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Do I need Life Coaching?

All you need to know about life coaching and why it can make a difference in your life.
Stefania Montagna

Stefania Montagna

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What is life coaching?

Simply put, life coaching is the practice of supporting another to be their best self.

But how can one do that?

As Atul Gawande wrote in the New Yorker back in 2011, the concept of a coach is a slippery one—because whether focusing on life, sports, or business goals, coaches are not teachers, and yet they teach. They are not authorities, and yet, they demand authority and commitment. And— perhaps that’s the main idiosyncrasy—for a coach to be great, they don’t even have to be good at the skill they’re coaching. Even though, when it comes to life coaching, I’d argue that really helps.

A coach then supports her coachees to gain awareness, skill, and confidence in a specific area (Work, relationships, fitness) by observing and guiding them.

Because of that,a good coach might feel like a friend (As in, offering an attentive ear), an adviser (Someone that can provide a sense of “what next?”), and an accountability partner all in one.

By asking the right (tough) questions, she’ll help you identify your goals, and when you’re not being honest with yourself, she’ll gently let you know.

I once had a career coach who, after months of me trying to hide the fact that I hated my job, told me, “This is the third month in a row I hear you speak of motivation issues… might you be done with this job? I was. And I also would have paid for the earth to swallow me then, but it was well worth hearing it from someone else’s mouth.)

A great coach is also able to offer perspective. For example, in my coaching framework, I leverage Biodynamic dialogue: a framework that allows my coachees to hear what they themselves are saying without being aware of it.

The benefits of life coaching

How much life coaching will benefit you depends on your goals and your commitment.

There seems to be a misconception out there that coaching is something that another person will do for you. It is not. The work is up to you. A coach is there to help you identify limiting beliefs and strategies that might have become obsolete while helping you adopt new habits, processes, and goals that might serve you better at this particular stage in your life.

However, you’re the one that has to step outside of your comfort zone and own your beliefs, processes, and mindset. 

As long as you do so, here are some of the benefits life coaching might bring to your life:

  • Gaining more awareness of your frame of reference, beliefs, and biases;
  • Gaining tools and approaches to act (Instead of re-act) vis-à-vis triggering situations;
  • Gain clarity over your vision for your future, what matters to you, and where you might or might not be willing to compromise;
  • Developing coherence between what you believe and do and learning to communicate more effectively;
  • Identifying your goals and priorities, establish metrics for your success and separate between yours and other people’s preferences, expectations, and ideas of you and for you;
  • Achieving the goals you set for yourself, both in life and work (Ex. lose weight or get a promotion)
  • Improving your work/life balance and outlook on life;
  • Deepening intimacy with yourself and others.
 

How does a life coaching session look like?

Life coaching is based on a structured format.

A coaching cycle, and therefore a session, will start by identifying the goals that you, as the coachee, feel are most relevant right now.

To identify such goals, a coach will ask you questions such as:

  • What feels most urgent or pressing right now?
  • What has come up for you this week? Why? What does it mean for you?
  • What are some of the energies that are driving you in the depths?
  • Why is this goal so essential for you to?

Based on your answers, the coach will ask you questions that prompt you to go deeper and explore topics that are coming up. These might include:

  • Limiting or negative beliefs: for example, a specific framework of what is right and wrong or of “how things should be”; 
  • An issue with boundaries: for instance, a feeling that you can’t say “no”— whether to your spouse, friend, or colleague—might point to a lack of well-defined boundaries in your relationships and possibly to repressed feelings of resentment arising from such lack) 
  • communication issue: a truth or feeling is being repressed or not being communicated clearly.

Towards the end of the session, the focus will turn to drafting a plan of action, inclusive of clear goals and established success standards to monitor your progress going forward.

At the end of the session and at the end of each cycle, the coach will help you capture critical learnings to ensure that they can become seeds of growth. 

Is Life Coaching for you?

Since the pandemic, life coaching has exploded. Few situations can make the need for outer guidance and perspective so urgent as a monumental societal change.

And yet, the truth is, we’re constantly in the process of change. Life itself is change, and that’s one reason why coaching can be so empowering. 

A coach is there to help you make the transition between the “You” of today and the “You” of tomorrow, encouraging and empowering you to lean into your future self—however scary that might feel. As long as you’re willing and ready to take responsibility for that future self, you’ll benefit from coaching. 

Having said that, here are a few symptoms that show that The Crowned Mountain coaching might be helpful for you:

  • You feel stuck in a life that doesn’t feel like “you”;
  • You know that there’s something else you should be doing, you know you don’t feel motivated, and yet you don’t know how to get started or even what it is that you would like/want;
  • You often experience resentment towards others (Or life), you have a feeling things are mostly not going as they should;
  • You’re stuck in self-destructive habits like overeating or procrastination;
  • You feel envious of others for going after what they want;
  • You talk to yourself in ways you would never speak to anyone else, not even your worst enemy;
  • You suffer from fear of failure or judgment of others, and that is keeping you from reaching your goals;
  • You’re undergoing a big life decision or change of circumstance—for example, a career change, a break-up, a big move—and you need to reassess your goals and priorities in this new environment.
 
 

How is the Crowned Mountain different from other forms and styles of coaching?

One of the key differences between therapy and coaching is that therapy is often past-oriented, whereas coaching is future-oriented. Therefore, most forms of coaching work with the client as though starting from a blank canvas, looking at what’s here and where we are going.

With The Crowned Mountain approach, however, I go beyond strategy, mentoring, and a results-orientation by digging—when needed—into the origins of your limiting beliefs and helping you to own your story and reframe it.

Even though, in fact, it helps to develop great habits, know your tendency in terms of accountability and motivation, and set clear action items for each day, as long as there’s that nagging feeling from years ago telling you that “you can’t,” it’s going to be challenging to bring about real change.

That’s why with The Crowned Mountain, I seek to support you as you look at the emotional meaning of the goals you’re trying to pursue and as you pay attention to the language that you use when you’re falling trap again of a familiar thought pattern. My approach is built on various embodied practices, such as mindfulness, journaling, art therapy, and movement.

Armed with a deeper awareness of both the mind and the body, we’ll work together to help you push your limits, reach your goals, and change the framework through which you interact with the world, starting with the story you tell yourself.

Things life coaching will not help you achieve

Life coaching can be truly transformational. However, it’s not a panacea to solve all of your problems, and never should it be understood as a shortcut.


Here are a few examples of cases where life coaching might not work:

You're in a rush to get results

I remember one colleague commenting years ago that long-haul flights weren’t worth it. She’d obviously not been to the same places as I had been.

Long-haul flights brought me to the US, for a high school student exchange that challenged me in ways I hadn’t expected, and to Venezuela, for a crucial 2-month-period when I had to accept that sometimes, a place rife with death can make you feel strangely alive—even if suddenly all you’re doing is watching the news and dancing salsa as you mop the floor.

Long-haul flights, for me, have always been a precursor of change.
But we all know that long-haul flights can be deeply uncomfortable. The seat is not quite as soft and never leans quite as far back as you’d like it to. The smell coming from the food being served might be appealing right before you get your tray, but it becomes a nuisance soon after.

Coaching is a bit like a long-haul flight. A process that sees you abandon a familiar place for something you might have been dreaming of for a while but won’t come without the uncomfortable chair and restricting space.

In that transformation, you might feel like the process will never end and you’re never going to get there. And guess what? If you’re unwilling to sit still and endure the flight, maybe you never will.

Make sure you’re in it for the journey before you embark.

You want to change the world around you. But not yourself.

Sometimes we think everything that goes wrong in our life depends on our circumstances. And those just aren’t right. Maybe we feel we’re not getting the chances we deserve. Life is unfair, we think.


In your case, it might be that your business isn’t quite taking off the ground, and you believe it’s because you’re not finding the “right” employee. Or else you might be struggling to find a significant other because “all of the good men are already taken.”


If this is you, maybe coaching won’t work.


Through coaching, you’ll be challenged to change. You, not everything outside of you.

You've struggling with a mental health condition

A life coach can be a real resource for you, but, unlike a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist, s/he is not prepared to deal properly with mental issues such as severe anxiety and depression.


If you’re struggling with a mental health issue and start a coaching process with me, I’ll ask that you see a certified mental health provider.

You're not willing to be honest with yourself

This is going to be the first tenet of our work.

In order to change through coaching, you have to be willing to tell yourself the truth.

Whether that means being open about a negative and self-limiting belief or about a fear that comes up in the context of a goal you’re looking to achieve, being honest is crucial in order to make progress—and it will make you a better person, a better leader and a source of inspiration for others around you.

Are you ready to be challenged and embrace your best self?

Reach out for a first consultation by booking a discovery call here.

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