What is Life Coaching? Life Coaching is a process designed to help you live your best life: to help you find ways to live your life with less stress and with more joy.
How is Martha Beck Life Coaching Different? Life Coaching is a fairly new profession. All Life Coaching is designed to help you get to a place where your life has more of what you want and need in it. Some Life Coaching programs are oriented towards helping you “buckle down” and arrange more control of your life. In some ways, Martha Beck Coaching is almost the opposite: Martha Beck Coaches start by helping you identify where your thoughts and beliefs are limiting the possibilities of what you can do in your life, and where these thoughts limit you or bring you pain. We then help you to address and to ease those thoughts (Yes: this can be done, and it isn’t even that hard!). We then help you to imagine futures that you can’t imagine yet, and to take steps to bring those futures into reality.
How is Life Coaching different than therapy? In the early stages, Coaching shares some theory and techniques with therapy, especially more modern therapies that include awareness of body sensations (such as Peter Levine‘s work, and Pat Ogden‘s Sensiomotor Psychotherapy). But therapists are trained to take people with functional problems, and to return them to functionality. Life Coaches take people who are doing reasonably well, and help them find their way to doing great. In this sense, therapists are like doctors: making sick people well. Coaches are more like other personal trainers: taking well people and helping them feel and perform even better.
You can’t possibly know what I need to do in my profession, my family, my relationships, or my life. How can you help? Life coaches are trained to ask questions, and to listen for certain kinds of things in the responses. We then have a very large toolkit for helping you address those concerns. Part of this philosophy is that Martha Beck Coaches “Live it to give it”: we continually apply these techniques to ourselves and to each other as coaches, so we are experienced with the tools both as the coach and a client receiving coaching.
But I don’t live anywhere near your city! Most coaching is done over the phone (or skype). This actually works amazingly well. If you’ve ever had an hour-long intent phone conversation with a good friend, it is rather like that. And there aren’t any parking problems or commute time!
Are Matha Beck Coaches all the same? No! Martha Beck coaches come to this profession from a wide variety of backgrounds, and are encouraged to incorporate other techniques and knowledge into their practices, though we are all trained in a core set of techniques. Martha’s Life Coach Training Program has graduated over 2,500 coaches, with many different specialties and styles. You can search for Martha Beck graduates here.
How Long does Coaching Take? It is not uncommon for people working with a Coach to notice significant changes in how they perceive and feel about things that have bothered them within a very few sessions. Deeper and more extensive work can take longer. If you end up changing major things about your life (professions, jobs, relationships), those processes can take much longer, and you may benefit from some intensive periods of coaching, and/or from periodic check-ins.
So Who is this Martha Beck Anyway? Martha Beck has three degrees from Harvard, but she found she had more fun talking to people about how to improve their lives than in academic teaching. She has written 4 books on creating your best life (See Resources) as well as two other New York Times bestsellers. Oprah is a big fan of Martha, and has called her “one of the smartest women I’ve ever met”. Martha has also written many columns for Oprah’s “O Magazine”; she is a hysterically funny, warm, and wise writer. You can read many of those columns, arranged by subject, on Martha’s website. Here is a link to a NYT article on one of Martha’s seminars.