You’ve decided to invest your time and money into improving yourself and your life situation. Do you need a life coach or a therapist?
Well, as with most things, it depends. It depends on a lot of factors. We all need a little help sometimes. And it’s important to choose the right kind of help for your specific issues and what you’re hoping to get out of it.
So here’s what you need to know before reaching out.
What is Life Coaching?
I get this question a lot from people who are curious about life coaching or working with me, and they’ve never worked with a life coach. They usually know about therapy from personal experience, from friends or family going to therapy, or from seeing it in movies or TV shows (remember Frazier or even the Sopranos).
Life Coaching can be therapeutic, but the two professions are very different. I like to describe life coaching as a partnership with the life coach asking insightful questions that clients wouldn’t ask themselves, so that aligned and helpful answers can come to light. I believe you know yourself best, you just need a little help in the form of coaching questions and other support to experience that clarity or a-ha moment where things begin to make sense and can begin to change.
Life coaches also help you evaluate your current situation so you can get crystal clear on your true desires and goals. They encourage your progress, and provide you with accountability, support, structure and tools so you can produce your desired results more quickly and efficiently.
How is Life Coaching Different from Therapy?
The Core Difference
Most therapy involves a diagnosis of some mental or psychological disorder – a problem that needs to be treated because it’s disrupting one or more areas of your life. Life coaching typically takes someone who is already functioning well, but may still be suffering, and helps them to develop and grow to the next level.
When my Mom died expectedly I found a therapist to help me with that tremendous loss. I continued to function at work well, but my personal life was disrupted by my grief and sorrow; I didn’t think I would ever get past it. I needed support to work through the depressing thoughts and to function in this new world without my Mom. Therapy was the best choice for me at that time.
Past, Present, Future
Another difference is that therapy typically goes into depth about various issues, usually dealing with the past so that you can function better. And life coaching focuses primarily on the present and future and is more action-oriented and results-driven.
Types and Specialties
There are various types of therapy, like talk therapy, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy. There are also specialties within life coaching based on the coach’s skillset, training and experience.
In my life coaching business, I work with hard-working professionals dealing with a lot of stress and pressure (like me when I worked in my corporate HR job). I combine life coaching tools, like what I call thought-healing (or what others call mindset or mindfulness), and I combine it with my specialty, energy work, that is very effective at getting to the oftentimes hidden, or subconscious, root cause of what’s preventing you from achieving your goals. We meet weekly or biweekly for consistency and momentum, and before long goals like reducing stress, feeling better, improving relationships, or having more fun in life are achieved.
Lastly, sessions with a life coach will feel a lot different than ones with a therapist. Life coaching provides structure and accountability while therapy is more open-ended.
In my coaching sessions, I combine inner (energy) work and outer work – but there’s an underlying structure tied to the client’s prioritized goals. This structure helps us celebrate successes and progress, and discuss challenges or unhelpful blocks slowing down progress. And in each session there’s always homework for the client to accomplish between sessions.
So, Which One Is Best For You?
Do you need a life coach or a therapist? Actually, you don’t have to choose, if you need both. I have life coaching clients who are also actively in therapy, that’s perfectly fine. I’ve also had clients who I referred to other professionals, including therapists, for more specialized support.
The most important message here is to get help. I’m a big proponent of getting help rather than suffering alone. Especially in the challenging times we’re living in, life can be hard.
Some of us grew up being taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness and have a hard time with it, but you must push past that limiting belief for your health and wellbeing. It’s that important!
Over the years, I have had a hard time seeking out help, but I’ve come to learn and now know that most people love to help other people. It’s unhealthy to suffer for long periods of time, thinking whatever you’re grappling with will get better on its own; it usually won’t. There are resources out there for you, you just have to find the best one for your specific needs.
If you’re not spending time investing in your mental and emotional health, with a life coach or a therapist, you will not only continue to feel terrible but you’re blocking your ability to be the best version of yourself, in your personal life, your relationships and in your career.
Do you have any questions about life coaching not answered above? Drop them in a comment below.
Consistent and intentional daily practices, in particular morning routines, are one of the best tools to connect to achieving success in your life, professionally and personally.
Mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. That’s why many successful people have an intentional routine where they take care of their top priorities before the demands from work and others begins.
Why You Need a Morning Routine
We’ve probably all been there at one point in our lives where things felt out of control – think back when you were in your twenties. You overslept, and you’re running around getting ready quickly so you’re not late for work again. You finally do get to work, late and stressed, and the chaos of the workday begins. Not a great beginning to a productive, fun workday.
Contrast that to getting up early, maybe meditating or getting in some exercise, and filling up with positive energy and inspiration. You’ll start the day feeling accomplished, at ease, and ready for anything that your workday may have in store.
Having a pattern of starting the day off in that hectic, frazzled way leads to progressively worse things. Things that can cause pain, injury, hurt feelings, or financial loss.
I’ve seen it all in my HR career and with my current coaching clients, things like strange accidents (slipping on ice and injuring yourself), speeding tickets, car accidents, being short-tempered with people, productivity issues, inability to concentrate and get tasks done, frequently getting sick, and a general lack of energy.
The Benefits of a Morning Routine
An intentional morning routine provides a sense of control, and sets you up to have a productive day. A morning routine makes the most of your time and your busy schedule.
And, as this morning routine becomes a habit, it frees up space in your mind to focus on other things and strive for bigger aspirations.
It helps change your mindset, training your brain to approach the day in a more focused and productive frame of mind.
In addition to optimizing your time, a morning routine like the one I’m outlining below contains three distinct areas to support (1) your mental and emotional health, (2) your physical wellbeing, and (3) your spiritual side, the bigger picture as I like to call it, your soul’s wellbeing. It’s the complete package!
My Connect to Success Morning Routine Tool (Get it below)
I created this morning routine after years of practicing and studying this topic. It needed to be fun, effective in its use of time and the results it brings, and easy enough that people could follow it and make adjustments to ensure they stayed consistent.
This is a complete, intentional way to set up your day for success. When you commit to it and stay consistent, you’ll see the improvements you’re striving for, and unexpected ones too.
The Connect to Success Morning Routine consists of purposeful activities that can be done in minutes, in fact, it’s best to start off slow and build up to a longer routine. Most people enjoy the process, and the positive changes they’re getting, and begin going to bed and waking earlier, so they can expand their morning routine to 20 to 30 minutes or longer.
It’s important to stay balanced and spend time doing activities in each of the 3 areas. Activities include decluttering your mind, visualization and affirmations to stay on track with your goals and priorities, reading inspirational books, finding peace and calmness with prayer or meditation, and being sure to move your body.
This isn’t a big time commitment. In fact, if you aren’t doing anything in the mornings now, except showering, brushing your teeth, getting dressed and heading to the office – you owe it to yourself to try this out for 21 days.
And you’ll find the more consistent you are, sticking to it every day, the better the results over the long term. Make it a habit, just like brushing your teeth.
I urge you to create a morning routine that works for you. Make sure it’s comprised of each of the three areas I mentioned above, and challenge yourself to make it a non-negotiable habit you’ll practice every day for the next 21 days.
Evaluate Your Progress and Make Adjustments
Get my Connect to Success Morning Routine Guide & Checklist below that you can use every day.
At the end of 21 days, evaluate your morning routine for its effectiveness and adjust as necessary. Ask yourself:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What parts of this morning routine do I really enjoy?
- Do I feel more energized and focused throughout the day?
- Am I more aligned with what my priorities are?
- Are my loved ones or work colleagues noticing a positive difference in me?
- What could I add or remove from this morning routine for even better results?
Make any changes to your routine, and keep up the good work.
One of my clients felt calmer and less anxious after only 1 week, and decided to adjust her morning routine from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. She especially enjoyed the peace and quiet and the spiritual part of it – she would read passages from the bible. She credits her new morning routine with feeling less frustration and more enjoyment in her high-stress work life.
Whatever your goals, a morning routine can help you connect to your priorities, optimize your life and keep you on track to reach your highest goals and dreams.
By decreasing stress and fatigue and helping you focus on the task at hand, morning routines can make a significant positive impact on your day-to-day life and your long-term aspirations.
Here we are just out of January, and as a coach I’m always curious about people’s New Year’s resolutions, goals or intentions (whatever you like to call them), and how well it’s going for them so far.
Look online and you’ll find a variety of studies claiming that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, that 92% of people don’t achieve their New Year’s goals, or that by mid-January 31% of people have abandoned their goals. Those are some discouraging numbers.
I sincerely hope you’re on track with your goals, and if not, please know you are not alone and that there are steps you can take to do something about it now.
If you’re not on track anymore, instead of giving up entirely – take some time today to refocus and pivot to get back on track.
Here’s what I suggest you do. Look at those goals that you’re having trouble with and dig a little deeper into each with the following questions.
Get quiet, with no distractions – put your phone in the other room or turn it off – take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself these questions. It works best if you write down your answers, and any other thoughts and notes while doing this.
1. Is this goal something I really want to achieve this year? Have I taken responsibility for my goal? Or is someone telling me I “should” do it?
I hear this a lot, “My wife said I need to eat better so I’m cutting all sugar, flour and dairy from my diet” or “My doctor told me I need to exercise to help with my stress”.
Taking responsibility means you own it, not your spouse or doctor or someone else. This is your life, your goal, you’re the lead actor in this movie, so take charge and rewrite your goal: “I’m going to reduce my stress levels this year by exercising 3 times a week and taking a stress-reducing class (stretching/meditation/yoga/breathing) on Saturday mornings.” That little shift in stepping up and taking responsibility is very powerful. Can you feel the difference when you read this new goal? Rewrite your goals so you’re responsible and in charge, not the passive bystander or victim.
2. Why do I want to achieve this goal? This ties in with the question above. This is YOUR goal, and you need a strong reason for it.
The reason behind your goal is the most important thing that will motivate you to keep going, when temptations seem to be everywhere or you start bargaining with yourself, saying “I’ll just do it tomorrow” – sound familiar?
It’s especially true this time of year, when on a cold, dark winter morning you convince yourself that it’s more comfortable to stay in your warm cozy bed for another 30 minutes, rather than getting up for your planned morning meditation, journaling and treadmill walk, before going to work.
So you must get clear about your reason why.
Think about your goal, and keep asking why until you get to the real reason for wanting to achieve it. The BIG WHY. You may a few big reasons, write them all down and stay focused on them. Keep that list near to remind yourself of it every day or throughout the day during on challenging times.
3. What obstacles am I facing or what challenges may come up to derail me from my goal?
There are always going to be obstacles in life, so you may as well plan and be ready for them. This is a proactive and strategic way to anticipate challenges and determine how best to act when they happen.
I’d like you to write all the potential challenges down and for each of them create an action you’ll take instead, so that you stay on track with achieving your goal.
For example, commit to going to bed an hour earlier each night so that you wake up for your new morning routine, well rested and ready to go, and less likely to hit the snooze button because you’ve only slept 5 or 6 hours and you’re exhausted.
Or, if you know you have a birthday party Friday night where there’s going to be all sorts of unhealthy food and of course, cake, but your goal is to eat healthier this year, you could plan to eat an avocado before you go so you’re full and less tempted by the nachos and warm cheese dip.
4. Is my goal unrealistic?
Adjust your goal so it’s more realistic and achievable. If you’re a the typical couch potato in the evenings and on most weekends, and your Monday through Friday is sitting in front of a computer for most of the work day, you probably shouldn’t have a goal to work out 5 days a week for 90 minutes, starting tomorrow. Is that realistic? Nope. You’ll be so sore after day 1 that you’ll never go back to that gym – ever.
5. Can I modify my goal to make it more attainable?
Definitely modify goals that are unrealistic, but I’d like you to take a look at all your goals and see if they could be adjusted. In the case above, start off slow with walking for 20 minutes a couple of times per week, and build from there.
Or maybe you’re a business owner or salesperson and you have a specific revenue target this year. Think about possibly reducing that yearly number by 5% – 25%, or even by half, and then back into what your monthly targets are now. Does it feel more attainable? Do you feel less pressure and stress about it?
Sometimes people make their goals too big which becomes discouraging, causing them to give up entirely. By making a few slight adjustments they could feel better about it, gain momentum, and stay on track.
You can modify your goal by reducing the end goal (from $100K/yr in sales to $80K/yr) or by pushing out the timeline to achieve it (from ‘lose 20 pounds by 2/28’ to ‘by our planned vacation starting 6/1’). Warning: this is not an opportunity to slack off – be sure to stay focused and monitor your progress weekly.
6. Do I need more support or dedicated help?
If you made adjustments and followed through on the suggestions above but you’re still struggling, get additional support. Find a buddy to work out with, have an accountability partner for your business goals, or ask someone to mentor you at work to help with your career goals.
If you are really serious and ready for change, hire a professional coach. I say this not because I am one, but because of my personal experience and the feedback I get from my clients.
In the past I’ve hired coaches and not hired coaches for specific goals or life challenges, and when I work with my professional coach I see better results, faster results and get insights and a new perspective I couldn’t have come up with on my own.
Click here to learn more about working with me as your professional coach.