Life coaching is a singularly American concept. It may well work for Brad and Angelina in California, but will it work for Bradley and Angela in Cefn Mawr? And is it worth the quite considerable costs involved?
Though coaching, albeit under a different name has been around for thousands of years, modern coaching is a new phenomenon. It really started in the States in the 1980s and as we all know, what happens over there, always ends up over here.
For those of you who can cast their minds back as far as the 1950s (and sadly I have to include myself here) the concept of ‘me time’ did not even exist. In fact spending time on yourself was thought to be rather reprehensible, or at the very least self-indulgent.
Yet nowadays everyone who is anyone, from athletes to boardroom wannabes has a personal trainer, a business coach or a career mentor. That has become the norm. But what about coaching to live more successfully? Surely living just happens. Can life coaching really help make day to day life less of a daily grind and more of a daily gratification? And is it for ordinary people; people like you and me?
Well, as the director of Stillmuchtooffer, a company devoted to personal development for more mature people, I firmly believe that not only does it help; it is actually essential to achieving what you want, in both work and play. And though useful for all, young and less young, I think it is of crucial importance for those of us in the prime of life. For it is in middle age that we often have to face up to change and nowhere more so than at work.
Our working lives have changed beyond all recognition. A ‘career for life’ is no longer a certainty; typically people change careers at least three times in their working lifetime. Employees work ever longer hours to achieve ever greater results. The looming possibility of losing our jobs is a constant threat. So we live our lives in a state of anxiety-ridden chaos, perpetually chasing our tails, constantly exhausted. Work-life balance becomes an ever- receding impossibility. And then just when we thought that our workhorse approach had brought us some stability, along comes a re-structure or redundancy and cuts the ground from under our feet.
It is at just such a time when life coaching really comes into its own. If the worst scenario happens then it is time to take both a literal and a metaphorical deep breath. Provide yourself with a still space, time to reflect. With the best will in the world, husbands, children, friends do not always have the time or the patience to help. Additionally they are too involved, too subjective. Investing in a trained, personal coach who will listen, devote time solely to you, recognise your inner resources and skills, plans and set goals with you and helps you reach those goals within a realistic time frame is not a self-indulgent luxury; it is an essential part of moving forward to grasp the opportunities that are still out there.
I believe strongly that the best investment is the one that we make in ourselves. Only that way will we make the choices that will lead to an ultimately satisfying life.