What Is It Like To Work with a Life Coach?

WOULDN’T A quick fix be sweet? To be able to call up an “expert” and have them tell you exactly what to do, step-by-step, to reach your goal? That might work if your goal is to build a birdhouse, but when it comes to designing and creating your ideal life, it takes a bit more time and effort.

The work I do with my clients is often intangible; behind-the-scenes; and, at times, difficult to describe, but, when someone is committed to the process, no matter how long it takes, the results are hard to miss.

This week, I’ve asked a long-time client of mine, Debbie, to share what brought her to our work together and how the process has impacted her life. Perhaps Debbie’s experience will help you see the the power of digging deep versus the patch of a quick fix.

Here’s Debbie:

I had always wanted a mentor. It was something I dreamed about. A partner in crime who would guide me through this thing called life, helping me to navigate the bumpy roads and bypass the potholes.

People came into my life and took that role, but they were always fleeting and usually had a vested interest in the decisions I made. Then, in September 2010 I was gifted a place in the Hay House Movers & Shakers event. On the last day we were given a ‘resources’ print out…and there was Kerri Richardson’s details. By October 2010 I had engaged her as my life coach. Now, nearly seven years later, she is still my coach and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I didn’t enter into coaching thinking it would be a long-term relationship. I thought we’d set some goals, achieve some goals and that would be that. And indeed, we have set some goals and achieved some goals…but then we set a few more…and a few more…and my life started to change in such a remarkable way, I realised I was in this coaching relationship for the long haul.

Recently, in preparation for this blog, I read back through some of my old email check-ins. I was like a rabbit in the headlights back then, with big dreams, a too-busy schedule and an unhealthy need to make sure everyone else was okay before I took stock of myself.

One of the first tasks Kerri assigned me was to actively disappoint people for two weeks. Just the thought of it sent me into a cold sweat.

I started softly…by not making dinner for my husband when I’d promised I would. Then I rang my parents to tell them I wouldn’t be home at the weekend as planned…and I said “no” to a project I didn’t want to do but felt I should. And very quickly life started to change for me. I realised the earth didn’t stop because I’d said no. In fact, quite the opposite. Most people didn’t even seem to care that much. My husband simply said “no worries, why don’t we eat out instead?” My mum said “never mind, we’ll look forward to seeing you another time.”

This tiny exercise was a life game-changer for me.

And that is what Kerri has been so good at doing over the years: Introducing these little challenges, which slowly change the course of direction…like turning a big ship around. And my life has turned around in ways I never thought possible.

Long-term coaching with Kerri has given me time to excavate my desires and gain clarity about how I want to live. She’s given me permission to change my mind, encouragement to live out loud, and provided a safe space for me to dig deep and really get to know, love and accept myself…both the light and the dark and all of the gray in between.

The longevity of the relationship has harvested a deep trust, meaning I can let Kerri in even deeper, opening up old wounds, sharing experiences of which I am ashamed or embarrassed, and digging through my shadow. Kerri has always met me with unconditional love and support – no matter how unworthy I may have felt of it.

Our relationship has changed over the past seven years. Kerri knows me well by now and she has had time to see what is consistent with me and what is a flight of fancy. She knows every foible, has witnessed many an ‘aha,’ and has been there in my sad moments.

Of course, there have been many sad moments (the death of my grandmother, a difficult legal battle with her care home, job disappointments) but there’s also been a lot (a LOT) of joy and “kicking-ass,” if I do say so myself!

The last seven years have seen me:

  • give up chasing a career I hated (but thought I wanted)
  • move into a career I love (but didn’t think I was qualified for)
  • find a lovely balance between work and play (and I love to play)
  • perfect the art of boundary setting (which was once my weakest muscle)
  • grow my financial health (which has given me freedom to enjoy my money)
  • get a much-wanted tattoo (and then get four more)
  • sell most of my belongings and rent out my flat for fourteen months of full-time travel
  • move back into my flat and refurnish it when I’d had enough of traveling
  • re-engage with the things I love (playing my guitar and singing)
  • finding new passions (arts and crafts, dressmaking and deepening my spiritual life)
  • letting go of the things I don’t love (“the shoulds”)
  • navigate a tricky autoimmune disease (and come out of the other side looking and feeling better than ever)
  • shave my head (this is the best and scariest thing I’ve ever done!)

The biggest win of long-term coaching for me is just how well I know myself now. I’ve learnt that time and space are very important to me, and when things go topsy-turvy, the first thing I do is clear my calendar.

Long-term coaching has also provided me with an arsenal of techniques I can call upon when needed and it has helped me develop trust in myself; a gut feel for when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no.’ I no longer feel like a hostage to all those things in life trying to get my attention; I can tune out the noise and tune into my desires. Thanks to Kerri, I’ve cut trips short when I haven’t been having a good time, and extended my stay when I have. But getting to this point has taken time.

Kerri also provides accountability for me. She’s the perfect mix of a gentle kick up the arse and my very own cheering squad. She’s taught me that “excited and scared” is a good place to be…and I’ve learned the difference between ‘excited’ and ‘terrified’ (but that’s a story for another day!)

We’ve worked through a lot together. She has been there through thick and thin…and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg!

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I have a couple slots open in my private coaching practice, so if you’re ready to “turn your ship around” as Debbie says, click here to learn how we may work together.

Have a great week!

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