Are you confused about life or career?
THE question where do you see yourself in the next 10 years is one which can leave many job-seekers stumped during an interview, but it can be overwhelming to answer on a personal level as well.
In the midst of all your everyday jobs and activities it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose focus on the bigger picture.
According to Janice Learmond-Criqui, this is where life coaching comes in. “Life coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling,” she said.
“The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client’s personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what their obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make their life be what they want it to be,” she said.
Life coaches are part of a growing profession worldwide. The International Coach Federation (ICF) says it has more than 12,000 members worldwide or double the amount just five years ago.
In Trinidad the profession is growing at a steady rate as a service, Learmond-Criqui said but she admitted that a lot needs to be done to educate people about its benefits.
Life coaching and therapy are vastly different fields so clients should not expect a therapy session when meeting with a life coach. The process is very different.
“Coaching is not therapy. One of the most obvious differences between the two approaches is that therapy tends to focus on feelings and experiences related to past events, whereas coaching is oriented towards goal setting and encourages the client to move forward. Coaching is action oriented,” Learmond-Criqui advised.
She continued: “The focus is on where the client is right now, where they want to be next, and how to get them there. Counseling is a process in which the counselor, or therapist, helps you understand the causes for your problems and guides you through the process of learning to make good life decisions. Coaching is future-focused, not exploring why there is a problem, but rather how life, performance and career goals can be achieved.
It’s also important to note that life coaches are not regulated here in Trinidad and Tobago. There are several coach training programs across the country but these programs are not internationally recognized or credentialed. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) in the United States is the leading global organization dedicated to advancing the coaching profession.
If you decide to go to a life coach be ready to open your mind as well as your pocket book because according to Learmond-Criqui a session can cost anywhere between $250 and $700 per hour depending on the coach that you visit. She says that while she has had many satisfied clients, if a client is not ready to make a change in their life then the coaching will not work.
Learmond-Criqui, who has been a coach for the past two years, says that her profession is a source of joy in her life.
“I love my profession. I enjoy listening to people and invariably people will tell me their secrets. I get a sense of satisfaction when I can inspire people and motivate them to move forward with their lives.
“Educating people about the benefits of coaching is my number one priority, hence my Coaching Corner column in one of the national newspapers on a Sunday and I provide free information about coaching. Besides being a certified professional coach, I am also a motivational speaker and professional trainer. I have done a ‘Grief Coaching’ session with students at UWI and presentations at the AIIC conference in Antigua, Guyana and Jamaica – all pro bono.
She ended with some advice for anyone wishing to seek a life coach “It is important to ensure as a client, that you ask questions about the coach’s credentials, experience and certification. The same way that you would go to a licensed doctor for your medical needs, you need to ensure that your coach is certified. Effective 2012, there will be an Association of Coaches where the consumers will be able to inquire about coaches that they can visit.