Life coaching: Roadmap to fulfilment
While many think that professional mentorship is a preserve for the rich and the underperforming, more people are emb with companies sending their most promising employees for training programmes to maximise potential and productivity. Njeri Maina emplores how to get the best out of it.
Njeri Maina @njerimainar
The 21st century is all about self-awareness, self-actualisation and better performance and productivity.
At the centre of this is a willingness to seek guidance from others. This has in part led to the growing appetite for coaching both in Kenya and across Africa. But what exactly is life coaching?
“Life coaching focuses on helping clients discover what makes them happy, healthy and successful in different aspects of their lives.
It addresses personal growth, relationships, spirituality, health and professional success.
Life coaches are instrumental in their client’s journey as they help them understand their vision, set priorities and develop an action plan towards their desired goals,” Emily Kamunde-Osoro, global director for the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Board, explains.
Emily has been a life coach for eight years. She shares how the field of life coaching is slowly growing in Kenya over time, with more people training to be certified life coaches and citizens being more willing to procure life coaching services.
Emily talks of how coaching is different from mentoring as unlike coaching, mentoring involves giving advice and sharing a mentor’s experiences with the mentee.
Mentoring is about inspiring the mentee to follow a similar journey to the mentor while coaching empowers the client to create their own path with the coach simply facilitating the self-discovery process.
Coaching is different from therapy in that it is future focused while therapy seeks to resolve current issues based on someone’s past, such as childhood experiences.
Myths on coaching
“People make time and pay for what they value, and value can only be determined by the person procuring the coaching service. The perception that coaching is for the rich is untrue.
Anyone can save and pay for coaching services, if they see and value the services provided.
Coaching is also not for underperformers. It is for anyone who has goals.
In fact, there are organisations which send their high potential employees for coaching as part of their leadership development,” Emily explains.
Emily further emphasises the fact that coaching is not solely for when things go wrong or for when one is seeking clarity.
One can procure coaching services at those times, but it is not solely for such periods of time.
She speaks of the importance of getting a life coach not just for a session, but for at least six months if one is looking for impact and measurable results.
It is not a touch and go process, but a long term process where the coach equips the client with life skills that can help them become better and creative solution providers in their own lives, over time.
Corrine Mbati is a communication specialist who has had a life coach for the last three months.
She shares that she plans to consult with the coach for the next six months or even longer as she believes that coaching is a journey.
But what made her seek out the services of a life coach and how did she settle on the one she has now?
“I started coaching during this Covid-19 season after going through a period where I felt stuck. I had a lot of questions about my career.
I’d been hearing about coaches and I gave this consideration because I felt that I needed someone to hold my hand as I navigated this hard phase that the pandemic thrust upon most of us.
For me, I was questioning my value, my contribution and what exactly fulfils me.
I would meet coach Vuyanzi Rod at a Monday Rotary fellowship where she was giving a talk.
Her story and her energy greatly resonated with me and this is part of the reason I settled on her as my life coach,” Corrine explains.
As to whether she has seen any changes after the few sessions she has had with the life coach, Corrine answers strongly in the affirmative.
She talks of having more clarity towards what her purpose in life is, and around her different spheres of life such as family and work.
She wishes she had known and met her coach earlier as she would have achieved immeasurably more.
She shares how she would also willingly procure the services of a therapist or mentor as she is committed to mental well-being as well as leveraging career support or any other form of support that is available.
“There are times when we can all do with a little external help, and there is nothing wrong with that,” she says.
Who’s a good coach?
But with everyone out here labelling themselves a life coach, how can one ascertain that they are getting coaching from a qualified person?
According to the Global Coaching Study 2020 commissioned by ICF and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, untrained individuals who label themselves coaches were cited as the number one obstacle for the coaching industry.
With coaching being a largely unregulated industry, unscrupulous people are taking advantage of innocent citizens by purporting to be life coaches.
“As ICF, we are trying to regulate the industry by having a professional code of ethics and a database of certified professional coaches.
For you to be certified, you should have undertaken training of at least 60 coach specific training hours through an ICF-accredited institution.
So, one way of getting a legitimate life coach is by checking if they are certified by ICF. The other way is to look at their recommendations.
A great coach will have great reviews from past clients. Ensure you get the best coach you can to help you smash those goals,” Emily says in conclusion.