When someone talks to me about life coaching, they often ask me where it starts. “Where,” they say, “do you begin? After all, life is such a huge topic, how do you pick your starting point?” The starting point of a coaching program is determined by what can be called The Gap. Since gaps are defined by their edges, we start with those.

The first edge is a person’s self-image. It sounds trite, but you start with where you are right now. As an example, if you were giving someone directions over the phone, your first question (or maybe your second) would be “Where are you?” The same is true with coaching. The coach asks questions designed to determine a person’s self-image. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What are your roles? Questions such as these bring out the thoughts a person has about themselves. The coach must make sure to give no negative reactions. The client is who they are, regardless of how they got there; the past is done. Blame or criticism will simply retard the growth process.

The other side of The Gap is based on the goals of the client. What do they want? Who do they want to be? What do they want to accomplish? These questions help the client determine the desired target, the destination of the effort. Uncontrolled growth is another name for cancer; a healthy person grows in a desired direction, with, at least subconsciously, a known goal. The coach needs to make this goal clear to the client, so that everyone involved understands where the effort is leading. These goals can be in any and all areas of the life of the client. Not every coach is good in every area, so the client may need another coach depending on the goals involved.

The Gap is the difference between the two edges. The Gap is spanned by two distinct efforts.

First, the client is probably going to have to make certain changes; in other words, the client is going to need to become a better person. Jim Rohn said that success is not something you obtain, it is something you attract by becoming more attractive. So, what changes does the client need to make to become the person who attracts the stated goals? This is where the life coach comes in, by providing guidance in this development.

Second, the client needs to create a plan of actions to reach the goal. What steps need to be taken to generate the desired results? The client decides on the steps, based on who they are and who they are becoming. The coach then records the steps and provides the client with feedback on the progress being made. The coach does not make the plan, but he does become an accountability partner of the client, giving the client the necessary support and push to make the changes and perform the actions.

The client is the focus of life coaching; the client provides the information, makes the decisions, generates the goals, and creates the plan. The coach is there to help the client clarify their thinking, evaluate their results, and focus the efforts of the client. The coach’s value is that he prevents the client from making mistakes and going down bad paths.

Author's Bio: 

John Steely is a certified life coach specializing in professional, academic, and personal growth. His website Steely Services covers many topics such as time management and goal setting. John shares his love of classic books in his Monthly Classic program of free books from the field of self development.