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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
Personal growth coaching is really just another name for life coaching because it gives the client the self awareness and the skills they need to increase their confidence, communication skills and assertiveness in all areas of their life both personal and professional.
I actually believe that ALL genuine coaching is basically self improvement and personal development or life coaching. The principles of life coaching can be applied to many niches as you will read later. In any coaching situation from coaching small business owners to career or executive coaching, there will be times when those specific skills are needed.
SPECIFIC is the key word here. Personal growth coaching is a specific skill unlike any other form of coaching such as sports or fitness. It involves, listening, questioning, guiding and leading - not advising or instructing. To be an authentic personal growth coach or life coach you need to be properly trained in those skills. Then you understand and deliver them in the most beneficial way for your clients.
If you are looking for a life coach training, check out the related pages at the end of this page.
You will be helping the client with their personal development as part of whatever goals they have set (even if they don't realise it).
For instance the client who comes to you for help growing their career may also need coaching on improving confidence, communication skills and business relationships. And the business man who wants to grow his business may share that he has family and work balance challenges to address.
You may find yourself coaching clients on the need to give feedback effectively or to be able to say NO fearlessly and elegantly and without giving offence. You are helping clients to know themselves better and come from a place of choice rather than reactivity or habit when making decisions or in a certain situation.
Whatever professional, career or business issues are presented to you by the client, you may find the "elephant in the corner", the real issue that needs addressing, turns out to be something personal that the client may not even be consciously aware of or simply doesn't want to, or can't easily confront.
I have rarely had a client in a business or career environment, where personal issues have not emerged as an important issue to be addressed.
I found that using a profile tool as part of the personal growth process can be really useful. It helps the client become more aware of themselves and helps you as a coach know how best to coach each client for maximum compatibility and results.
Some will need a lot of structure, others will like informality and it's up to you as the coach to adapt to what the client needs without imposing your own profile on them.
There are loads of profiling tools you can research such as DISC, Myers Brigg, Kolbe and LCA - it's a matter of finding one that resonates with you as a productive coaching aid.
To help the client with their self-awareness you improve their life skills you might include processes to help them determine their NEEDS - that is what drives their behaviour - and their VALUES - the things that are really important to them.
Identifying and healthily handling the needs that drive us is an amazing process I learned in my CoachU training. It was developed by the founder of life coaching as a profession, Thomas Leonard, and is included in his amazing book The Portable Coach
From what your clients reveal about their Needs you can examine those things they do that work for them and discuss those that don't work and what behaviour patterns may be obstacles to their success at home and at work.
And with your support they will try out the challenges of dropping old behaviours that do not serve them and embrace new ways of operating where their needs are met in a better way.
As a personal growth coach you may find clients wanting help to define their life purpose. As their coachYou will guide them through identifying this life purpose and making sure their goals are in alignment with this purpose and not pulling against it.
I have to say though I think too many coaches and clients get hung up on the importance of finding a driving life purpose. Sometimes an impressive purpose is just not there and the client needs to know that this is OK. They have not failed or are less than someone who can easily identify a "save the world" life purpose.
For those clients it can be something as simple as being the best they can at whatever they choose to do.
It took me years to realise that my life purpose was simply "simplify and educate".
In my book Mastering the Art of Goals Coaching I share a simple process for helping clients identify that hidden life purpose.
A thing to always bear in mind if your niche is personal growth coaching, or any coaching for that matter, is that it is not therapy. As a life coach you are not qualified to get into deep issues or traumas that really need therapy unless you also have the relevant qualifications.
You must be willing to pass on, to a suitable therapist, any client whose needs you feel are beyond your skills or you could do damage to the client and your reputation as a coach. Forming alliances with therapists such as psychologists and where you can cross refer clients is an excellent idea.
Being a life coach specialising in solving personal issues can open the door to a huge number of niches and the one you chose will ideally depend on your background, life experiences and existing qualifications.
Here are just some of those life coaching niches - the possibilities are almost endless
In summary I would again stress that all genuine coaching is basically life or personal growth coaching. Through careful questioning you lead the client from where they are to where they want to be, combing as appropriate, with mentoring and consulting.