easier?
The reason that people come to Life Coaches for help, however, is that they want to make changes in their lives, but find they keep hitting a wall somewhere. Often they have no idea why they hit the wall, just that they get to a particular place in their plan and … well, they might find they get distracted; or that their enthusiasm just disappears; they find excuses not to go any further; they maybe decide they didn’t really want to change after all … they discard their plan and go back to the way they were before. When this happens often enough, they begin to smell a rat. It always happens at a similar place in their plan, or in response to a particular event.
It’s a Life Coach’s job, to help the client to overcome these obstacles and change not just their outer circumstances, but also their inner landscape.
The Potato Race
When I was a little girl – a long time ago as you can imagine! – every year we used to have a school sports day. You remember those – egg and spoon races, sack races, potato races, relays etc. All the parents would turn up to cheer and the school used that day to interact with the parents, give out prizes and generally build relationships with parents in an atmosphere of fun.
Of course, any sports day had its stars – the kids who did well at sports tended to win all the races, compete with each other and generally shine in circumstances like that. Kids like me, who were never good at sports tended not to look forward to sports day but learned to be philosophical about the whole thing – after all, it was only one day of the year and although one got a hard time from parents for coming last, it was soon over and forgotten.
Most sports days have disappeared into wherever it is that memories disappear as we get older. However, one potato race on one sports day stands out in my mind. For those too young to remember them, here’s a quick explanation. A number of potatoes were allocated to each entrant. These vegetables were spaced out along the track and the object of the race was to run, pick up a potato, run back to the start, place the potato into a receptacle placed there for the purpose and then run back for the next one, until all the potatoes were in the bag. Then the runner picked up the bag and raced to the finish. Whoever picked up all their potatoes and crossed the finish line first won the race
Well, that particular race, goodness knows why, I had been entered. To cut a long story short, the field was uneven and, like many others before me and after me, I didn’t see the last potato, didn’t pick it up, lost my rhythm, made a big fool of myself and cried all the way home.
I suppose I was about 10 years old. I remember feeling mortified both because of the laughter and because I felt I had been stupid. I beat myself up about that for a long time.
Fast forward umpty tump years.
Projects as Potato Races
When you have a project to do, whether it is personal development, setting up a business, organising an event or any other kind of project, there are certain correlations between your plan and a potato race. Just like in a potato race there is a sequence to a project plan that has to be implemented in order for you to cross the finish line and achieve your goal – preferably on time and on budget.
But what if you overlook one of the steps, or come across a problem you hadn’t foreseen? What if your family don’t like the time or attention it takes? What if you make a mistake? Eek!
How do you deal with that?
Most of us, myself included, tend to go right back to the first time we came across that kind of problem. And do what we did then to solve it – which may well involve feeling mortified, running away and crying all the way home!
What Does a Life Coach Do?
A Life Coach – among other things - can help you understand those inner blocks, release them and change the way you react to them, permanently, so that you can continue implementing your plan and achieve your desired outcome.
So, for example, once I understood where my (almost obsessive!) perfectionism came from – that fear of feeling mortified again just like I did at age 10! – I could relax and let go of it, enjoy the process and achieve my goals easily, free of stress and struggle. And also free of beating myself up for being less than perfect!
So what goals are you going for … and what’s stopping you?