What coaching is, what coaching isn’t and what to expect.

woman with glasses getting online coaching

Written by Kelley Griffiths

Mindfulness-based health coach, in love with Yoga Nidra, movement, currently studying contemplative psychotherapy, currently living in Berlin, Germany.

February 28, 2021

Maybe you’re here because you had a (zoom) coffee chat with a friend who was telling you all this amazing progress she has been making on her “insert passion here” journey. You asked her how this all happened and she said “Oh I’ve started working with a coach. She’s INCREDIBLE. You should get one.” And, here we are…

When I tell people that I’m a health coach, they get the health part but aren’t so sure what coaching actually is. So, in this blog post, I will explain what coaching is, what it isn’t, what you can expect from the coaching experience, and also what to expect from Mind Body Bliss online coaching.

Coaching has been around for a long time, but it’s really having its moment right now. There are coaches for pretty much anything out there! For real, just google baby sleep coach,  (but not now).

Most people think of sports coaches if they don’t know any better. And yes, that is a coach, but who and what a coach can be is far more diverse than this one image we have. Let me explain.

What exactly is coaching?

So let’s start simple. The International Federation of Coaching says  that coaching is ”partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Sounds great right?

I really love this because it is a partnership, not a teacher-student relationship, and it’s ALL about the client’s potential. 

I also really like and take inspiration from the words of Curly Martin who suggested meeting people who ask what you do (if you’re a coach) with a question,

“Is there something in your life you’d like to change?”

BOOM! Because if the answer is yes, then I’m your womxn.

I see my coaching practice as working with the client, to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. It is a process, that we embark upon together. If you’re one of my clients, you get a lot of my attention! I am literally with you every step of the way. Through our work together you have the potential to maximise your progress in areas like health, business and self.

An effective coach doesn’t tell you what to do or claim to have the answers. In fact, the coach doesn’t have the answers, (or if they do, they don’t just hand them to you on a plate.) Coaching is about creating a framework and a process that allows the client to access what they already have inside of them. 

Coaches believe that the client has the answers, but that they just might not have access to them yet. You already have the answers! And if you don’t believe that, I am here to help you get to a place where not only do you believe it, but we will find them.

A big part of the process is also about trying to identify what is standing in the way of the client and their goals, and then systematically setting about to remove these barriers, or on a more subtle level, interference. I love this part. 

It’s not enough to know what you where you want to go, we also need to consider how you’re going to get there, in what vehicle, where’s the map, are you wearing the right clothes for the journey, and should we prep a packed lunch and flask of coffee for the journey?

Therefore, each coaching experience is different, as each person comes with a different set of dreams, desires, motivations, and barriers. It’s the coach’s job to facilitate and inspire, to help build awareness, draw out learnings, move the client towards insight, create an action plan and keep them accountable and reflective.

I get excited just talking about it. I LOVE helping my clients do this. The buzz we both get when a client gets on a call and says “Kelley, guess what, this week, I DID IT!” I can nearly cry sometimes. 

What to expect from the coaching experience.

I always tell my clients they can expect to get out exactly as much as they put in. The more motivated and determined they are, the more work they will do and the more process we can achieve together.

The only clients who are not successful are the ones who simply don’t or can’t commit to the process. If you don’t show up for calls, engage in the dialogue or do the work after the call. You will get very little from the process. What you put in, you get out.

You can expect it to be uncomfortable at times, there is no way around this. We will come up against fears, defenses, weaknesses, and obstacles that have held you back, and these are often, precisely the areas you need to work with, to move a client forward towards their goal.

For example, let’s say one of your goals, is to have better mobility and you want to be able to touch your toes. In this case, you will have to start doing stretching, strength, and mobility training, and working with a body under tension is uncomfortable. 

If you’re not willing to learn to work through this and sit with discomfort to achieve your goal, you will stay exactly where you are.

This doesn’t mean that you can expect the experience to be horrible and to just suffer through it. Far from it, in fact, most people find that once they start to confront things they have avoided, they learn that it’s not as bad as they thought. They also feel an immense sense of pride for having overcome it and feel more motivated to carry on and tackle the next thing.

What is Mind Body Bliss coaching like?

You can expect from my particular style of coaching an emphasis on cultivating mindfulness in our everyday life and developing self-compassion. 

I offer my clients guided and personalised meditations, audio and video training, and book recommendations. Everything we do is done from a place of loving-kindness and wanting the best for ourselves. We help you develop a movement practice so you’ll love being in your body and actually learn to enjoy exercise.

More generally, you can expect me to ask you lots of questions. To be there with you and listen, to dig deeper into a topic than you might normally go, and to keep going when you think a topic has been exhausted “And what else?”. Often we dig deep and there we find the gold.

You can also expect from Mind Body Bliss coaching the opportunity to develop skills that complement the goals you have set out to achieve. 

I believe that coaching is a powerful tool, but that sometimes the client also needs to upgrade their toolbox of skills to help them get to where they want to go more skillfully, successfully, and with more ease.

What coaching is not

Coaching is not hiring someone to tell you what to do. 

If you think the coach has the answers and will just give you an answer, you are wasting your time and money.

Coaching is not a knowledge acquisition process. 

Yes, you will learn, but it’s not like taking a course. The coaching process is very much defined by what you the client brings to the table and wants to achieve.

Coaching is not learning from an expert. 

In fact, the coach themselves might not be an expert in the field you are working in. Think about the Olympic gymnastics coaches, do you think they can do what the gymnasts do? No, most definitely not. But do they know how to get the best out of them and help them achieve their Olympic dreams?  Absolutely yes.

Is coaching the same as therapy?

Absolutely not. Coaching is not therapy. Some therapists also do coaching and some coaches are also therapists. This is not uncommon. I’ve met many coaches who have studied Psychology. 

The therapeutic process has its foundations in very different theoretical frameworks and principles and the level and type of training required are different. If you want therap, get a therapist, not a coach, it’s as simple as that. 

But you can have both, this is very common. Alot of my coaching clients are also in therapy.

I will write more about this in a separate blog post soon.

Who gets a coach?

People who get a coach are often people that:

  • Want to identify their goals
  • Want a plan to reach their goals
  • Want accountability
  • Want to make progress faster than they would alone
  • Feel like they can’t achieve their goals alone
  • Feel lost or stuck in a rut and need a new perspective
  • Feel overwhelmed with options and inputs
  • Have had a coach before and know how great it is.

Many times my clients say that they have tried everything and nothing has worked. They come because they realise they simply do not know how to achieve their goals on their own.

People come to coaching when their strategies have failed and they need a new perspective. Working with a coach can help you see a problem in a completely new light and in doing so give you access to a new ideas and answers.

Some people come to coaching because they have done it before and know how powerful it can be, or they are themselves a coach and again, they know how powerful it can be.

My clients have come from all walks of life. I’ve worked with management consultants, therapists, start-up founders, singers and musicians, creative directors, grinberg practitioners, artists, translators, entrepreneurs, and mothers. There is no one type. Read what they’ve said about the coaching

The unifying trait amongst them all was they had a dream and were willing to do the work to achieve it and needed help to get there.

How long does coaching last?

How long is a piece of string?

Some people have one coaching session and are good to go, whereas some people have ongoing coaching throughout their lives.

It’s not uncommon for people to have more coaching sessions, in the beginning, to get the momentum going and to really make headway, and then to scale back and do less as time goes on. But it depends on what the goal or goals are.

If you have a very precise goal you can maybe get what you need out of one session. If you have a whole area that needs to be worked on, say your health, then it can take much longer. 

I have a minimum 12 sessions policy for my work as we are usually working across a range of goals and my clients specifically want long-term, sustainable changes in their life and this takes more time. 

We also integrate skills-building and learning throughout the process.

But really, it’s up to you and what you want to achieve.

Where does coaching happen?

  • In-person
  • On the phone
  • Over the internet e.g zoom, skype, etc

Personally, I do all my coaching in person where possible and with zoom over video in all other cases. There was a time when we just did audio, but I found the work far more impactful when we could really see each other and have a deeper level of connection and communication.

Coaching is about empowering the client, but it’s also about creating a safe space and container for the work and the conversations. 

The client should feel safe and heard, and at home ‘held’ with compassion in what can be, at times, a vulnerable journey. And for that reason, I believe I being able to see each other, has a great impact.

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