Optimise Your Life Coaching Practice by Moving Past These 3 Misconceptions

Some life coaches believe certain assumptions that are actually misconceptions in the industry. Don’t be like them – these misconceptions often hamper their professional growth.

 

The reality is that these are misconceptions that people have about different professions.

Many people believe that most doctors are rich and live an affluent lifestyle…

That most lawyers are sleazy individuals….

And that life coaches are the same as therapists, counsellors, or psychiatrists. 

Now, in some instances, such misconceptions could be true. 

But in most cases?

They’re false. 

Unfortunately, it’s not only the general public who has misconceptions about certain professions. Professionals themselves even have misconceptions about their own professions. 

Take the case of life coaches. 

Some of them equate their profession to that of psychologists, psychiatrists, or counsellors. Wrong advice often circulates in the community as a result. And adopting those pieces of advice becomes easy because they seem to make sense and appear logical. 

That’s a huge mistake.

And when you imbibe and believe those misconceptions, they make you become inefficient as a life coach.

This article will uncover the three most common misconceptions that life coaches have about life coaching. By avoiding them, you’ll get better results with your clients and build a stronger life coaching business.

The 3 Misconceptions

Misconception #1 – Fixing What is Wrong Automatically Leads to Well-being 

Life coaches often think that fixing their client’s problems will automatically make their clients feel better. But this is not true – the reality is that it’s a misconception. 

Why? 

Well, it’s because happiness and unhappiness don’t belong on the same continuum. 

Think about it this way:

Getting rid of anger, fear and depression don’t automatically lead to peace, love or joy. 

In a similar way, strategies that reduce negative emotions are not identical to the strategies that bring and maximise peace and joy and meaning in someone’s life. In fact, they’re even the opposite in some cases.

What’s more, a lot of research now suggests that health is not the absence of illness or something negative. Instead, it’s the presence of something positive. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) corroborates this in their definition of mental health. According to them, mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realises their abilities. They can cope with the normal stresses of life and work productively and fruitfully. Also, they can contribute to their community.

So, when people go to see most health professionals, these professionals take them from a negative state to what can be called a neutral state. This means that these professionals help them with their psychological problems. 

The aim is to reduce their symptoms and prevent a relapse. But when it happens, it doesn’t mean that they have well-being. It only means that they don’t have the problem anymore. 

It’s not the same thing. 

A client who has eating disorders could be unhappy, and getting rid of their anorexia doesn’t automatically increase their happiness and wellbeing. They’re just no longer in a negative state. But they’re not feeling positively either. 

So, fixing what is wrong with a client doesn’t automatically lead to their well-being. People only achieve well-being when they do things that contribute to their well-being itself.

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Misconception #2 – Effective Coping is Reflected by a Reduction of Negative States 

Some life coaches believe that getting rid of or reducing negative states will help their client cope better with their situations. To them, this improves their client’s well-being and ultimately, will help them lead better lives. 

This is also a misconception. After all, reducing aversive states like negative emotions or stress doesn’t necessarily translate into well-being. 

Let me explain this with an example. 

Consider a client who wants to lose weight but gets triggered to eat whenever they feel stressed. 

Naturally, you’d think that getting rid of their stress will help them lose weight. However, this isn’t the way to go. It’s more about effectively coping with the stress so that they can lose weight – if stress is the trigger. 

In essence, you need to see stress and the negative states as a compass that gives some form of feedback. If the compass points northwest and your destination is northeast, it doesn’t mean that you should throw the compass away. It only means that you should change your direction. 

So, reducing negative states like stress won’t necessarily help your clients. 

It’s more about being able to see, feel, acknowledge, and then deal with the stress. This will deliver the desired results in most cases.  

Misconception #3 – A Weakness Focus Can Help Prevent Problems

As a business owner, how can you get the most out of your employees? Is it by focusing on their weakness? 

The clear answer is no. 

See, if you have a business, you don’t get your staff to do things they’re weak at. Instead, you focus on their superstrengths. And you ensure that they’re constantly working in that capacity. 

By having people working on what they love, you’ll get them engaged more. This way, you’ll get the best out of them. 

It’s the same thing with coaching. Focusing on your client’s weaknesses won’t necessarily help prevent problems. 

So, when a client approaches you with an issue, it’s best not to focus on the issue. And the question on your mind shouldn’t be this:

How can I treat people with Problem X more effectively? 

Rather, it should be the following:

How can Problem X be prevented from occurring?

Focusing on their strengths is the effective approach in preventing problems.

And this translates to your personal life as well. 

Maybe you’re struggling with something you’re not good at to an acceptable level. So, stop focusing on your weakness. Find your superhero power instead. Think about what you excel at and do that instead. That’s what will really lead you to success.

Avoid Misconceptions About Life Coaching, Avoid Failure

As mentioned, professionals have their misconceptions about their own professions. And life coaches are not an exception to these.

Now, these misconceptions might seem logical and sensible. But if you believe and follow them, you’ll end up making mistakes as you practice your profession. And these mistakes could hamper your growth as a life coach. 

So, take the misconceptions discussed in this article seriously. When you avoid them, you’ll avoid failure, too. 

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The Life Coaching College

Glen Murdoch is the founder and CEO of The Life Coaching College. He has a long history of working with Athletes and Teams as a Performance Coach and Analyst and has developed Australia's number 1 Life Coaching College.