Coaching: What is it? Why should I have one?

When I tell people that I am a Life Coach I get puzzled looks. Then I get questions. Then I start the process of explaining what I do. Simply put, I help people become better versions of themselves. Who doesn’t want that right? As humans we like more, we like better, we like having a path to follow. The easier it is to get to success and wealth the better. But that is not coaching. That is a pyramid scheme. Sure Coaches have tools, tricks, and tips to help make this path easier but coaching is not do this and you’ll get that.

Coaching is a profession based on service. It takes a genuine interest in helping others work through challenges and set goals. I may not have the answers that you want to hear, or I might not have the answers at all. My job as a coach is to stay on top of the curve if not ahead of it. Coaching is as introspective as it is extrospective. A coach would try to draw out the reason behind a goal and break it down. The process of making the goal as easy to follow and getting the desired result. It doesn’t end there though.

Having action steps and a method of accountability increases your success. If you complete your steps without fail, we would check to see if we set the bar to low, or if you encounter inspiration what ways we can trigger it more frequently and amplify your progress. It works the other way as well if we missed days or ran into complications. What tools can we implement? What happened in our environment this week? How can I help you fine tune your process to hit your goals on the next week?

After seeing the results where else do you want to go with that goal? Where did it take you internally? Coaching becomes so much more, the more you use it. The title may come from sports and every team may have one, but think about what that coach is to their team. A great coach makes a great team better. They push them to their limits not only to test them but to prove that they are growing. Why wouldn’t you want one for yourself? For your business? For your health?

Yes, there is an element of leadership that is required while coaching, but a coach is not your boss. A coach helps you find the aspects of yourself that serve you at the highest level. It would be like handing you your keys to your fully tuned up properly fueled vehicle with preprogrammed destinations on the dashboard screen. Reminding you that you were the one that made those discernments and then inviting you to come back soon to share your story again next time.

For those of you keeping score at home here is a list of reasons that you or anyone should have a coach.

1. Focused Goal Formation: What is your most important goal? The one you are thinking of right now. What does your life look like when you complete it? Is it a goal that completes you and has a finite end, or does it simply move you closer to a theme or value in your life? What is the first step that you need to take to realize your goal? Think of some action steps that can make this goal into a plan. Now we find a way to fit it into your daily life and make it as easy to achieve as possible.

2. How to overcome a challenge or puzzle: What is in your way? How does it complicate your progress? Do you have all the pieces? What have you tried to do to overcome this obstacle? Is there a skill you could learn to help? Do you know anyone that has overcome this issue before? There are even a few exercises that a coach could bring you through to help find new motivation or try to change the way you have worked through it until now.

3. Mindset training: How do you view the events of your life unfolding? Does it happen to you or do you make it happen? Do you live are reactively, or proactively? Can you change your circumstances or are they what they are? This is a huge area that I love to help with and I have seen leaps and bounds of improvement in my own life by increasing my mindfulness practices. Becoming self-aware, creating, finding, and exploring personal values. Having the ability to be mindfully present as you go through the day is akin to having superpowers in my opinion.

4. Experience and insight: The Coaches that I have trained with, talk to, or read about all have a few things in common. They have gone through a period of personal development that changed them so significantly that they are now inspired to do the same with others. They have taken the time to learn about why our minds work the way they work. The Coaching world is constantly evolving based on studies of neuroscience, psychology, and the integration of eastern spirituality practices. All of this information is mixed into an individual that is uniquely designed to assist anyone develop along a path of their choosing. Coaching is Coachee driven after all.

Now a lot of the confusion around what Coaching is would be that a Life Coach or Personal Development Coach sounds a lot like what we expect from a Therapist or Psychologist (yes those are two different things too). Therapists and Psychologists are degree-based occupations that require licensing to practice and are heavily regulated. They tend to be past-focused and focus on healing traumas or creating an extensive evaluation for medical reasons. Coaches are based in the present and creating a clear path to the future. While we may draw attention to an issue that may be a persistent block of progress, we only use it as an introspective tool instead of a focus.

Another confusing factor is the number of niches that a Coach could focus on. In addition to the fact that most Coaches will broaden their focus as their career and practice evolve. How do you know what kind of Coach you need? Well that one is more simple than you would think. What is your greatest need right now to make your life complete? What made you look into Coaching in the first place? If you do not know where your challenges lay, or you just want to develop all areas of life try looking toward a Life Coach that targets everything. Looking to take your business to the next level? Look towards a Business Coach or a Consultant. Want to level up your athletic capabilities? Find a Personal Trainer or a Health Coach.

For the record, I am a Life Coach that focuses on the areas of Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mindset, Meditation, and Habit Formation.

So what brought you here? Did you just want to see what Coaching is? Are you looking for a coach? Whatever the reason I hope you gained some insight on how I or another Coach could help you. My goal here is to be able to help as many people as possible, even if that means that I don’t work with you directly. Any positive impact that I can bring into this world makes it just a little bit better place for those that come after us.

Making the Habits

In my first post I briefly talked about habits and how they are created. Repeating any action gives it value. That value makes a neural pathway in our brains that maps out that action. The more that action is mapped out the less energy it takes to activate. So how do we use this to our advantage to create worthwhile changes in our lives? Let’s look at the biggest factors that go into creating a habit.

  1. The first one is the reason behind the habit. Why do you do this action? Is it something you do out of necessity or because you want to do it? Is it a means of achieving a long-term goal? Do you think it will be enjoyable? This helps complete the habit even when motivation and energy are low.
  2. Identity is the second factor. Who does this habit make you? Does it make you into the version of yourself that you want to see?
  3. Convenience. When and where does this habit fit into your day? Practicing a foreign language when you have your breakfast in the morning is a great example.
  4. Habits tend to be easier to stick to when you have a trigger for it. When you finish practicing your language lesson you could write your to-do list for the day.
  5. Small steps. Break the habit down. When you are first starting a habit it can be hard to do it consistently. Like going to the gym 3 times a week. Maybe start with getting your gym bag packed and walking out to the car.
  6. The last one is the best part, the reward. How are you rewarded for completing it? Do you end up being in better shape from your new gym habit? Do you learn a new skill? Start a side hustle from a starting a habit of writing every day?

Run your desired habit through this filter and see how to best fit your new habit into your life and watch as you become a better version of yourself. You can also use these tips to stack habits on top of each other. Use one new habit to trigger the next. Then take it a step further by taking a trigger for one of your bad habits or habit that no longer serves you to trigger your new habit stack that you designed. You could completely change the way you see life and how your day fits together in less time than you would expect.

Leave a comment below on a habit that you want to start but are having trouble with and let’s get it mapped out for you!

The functions of the brain

The Human brain is a fantastic piece of machinery. So much of our evolution went into some of it’s most basic and automatic functions. Think about what it does for you everyday. It takes in all of the information brought together by your senses and combines it with what you have learned in your life and then you react and bring in more stimulus. It keeps this cycle going all day long until you go back to sleep. Then it goes through a whole other process to break down your thoughts and experiences in to memories.

It truly is fantastic how it works. Many studies have shown that your brain uses 20% of your total energy that you create everday even though it’s only 2% of your body weight. Most of the energy it uses is spent on its automatic functions. The stuff that you are probably not even aware of. One of those functions are to make your organs work, which is you know incredibly important to your survival. Another is to have you try and support the three basic drives of organic life.

Basic drive number one! You need to fuel this machine, and well how you fuel it matters. I say fuel because drinking water is also important in this step. If you put in low-quality processed foods with tons of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners you will find that it fills the tank, and maybe other areas of your body as well, but it won’t supply you with enough energy to get through the day. So now you’ll need to have more of the crap food to get to the end of the day. Your brain needs the good stuff. Foods that are high in antioxidants, omega-3s, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will really keep your brain going!

Drive number two. The ability to know when to fight a threat, or flee from it. This is done in our brain by the amygdala. As you know this is something that usually is done automatically. I say usually because it takes a lot of training to override this function. While we do not have to fight in life or death situations much anymore, the amygdala likes to stay relevant in our lives today by giving us a lovely thing known as anxiety. Which can be debilitating in some cases. You can’t really fight or run from a fear that you’re creating and exists only in your thoughts.

Drive number three. Reproduction! If you want a species to do well and live on you need to make more of that species. Today in our world the natural selection has more or less gone away. Any person can mate with any person and make more people that are just like them. The big part that hasn’t gone away is the fact that we all still feel the competitive part of reproduction, even if we don’t think that we do. We all want to appear smarter, stronger, wealthier, have the best stuff. All in the hopes of attracting the best possible special someone. It’s human nature. This is the biggest driver of the feeling of unimportance. If you are not the sexiest, strongest, smartest, funniest, best-bestest bester of them all it weighs on you. It creates jealousy and loneliness. To a species that is built around making sure your tribe or family group survives this tends to feel like a warning that your dying.

Now here is where things get interesting. I will add in that I am not a psychologist or a neurologist, but I do read about them and find the study of both to be incredibly interesting and useful in the career of coaching. That being said I have a loose understanding of how all of this works, but from the courses, podcasts, books and mentors that I have learned from they all touch on the following.

The next part of our brain’s energy budget is divided into making habits or the actions that we chose to give value to, and beliefs or what we assume to be true, and believe based on our limited perception of the world around us. These both interact with the three drives that we just finished going over and provide us with the background to filter the world through.

Habits, for example are a method to conserve energy. Your brain creates these neuro pathways to build your habits. What you do everyday becomes habit. This is where “you” come in. The more energy you give to an activity the more your brain uses that pathway. As your pathways get more use the habit become solidified. You are a collection of your most frequently completed habits and this can either be really good for you or really bad for you depending on the quality of your habits. Consider what you would do if you had no interruption and nothing to do besides what you wanted to accomplish. What does that look like? Does it look the same as your normal day? If not we will talk about that later, but as I said, habits are the actions we chose to give value to.

As for our beliefs, these are our assumptions and the projections of our emotions onto any event that takes place. So it’s the “other you” trying to make a habit out of explaining why things happen. We like this part of our brain because long ago it told us that the bushes moving in front of us could be food or something that wants to make us into food. Now it has become “my friends can’t come to see me today, I guess it’s because they don’t like me”. We have a severe negativity bias built in to keep us alive. Only now it just compounds with other assumptions into more anxiety or depression.

To define the terms “you” and “other you” I mean that both of these are the thought patterns that you have built. The actual you is the one that observes them and says either “This is fine” or “This isn’t what I wanted to do today” or really however you respond to what you do. If you are just coasting by and letting things happen it might not even say anythjng. It might just watch your life unfold.

I am not here to judge anyone based on their habits, beliefs, or their response to external stimuli. I am a life coach and what we do is try to help people use their actual self as frequently as possible. When you let your actual self drive your actions and reactions this is where something I call your “Best Self” become a reality. I truly and honestly believe that if we all spent a little more time being mindful of how we allow our minds to control our automated processes we could all make more meaningful connections and create an amazing new way of life for all of us. Pretty nifty right? Over the next few posts I am going to show you little ways that we can rewrite our minds to have a clearer picture as to how we show up in the world, how to get the things that we want, and how we can be more impactful in our interactions with those we care about and interact with on a day-to-day basis.