How and why is life coaching helpful for clients to overcome resistance?

Generally, most people can give a personal account of how they’re doing, feeling, or “how things are going.” It is evident that we are not doing as well as we could be, how we would like to be, or how we once were. If we can understand the environmental, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral causes upon reflection, we can often make shifts in one or more of those areas to realign ourselves. If we cannot reflect or understand the causes, whether internal or external, we may ask for help or guidance. This guidance can be from friends, family, clergy members or spiritual advisors, therapists, doctors, etc. 

A life coach can be helpful to clients in that they can take an objective view of the situation. Objectivity is much more difficult, if not impossible, at times for a friend or family member to do. Life coaches can gather background information, contributing factors, whether internal or external, to the client’s current situation and obstacles to achieving objectives. They then outline a plan to tackle these hurdles and achieve goals. Coaching is different from a friend or family member saying, “Well, why don’t you just ________” and you can fill in the blank with whatever behavioral change comes to mind. Where the difficulty lies is in understanding the root causes that are contributing to the resistance.

The resistance may be related to making a behavioral change, whether at home, work, or just in one’s personal life. Or the opposition may be related to assertive communication, addiction, or self-care. Whatever the resistance is related to, the underlying causes are crucial to understanding. Often there are feelings that the person is avoiding as they are incredibly uncomfortable. For most clients, the feeling is fear and its offshoots: terror, dread, anxiety, and panic. If a person can understand the emotion and sit with it to gather the meaning and origin, they can challenge subsequent cognition that has been paired with it, which is overwhelmingly an error or skewed. With practice, this error in thinking can be replaced with behaviors that align with it. It is not easy work. It is like breaking an old, bad habit. But with practice, it can become the norm. With this new normal of changes in behavior and thinking, subsequently, the feelings will also change. How much time this takes varies quite a bit and depends on the person’s insight, willingness, motivation, perseverance, and resilience. 

If a client hires a life coach, they have come to a point in their life where they are saying that they are able, ready, willing, and motivated to make some changes. Motivation is half the battle, and life coaching also adds the accountability and responsibility component to the equation making success even more likely.