Life coaching has become a catch-all phrase used by all sorts of people and organizations to promote a better, happier, more productive, and successful life. Some people opt for schools (a relatively new phenomenon) that certify folks to be a coach. Of course...who certifies the schools and, more importantly...who certifies and monitors the certifying agency and the certifiers? It's a question, I, and many others have asked. And, just like any other schools and those who attended them, your teacher could have graduated at the top of his or her class or the bottom - yet no one ever asks. In fact - when was the last time you asked your doctor his or her rank in their graduating class? My guess is...never. That notwithstanding, I tip my hat to the thousands of qualified coaches who help millions of people everyday!
I've been coaching people for many, many, years. So long in fact, that I actually had hair on my head when I started and my beard was all dark! I love helping people and thoroughly enjoy it when I, and they, see real progress in their lives. Getting people to understand who they are and why and how they do things, opens up doors for them that they may never have realized. Finding new success in their lives, whether from a business perspective, materialistically, emotionally, or spiritually, never ceases to make me feel wonderful.
One of the greatest things a life coach can experience is when his or her client moves away from fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, jealousy, anger, hate, and self-sabotaging and self-defeating behaviors, and begins to find the person they were hoping to be their entire life.
I began formally coaching in 1972 when I worked with my employees to help them grow and live a happier, more successful life. Now...I coach and train groups, both large (amphitheaters, huge hotel meeting rooms, and banquet halls), and small (corporate conference rooms, classrooms, and individuals' homes and offices). We're, both my clients and myself, always learning. That's why I see my capacity as a university professor as an extension of my coaching and training. I also love the fact that I continue to, through the magic of computers and teleconferencing, coach people all over this amazing planet.
If you are a life coach or have, or will, use the services of a life coach...I salute you. If you're stuck, feel "down," are looking to reach the potential you've always thought you could, want to be more content, happier, more enlightened, have better relationships, or just want to experience that "balance" so many people seem to have lost...perhaps the guidance of a coach can help. But - ultimately, it's up to you to make sure your journey is fruitful.
I'm a teacher. More specifically a university professor (as well as a keynote speaker, trainer and personal coach). Through my years of doing all these things, I've noticed something interesting...especially in higher education - the emphasis is on teaching, rather than learning.
Yes, I know that it's supposed to be the other way around, but it's not. The system has been set up so that students are motivated to get a degree, that's pretty much it. Learning doesn't always fall within that dimension. If you can pass your tests and do well in your research papers, you've done what you're supposed to do. What does that, ultimately, do for a person's mind? Not much, actually. I know how tests work, I've been administering them for years (and took them for years too). Memorize facts and figures, and on test day...be able to regurgitate them with precision. Three days later - those bits of information are pretty much forgotten. Papers? All too often they're sent through the academic sausage maker, cut and pasted, re-worded, and voila...a new brand of sausage emerges - cited and all!
The system is flawed. We live in the age of google and other search engines. Sure, you've gotta know which facts to take as true and which to disregard. But, who's to say that the books students are asked to buy for use in their classes are accurate? And - I write 'em! Need a fact? Look it up on your computer. Not sure about a formula? It's online. Suck at grammar? Your electronic device can help with that too.
Know how to think? Ehh...that's another matter. And, my friends - that's what we should be concentrating on. Teach people to think and use they're cognitive abilities and they will learn! Are we dumbing ourselves down in order to play the degree game? Hmm...I think we may be.
However, there are a few (other) sad pieces to this puzzle. First, by the time students graduate - they've become slaves. Yes, I said slaves. No, not the kind owned by someone who houses and feeds them, then sends them out into the field to plant or harvest crops. Nope...I mean a slave to the banks and loan agencies that helped "fund" their education. And the crazy part is that these slaves have to house and feed themselves! What an amazing world we live in!
The second piece is that we are closing our minds to the rest of what is around us. People are caught. Get a degree, get a job, pay back loans and more loans, get stressed, get sick, get health insurance, get medication, and on and on. You see, for many students, the cognitive thought process never has a chance to fully grow because they have to find a job as soon as possible (any job will do!) to begin to pay off their debt. Oh, the cycle of it all.
The alternative? Recognize that it's all a game - a mental construct - and when you get that, maybe you can change your perspective and take time to look around and think, laugh, experience, love, pull yourself out of the cycle (or not get into it in the first place), and mellow out a bit. Then, I think...you can really start to learn.
So...perhaps we can begin to change the way we educate by taking the emphasis off of tests, research papers, and grading, and putting the focus on learning. Of course, there are those who will say, "How do you know if someone's learning if you can't grade them through tests and research papers?" I have a solution (at least that's what I think). How 'bout teachers speak with their students, have open dialogue, stimulate their minds, get feedback (in fact...encourage it!), do fun, innovative, individual and group projects, even thought provoking papers (some of them may even need some research to substantiate a point or two), and listen to them. Most "good" teachers can tell who's learning and who's not.
I know it all sounds like a tall order, but - it can be done. Plus...make school very affordable. I know that we'll have to get creative, as a nation, when it comes to funding (perhaps a few less bombs, aircraft carriers, jets, or "special projects" could help fund our educational efforts). But, in the end...I'm sure it'll pay off!
What's the most important resource any country has? Its people - of course! Let's make sure our people know how to think. That may not be what some folks in power want. However, in the end, it'll make for a more educated and stimulated populace and a better, more innovative, world. Geez - wouldn't that be nice!