Have you ever heard of a Life Coach? And have you ever wondered, “What can a Life Coach offer me?” A Life Coach is someone who can guide you to listen to your own intuition, as you come to a crossroads in your life, or face a new or difficult challenge. This is another important component of your support team (see our previous blog – add link- on what a Business Coach is) and a catalyst to your personal growth.
We sat down with Michelle Robindell, a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and Entrepreneur with Ripple Effect Coaching, about her work as a Life Coach and how she can help women entrepreneurs grow to their fullest professional and personal potential.
Entrepreneur Mom Now: Hi Michelle. Thanks for chatting with Entrepreneur Mom Now. Our first question is “What is a Life Coach and how can you help mom entrepreneurs?”
Michelle: Depending on who you ask, there might be a few different definitions of a Life Coach! We each have our own approach, but mainly it’s about redesigning your life so you’re living “on purpose”, being aligned with your values and doing what makes you happy.
I work with women entrepreneurs to find out what is most important to them, and to set goals around their priorities and passions. Whatever they are struggling with will come up as we explore.
I speak with lots of moms who start a business because they have a passion around a product or service, and/or who see entrepreneurship as a way to spend more time with their family. It offers some flexibility that a corporate gig can’t. Often these moms start their business and then begin to feel overwhelmed. Maybe they didn’t realize how much time building a business would take and the stresses that would come with it, or maybe they have unrealistic expectations for themselves. Or maybe they feel unfocused or like they’re “doing it wrong”.
As moms who are entrepreneurs, we are pulled in many directions. While we may have dreams for our businesses, we also tend to set the bar high for ourselves as moms. Because we have flexibility, we tend to be the ones who drop work and respond when the kids get sick or our family otherwise needs us. We then feel guilty or unsuccessful: the time we set aside to work gets swallowed up. Or if we do attend to our work and not to our family, there’s guilt associated with that.
I work with clients to identify what is really important to them and to let go of other things. It is essential to get clear on your dreams and your expectations for yourself. A Life Coach can be like a mirror and reflect back to you what you are saying. This helps clients see things in a way they never before realized. They see that their expectations for themselves are unrealistic, or that they’re saying one thing and doing another. I ask questions like:
- What is important to you?
- What’s standing in your way of doing that?
- How are you going to make time for it?
- What kind of commitment are you going to make?
Sometimes it’s about time management (being more effective with the time we have), but often it’s about clarity, or about shifting priorities. I also provide accountability, so when you make a commitment, I will check in the next time we talk to see if you followed through, how it went, and what’s next.
EMomNow: You are a helper and a guide for people. What brought you to this particular role?
Michelle: My parents divorced when I was young and my sister had some interpersonal challenges. When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to be a family therapist. I got my degree in Psychology and was going to go out there and be a counsellor. But when I realized that this meant working with people to diagnose and treat their problems, rather than talk about their potential, I saw that it wasn’t a good fit for me.
I went into the corporate world instead, Human Resources, and it was there that I discovered coaching. I realized this is what I wanted to do all along! Coaching is about seeing people’s potential; working with them to make their lives better; helping them to see things through a new perspective and it’s not about focusing on a problem. I felt I found my calling!
EMomNow: Who can benefit from working with a Life Coach?
Michelle: Anyone, really. It’s not a matter of who, so much as when. It needs to be the right time in your life; you need to be at a place where you want to make some changes. You need to have a bit of a fire in your belly. You need to want to do things differently.
To make real changes in your life, you need to be able to put aside some space or time. Sometimes that’s a matter of taking things off your plate, but mainly it’s about having that motivation and desire to make change. When you realize that things aren’t working the way they are, and you know you need to make a change, that’s when you know it is the right time to work with a life coach.
EMomNow: In life we can often experience blockages – or obstacles that prevent us from moving forward. What obstacle do you often see when working with clients, and how can we overcome this?
Michelle: The first thing that comes to mind is perspective. Often the biggest blockage I find with clients is the whole idea of “I can’t” or “I don’t have time.” For example, clients will come to me and say I don’t have time to … exercise. It is important to me to do this but I just don’t have time. Well, when you see things from that perspective – I can’t – you aren’t going to be able to make the time or find the time. We go at it from different angles. When we find the perspective that feels like “Yes, I can do this and I can make it happen”, that’s when it becomes possible. Depending on people’s circumstances, that blockage is going to look a bit different but it is the biggest one that I see. We can find solutions. There are always solutions and that’s why I love working with people on this.
Thanks Michelle. We are feeling very inspired to make changes… and move forward with our goals! If you want to chat with Michelle about life changes, finding happiness or living more “on purpose”, she can be found at Ripple Effect Coaching.