WHAT I LEARNED FROM A LIFE COACH

I used to be sceptical of life coaches, but I've changed my opinion after spending a few sessions with one. We can always learn more about ourselves and our situation with the help of an objective observer. #midlife #lifecoaching

WHY A LIFE COACH?

I must admit that I've never really understood the need to be coached when it comes to living your best life. My belief was that you took what life dealt you - the good and the bad, learned from your mistakes and mis-steps and kept pushing forwards. Having a husband who's a good listener also helps, so why would I ever need the assistance of a Life Coach?

All that changed a couple of months ago when a lovely lady named Anne Bird contacted me through my blog's Facebook page and said that my posts on the changes I was going through with leaving my job really resonated with her because she'd been on a similar journey, and perhaps I'd like to have an online chat sometime.


MAKING NEW CONNECTIONS

I'm always open to making new friends with people who read my blog and who can relate to this whole Midlife discovery path I'm on, so Anne and I made a time to catch up and chat on Zoom. In the meantime, I did a bit of Facebook stalking - something all mothers are good at! It turns out that Anne is a life coach who lives in the UK (a very long way from me down here in Australia!) and has a Facebook page for her business, so it gave me a little bit of insight into her skills and ability to connect.

So, back in July Anne and I met up on Zoom and chatted away for ages - and straight away I recognized another Midlifer who had hit a few big bumps in the road, but instead of going off into the ditch forever, had used those bumps to re-think the direction she was heading in and made some changes to live a life that was more authentic to where she was as a 50+ year old woman. We had a great talk and towards the end, Anne asked if I'd be interested in her writing a guest post for my blog and in having a couple of sessions with her to give me a little bit more clarity with where I was heading.


COACHING SESSIONS

All up, we had three hour long sessions where we talked through what it was that I was actually wanting to do with myself in the future. Drilling down through the surface stuff to help me figure out what was important for me right now and in the years ahead. With the clarity of time, I'm coming to see that I really don't want to go back to work, I've worked for 40 years because it was necessary financially. Now that the financial pressure is off, why would I want to go to a job where I'm waiting for 5pm knock off, or wishing the day away so I can be home again? I'm sure if the perfect little job appeared, I'd consider it, but why would I work just for the sake of making some extra money?

ell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver #lifequotes

As we talked, I realized I was still very driven by what I assumed others might be thinking. The silly thing is that the people whose opinions I really value are incredibly supportive of me no longer working. They know my background, they know my work ethic, they know how much I've contributed, and they believe it's perfectly fine for me to say that I've had enough for now and want to live life on a more relaxed and flexible level. Anyone else's opinion really doesn't matter - so it's time to stop the chatter in my head that wonders about others, and just get on with living the life I want right now. As Anne said, it's about being content in this moment and letting the future evolve.

MY TAKE AWAY FROM IT ALL

I read an interesting article from the Huff Post that described what I've learned about being coached:

"Being coachable is about awareness and the ability to take the gold nuggets from a situation and use them to your advantage. There's wisdom in being coachable. It means you're paying attention to other people and the experience, wisdom, skills and knowledge they've earned and you're willing to listen close enough to see what might help you on your own journey."

Anne gave me the opportunity to talk about my situation with an objective listener, someone who wasn't invested in my change of direction (other than wanting to help me find, and have confidence in, my own thoughts and beliefs). I don't think being coached is sufficient in itself, because it's been really important for me to work through this change on a lot of different levels to finally find some peace and a sense of feeling "right" about it all. What coaching did offer was another resource to help me see things more clearly.

 'The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.' Ann Brashares #lifequotes

I also discovered that life coaching isn't something New Age-y, or woo-woo, rather, it's a tool that can be really useful when it comes to digging down to the nitty-gritty. As Ann Brashares says 'The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.' (the quote is also attributed to Captain Jack Sparrow - but it's still good advice!) And, I've found that the problem of what to do next wasn't really the problem, what lay underneath it all was my need to have the self-confidence to say "this is what I want to do, I've worked hard, and I deserve my time in the sun". So that's my take away from it all - learning to be more confident about what's best for me and then living it out.

A CHANGE OF MINDSET

Another little nugget that I took away from our conversations was that I'd been coming to the decision making process from a mindset of scarcity. I've always felt that we needed me to be bolstering the family income, that if I wasn't earning then we'd be in financial straits. I needed to turn that thought pattern around and focus in on where things actually stand now that we're in our 50's and have worked so hard for so long. We're not in our 20's getting established, or in our 30's with a young family, or in our 40's paying for teenagers, young adults, or weddings. We're in Midlife and settled and stable - we have enough.

Society will always tell me that I should want more. There are always going to be people I know who are living larger lives than me, but if I'm content with what I have and our income meets our needs, then I have an abundant life already - I don't need to earn more so I can spend more. Contentment and recognizing that life is really good have been major factors in deciding that I don't need to push myself to keep up or compete. As the Bible says "Godliness with contentment is great gain".

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you ever had life coaching? Did you find it helpful to work your way through life's labrynth? Perhaps if you're in a quandary, then someone like Anne might be the answer to your questions about what to do next. I love that there's so many resources out there that we can connect into online - who'd have thought a life coach in the UK would end up becoming my friend and such a useful asset in finding my way?

RELATED POSTS

Disclaimer: 
This post is not sponsored. I am not a medical professional and this post should not be taken as specific health advice. It’s a post that relates only to my own experience with life coaching, so please speak to your doctor or health professional if you need further guidance or advice.


I used to be sceptical of life coaches, but I've changed my opinion after spending a few sessions with one. We can always learn more about ourselves and our situation with the help of an objective observer. #midlife #lifecoaching
I used to be sceptical of life coaches, but I've changed my opinion after spending a few sessions with one. We can always learn more about ourselves and our situation with the help of an objective observer. #midlife #lifecoaching

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I used to be sceptical of life coaches, but I've changed my opinion after spending a few sessions with one. We can always learn more about ourselves and our situation with the help of an objective observer. #midlife #lifecoaching
I used to be sceptical of life coaches, but I've changed my opinion after spending a few sessions with one. We can always learn more about ourselves and our situation with the help of an objective observer. #midlife #lifecoaching
I used to be sceptical of life coaches, but I've changed my opinion after spending a few sessions with one. We can always learn more about ourselves and our situation with the help of an objective observer. #midlife #lifecoaching
I used to be sceptical of life coaches, but I've changed my opinion after spending a few sessions with one. We can always learn more about ourselves and our situation with the help of an objective observer. #midlife #lifecoaching

29 comments

  1. I had some coaching many years ago & the biggest lesson I got from it was the value of perspective & so what. I have to say though, since you finished work, while I always enjoyed your posts, I feel as though your voice has grown in leaps and bounds in the last months. It really feels like we're hearing *you* more than ever.

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    1. What a lovely thing to say - thanks so much Jo (I certainly appreciate your feedback from a writing point of view!) I do feel like I'm settling into myself more and feel freer to write what's on my heart, rather than just writing in general. I wonder where I'll head next???

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  2. Leanne, I love how you were able to utilize the questions/ideas Anne put in front of you and really drill down! I use my blogging buddies quite often as my own panel of life coaches. They encourage me to think about things. And books I read also encourage me to think. (Just finished Maureen Murdock's The Heroine's Journey - wow) Maybe because I am also a certified life coach myself that I "get it" - how to use someones objective ideas to better your own thinking. Or maybe because I'm an over-thinker? I just found that I'm not very enamored with the process of being a life coach for someone else.

    Your insight into the scarcity mindset is very intriguing! Does not fit my issue... mine is very much what I perceive others think. Notice I've stated to add in "what I perceive" ! That's my mindset shift beginning.

    But it is so nice to hear you are settling into this place in your life!

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    1. Worry about the opinion of others has always been a driving issue for me Pat - and one I'm really working on letting go. I think I've finally reached a point where what I want is more important to me than what I think others might judge about my decision making. It's very free-ing (and a bit scary) to march to the beat of my own drum, but I'm starting to get the hang of it and I won't be going back to trying to fit into a mold like I did before.
      I don't think I'd be a very good life coach - I'd be too busy trying to fix the other person, rather than allowing them to find their own path - but there is a lot to be said about being able to run my thoughts past someone who had no agenda at all - because then the outcome is fully in my court - another scary thought! Roll on the future!!

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    2. Revisiting with #MLSTL. Merely an FYI... I switched servers (Safari to Chrome) and now can comment more easily. But I still need to go look to see your response - I don't know how to be informed if you commented back. Ah well.....

      You get the challenge with being the life coach... wanting to fix and give advice versus just listening and asking the right questions! And I still worry about others opinions or even if I perceive it as a negative opinion/judgement about what I'm doing! ... I am trying not to, but this is a hard conditioned response to break. I'm glad to hear you've reached a turning point on this one!

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  3. Hi, Leanne - Once again there are so many great nuggets in this post. I completely support Jo's comments above. I also strongly agree with you that being coachable, reflecting and looking openly at what is in front of you, are the essential ingredients. I LOVE the Cptn. Jack Sparrow quote! :)

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    1. I loved the quote too Donna - probably because there is so much truth in it! And thank you for your kind words - this community of Midlife bloggers are food for my soul as I progress through all this uncharted water. xxx

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  4. That Mary Oliver quote is the tag line for my blog (and I use that Jack Sparrow one in a lot of posts too!) Needless to say, I like this post a lot! Ha! I think we bump about with the ebbs and flows unless we decide to direct ourselves....and if a coach is there to help you stay focused, then good. #MLSTL

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    1. I use the Mary Oliver quote a lot too Lydia - I think now I'm past the halfway mark in life I just want to make the best of every moment I have left. No more treading water and wasting time on stuff that doesn't make my soul happy.

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  5. Hi Leanne - I like both the Mary Oliver and Captain Jack Sparrow quotes. Good for you for allowing yourself to be open to new ideas and to be coached. I provided coaching and mentoring services before. Those who were willing to listen to new ideas became successful in what they were working on. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Natalie - I think the best thing for me was that Anne knew enough of my story to know she could help, but not enough to be overly involved in the outcome. It meant that she was able to be completely objective and I really appreciated that aspect of it all.

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  6. I've never had life coaching but often think I should. I think I'm too hard a case though! I'm so glad it has helped you to gain some clarity over what you really want and now you can set about creating your new life just how you'd like it. That's a wonderful thing! :-) xo

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    1. I'm always reluctant to bear my soul to strangers Min (not that you'd know it from my blogging!) I think being vulnerable is hard, but always so worthwhile in the end. I would never have thought about counseling or coaching - but I think both definitely have benefits that we can all tap into if we're open to the process.

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  7. Hi Leanne, I've always valued life coaching as a thoughtful and helpful way of moving through life's stages or problems and way back in 2000 I actually did some training to become a life coach, which I loved. During that training I helped some friends reach for goals they thought they couldn't attain, and make life decisions they knew they wanted to make but couldn't. A family member said at the time that they thought life coaching shouldn't interfere with what higher powers have in mind for us and I was a bit put off the whole thing too, and then - we moved Again! So my own mind was back to packing boxes, and finding schools, Drs and Dentists! But these days I really believe in life coaching as society has become so fragmented and so many people don't have big extended families to turn to for advice, or support networks that have been there since childhood. Disjointed lives, added to false expectations around careers, and ageing and consumerism and capitalism and what we really need to sustain us through life as fed to us through the all pervasive media channels can lead to some very mixed up thinking - which a life coach can and will give clarity to, unblocking channels to lead on to clearer thinking and ways forward. I think, in many respects you have life coached yourself through this stage, and emerged like a butterfly with a sound voice and a clear vision. #MLSTL and Shared

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    1. Thanks for your wise words (as always) Jo - and you're right about society and the media playing havoc with our thinking process. I also find that people who we know well, all come with their own agendas and although they mean well, can often point us in directions that may not be what we actually want to pursue.
      I think the biggest benefit for me was when Anne brought it back to being authentic to my own needs and to stop the second guessing and wondering what others might think/judge about my choices. I'm such a ditherer at times when it comes to trying to tick all the boxes and it was nice to step back and ask "what do I really want?"
      You'd have been a great life coach - as would the others who've dabbled in it - Midlife bloggers seem to have a lot of good advice for each other!

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  8. Hi, Leanne - I can't believe that it is your 81st Link Party already! Congratulations and a HUGE THANK YOU for all of the work that you do to make these Link Ups happen! Shared on my Social Media. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Donna - I can't believe it either! But it's been such a pleasant thing to do - and a great way of keeping in touch with so many of my fellow bloggers. I love that you all come with generous hearts and that we can encourage each other's journeys - you are one of our biggest cheerleaders and I soooo appreciate you for that (and so does Sue) xx

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  9. Hi Leanne I became a Certified Life Coach and Health Coach this year and in the process learned quite a bit about myself. I've been coaching a couple of clients and it is so rewarding to see them talk through their goals and then start achieving them. Sometimes you just need someone to listen and give you a different slant on things. Can't believe we are at 81 #MLSTL we are smashing it BBB. xx

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    1. Hi BBB - you amaze me with all the achievements you've knocked over in the last few years - life coaching, health, fitness, your Cert III etc etc. I feel like a bit of a slug in comparison, but who knows what the future holds. I think the objectivity that someone who doesn't know you brings to the table is the key - it helped me feel like I was making the decision and not being steered in a particular direction.

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  10. Hi Leanne, thanks for sharing your experience with a life coach. I agree that one of the keys to really learning from someone like a coach, or counselor, or in any life situation, is to be open and receptive to looking at yourself honestly and being open to change. That can become more difficult as we mature, but the results are so rewarding! #MLSTL

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    1. You're right about being open to change Candi - I'd been caught in the mindset that I'd always worked and should continue to do so, to be able to take a step back and look at what my heart was trying to tell me (instead of my ingrained assumptions) was a real bonus from my time with Anne.

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  11. Hi Leanne,

    I haven't had a life coach, but I have learnt a lot by reading and listening to inspirational stories. They have guided me to a solution when I have faced difficult situations.

    Such stories server as my coach, and I keep learning a lot from the experiences of people who have survived adversities and emerged successful.

    When we have a problem, we must be willing to open up and discuss with someone, may be family member or a friend. We will find new ways of moving forward in life, that are energizing, refreshing and satiating.

    I believe we must always be open to suggestions and be willing to learn.

    For me, sport is a great inspiration. There is a lesson in most of the games, be it cricket or football or tennis. The players battle odds and emerge victorious. We also learn that losing a match is not the end of world.

    Thanks for sharing this illuminating post.

    #MLSTL; I have shared the post on my social media.

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    1. Hi Pradeep - you're right about inspirational people and their stories being helpful. I've gained a lot of insight from some of those who share their journeys of recovery and that you can go through a trauma and emerge better and wiser. I think blogging my way through the last several months of adjustment has been a huge help for me - along with listening to advice from family and friends. The life coaching sessions helped me drill down a little bit deeper and were an interesting undertaking - much more helpful than I had expected.

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  12. Hi Leanne, I have hired a life coach and I believe I got my money's worth. Perhaps I could eventually have come to all the decisions and understandings on my own, but her questions helped my move forward. I believe it is perfectly acceptable and can be incredibly helpful. The skill of the coach also matters, as does finding a coach who is the right fit.

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    1. Hi Michele - I think you're right about eventually finding your own way, but it's definitely a bonus to have someone bring some thoughts into the mix that may not have initially come to mind. I know I was thinking about the past and the future and forgetting to dwell in the present and to just allow things to naturally evolve. Taking a breath and stepping back has been a godsend - and finding out that life doesn't stop just because I'm not doing the 9-5 is also a revelation!

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  13. Gah! I wrote a long comment and blogger said it was broken & to reload the page. Not going to try to get it back. You are doing a great job allowing yourself to actually retire...on your terms. Denyse #mlstl

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    1. Sorry you got bitten by the cyber bugs Denyse - I hate it when it happens to me too - usually when I forget to tick one of the many boxes that seem to be everywhere these days. And thanks for the compliment about how I'm going with navigating these new waters - I think I'm doing surprisingly well too (and working things out as I go along - which is quite exciting really).

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  14. Such a great recap of what coaching can do Leanne. Well done on accepting it and learning from the sessions with Anne. I’d also be a terrible life coach, wanting to fix people all the time 😊

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    1. I'd be awful too Deb - I'd want to talk too much and coaching has a huge listening component to it + that whole fixing people thing!

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