In his newly published book, Life Coaching, author Dave Ellis defines coaching as "assisting people to create their own solutions, arrive at their own answers and discover options for themselves," while they are creating "the life of their dreams." I really can't think of a better definition of coaching than this, and Life Coaching is an excellent book for coaches who are already in the business, as well as people who want to enter the profession.
A coach is the client's "full partner" in personal transformation, providing a professional, confidential, and life-changing relationship. Ellis, himself a highly success life coach, shares his enthusiasm for this work on every page of this book. He tells readers that coaching is a "celebration of life" that enlarges peoples' visions of themselves, their possibilities, and their creativity. He discusses the elements of the coaching relationship: These are listening and acceptance, aligned with the ability to promote personal change, improved relationships, freedom from suffering, and self-discipline.
Ellis lists the qualities of life coaches and defines what makes coaching a distinct profession. For novices, he also discusses the "mechanics of coaching": How to schedule appointments, coaching formats (individual or group, face-to-face or by phone), getting started with a client, preparing for the session, how to behave during the session, and how to end the coaching relationship.
Coaching is a conversation. Ellis presents a continuum of coaching communication tactics that accomplish various purposes such as helping clients explore possibilities, discover their passions, define what they want, and commit to taking action toward outcomes. He explores the variations on the conversation and how that conversation can be used for sharing, debriefing, and teaching. Readers can learn how to effectively ask questions, help clients create ceremonies and rituals, hold clients accountable, and encourage responsibility.
While many other books on coaching seem to tell readers to simply encourage clients to find their own way, Ellis lists several life enhancement skills that coaches can teach to their clients. First, coaches can teach clients how to get the most from the relationship and from each session. In this respect, coaches can model and teach clients how to have positive expectations, communicate openly, take responsibility for outcomes, maintain a long-term vision, set goals, and create one's future.
Coaches can also teach practical and valuable skills such as planning and prioritizing, problem solving, changing habits, handling emotions, taking responsibility, and improving relationships. Ellis tells how he teaches each of these skills, and this chapter alone is well worth the price of the book.
Life Coaching offers guidance on how to be an effective coach as well as an effective individual. Ellis calls on coaches to continuously evaluate their effectiveness and pursue continuous professional development. He discusses the most common mistakes coaches make. He advises coaches on how to handle professional issues such as appropriate intimacy, dual relationships, making referrals, and responding to a client's unethical behavior or illegal activity.
Ellis includes a chapter on how to market a coaching practice, how to set up a home office and how to set a fee. He also devotes a Q & A chapter to the questions coaches ask when feeling most perplexed; questions about professionalism and about moving beyond sticking points. He even gives coaches a method for finding answers to their own questions by drawing upon self-awareness, observation skills, curiosity and intuition.
There is much to like about this book: It is filled with practical ideas and information, it is easy to read and comprehend, and it is evident that the author speaks from personal experience and credibility. There is a companion volume for clients"a client textbook"called Falling Awake, available through Ellis's web site: www.lifecoachbook.com. I went online and looked at Falling Awake. Ellis describes this book as "Twelve Success Strategies to get what you want and create the life of your dreams no matter what your circumstance." Readers can download the book, order the hardcopy, or read it online in Adobe. It has many excellent practical exercises in planning, visualizing and journaling for creating one's future.