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now problems. It doesn't assume that a problem has its origins in the past,
and it tries to find quick, logical solutions. (2) Life coaching is very
practical. It uses advice, homework assignments, asking other people for
information, and searching the Internet and journals for answers to pro-
blems. Life coaches often suggest that clients keep logs or write down
ideas that are then shared with the coach. This technique seems efficient
to many dissatisfied workers who believe that taking responsibility for
change will speed up the process. (3) Life coaching encourages the use
of behavioral charting to analyze a problem and to track success. 1
(4) Coaching assumes that clients are emotionally healthy and functioning
well but just need some practical and supportive assistance with problem
solving. Compare this to counseling and psychotherapy that assumes
dysfunction, describes people in unhealthy ways, and often uses labels.
(5) Coaching is very positive and optimistic. It is founded on belief that
problems can be resolved in a short period of time and that people have
the necessary inner resources and skills to resolve problems with just a
little direction from the coach.
Case Example: Life Coaching with a Job Dissatisfied Worker
June Addison has all the signs of job dissatisfaction and came to a life
coach with concerns about her job performance. Her most recent work
evaluation was mediocre to poor. Given the company's current economic
condition, Jane worries that she might lose her job. With a family to
support and no other possibilities of similar work in her field in the com-
munity, she is very determined to improve her work performance even
though she is admittedly unhappy with her job and doesn't much like the
company she works for. Still, it's a good job and she doesn't want to lose
it because of her attitude. The coach looked at her written performance
and saw three areas that definitely needed improving. Over two sessions,
Jane and the coach worked together on practical ways to improve her
performance. They also set up a way of measuring whether improvement
was taking place.
1 The senior author's daughter developed a chart to determine which graduate schools she should
focus on when applying to schools in public health. Two or three indicators were suggested by her
father to determine which schools were most likely to provide a good experience (rankings,
availability of assistantships, program focus). By the time she finished the chart, she had over 20
indicators. When she was done filling in the information under each indicator, it was clear that
four or five programs stood out. She indicated that charting cut down on extraneous efforts to
problem solve and that it was very time and energy efficient.
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