serene ambition™

transforming the culture of aging

Life Coaching

Posted by Jim Selman on 10/24/06

man-reading_ba.jpgCrabby Old Lady took a swipe at life coaches yesterday. I commented to her that the same might be said of lawyers, heath care providers and financial counselors. The fact is there are many opportunistic and unqualified people calling themselves coaches. While I can agree with her concern, I cannot let her sweeping generalization impune the work of thousands of committed and competent individuals.

What I want to point out is that, as an emerging field and profession, coaching is attempting to address the question of how do you empower people to ‘break through’ their habits and patterns and CREATE their own future as distinct from simply coping with circumstances and living in their comfort zone.

Just as one might hire a fitness trainer or yoga instructor to assist them to restore or maintain flexibility and strength, so might one use a coach to challenge long-held assumptions and beliefs about what one can and cannot do as we age.

Moreover, if we think about the process most go through when retiring, there are lots of courses and coaching on what to do with your money, but almost nothing about what you will do with the rest of your life (which for many will be longer than the years they were working). What could possibly be wrong about spending some hours examining oneself in relationship to the future, looking at options and motives and expectations? If someone were beginning their career, they would think nothing of hiring an experienced counselor to assist them in their choices. Why should post-retirement planning be any different?

Finally, I want to suggest that, although Elders may or may not choose to be coached in those areas of their life where they have big commitments or are challenging ‘conventional wisdom’, many of us should consider that we might have a lot to offer others—as coaches. It is an activity that lends itself to flexible time arrangements. It can be done successfully over the phone and it can provide a context of continuing contribution and making a difference in the lives of others at any age. One of the most often heard complaints from Elders is that of ‘not feeling valued’. The remedy in my mind is if you want to feel valued, then add value—be of service. Coaching others is a way of being of service.

There are a lot of opportunistic ‘schools’ that I am sure would and should engender Crabby’s ire as well. I will write more in coming days about how to select a coach and minimize the kind of people that Crabby Old Lady is besmirching. I will also suggest how one goes about learning to coach others.

© 2006 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Life Coaching”

  1. Darlene said

    Loved your blog… and can’t wait to hear your advice on how to choose a coach…

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