What is Life Coaching? Simply, life coaching is about personal growth and having a better life. The International Coach Federation identifies coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential." While life coaching is a creative process, Ashley adds structure and, in collaboration with the client, determines a trajectory. Additionally, Ashley takes an empirical and outcome-focused approach to the process. Look at the bottom of this page for a list of areas that are typically a focus of life coaching.
The Process After an initial phone call or meeting to determine if Ashley is a match for you, individual life coaching begins with defining the nature of the coaching relationship and the tasks of the process. The next step is to explore what you want from life coaching in order to clarify goals. Gathering relevant information follows, which helps to break down goals and determine a plan for what to focus on targeting first. Strategies for progress towards goals are specific and concrete as well as insight-oriented. Homework is used to help generalize identified strategies or skills developed from sessions into everyday life. After goals are met, the next step is to maintain the progress and troubleshoot challenges that arise. Generally, before ending coaching, sessions might change from once a week or biweekly to once a month.
Is Life Coaching Therapy? Therapy is different from coaching in that therapy is specifically meant to address mental illness and complicated psychological processes that interfere with functioning or cause distress. You will find some people who differentiate therapy from coaching by identifying that therapy focuses on the past, whereas coaching focuses on the present and future. This is not accurate: there are many paradigms of therapy that are present and future-focused (cognitive therapy, narrative therapy, solution-focused therapy). While coaching is less likely to delve into the deep past than therapy, where you are right now is in part because of what you've learned and the habits you've developed. You learned and developed them in your past! The vast majority of coaching will focus temporally on the present and future. However, this is not what distinguishes coaching from therapy. Ashley welcomes anyone who is seeing a therapist, but the life coaching work will focus on items other than the mechanisms related to recovery from mental illness, symptom management, or the primary reason therapy is sought. Therapy is a highly regulated activity with special safeguards to ensure the population's safety, particularly due to the nature of the work. Therefore, Ashley does not serve as a life coach to someone without a therapist who is best served by a therapist.