Simon Ekin

Life Coaching: The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Your Life

life coaching

Life coaching connects you with specialists that can help accelerate your personal development. Find out how a life coach can change your life today.

Do you ever feel like you’re taking two steps forward and three steps back? Does your life feel dull and unfulfilled due to a lack of progress and discovery? Are you constantly sinking into bad habits that you know you need to change, but lack the willpower to finally act on them?

These are some of the most common situations where a life coach can transform your life. In this informative piece, we’re going to be explaining what a life coach does, how they can help you and some common misunderstandings. By the end, you’ll have a much better understanding of how a life coach can help you transform your life and improve virtually every aspect of your life. If you feel ready, excited and interested to get going, why not complete this coachability questionnaire?

What does a life coach do exactly?

A life coach is typically caring, interested in others, is a good listener and is willing to have straight conversations, challenge and encourage you to make the necessary changes in your life. Whether it’s building a business, personal growth, career growth, developing confidence or getting rid of stress, these are all areas that a life coach can help with. But a life coach’s job description isn’t set in stone and these aren’t the only aspects they can help with.

In reality, a life coach is like the best friend that isn’t afraid to give you advice and help set you straight, and that you give permission for them to do this!. They’re passionate individuals that intend to help you grow by listening to you, encouraging you and challenging you in healthy ways.

Does life coaching work?

The success of life coaching will depend on the individual and their goals. Some people manage to completely transform their lives with life coaching, while others experience little difference. 

The success is often down to the experience and knowledge of the life coach, but also the client’s willingness to listen to their coach and take their advice to heart. Chemistry in the relationship is an important factor too.

How can life coaching help me?

It depends! A life coach can help with many aspects of your life. The most common benefits of life coaching involve personal and career growth, managing stress and anxiety, finding goals in life and seeking an identity and purpose in life.

If you feel your problems stem from one of these areas, then it’s possible that a life coach can help you. Even if you’re unsure of the problem, speaking to a life coach and allowing them to analyse your life, your circumstances and your goals can help you transform your life for the better.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Is life coaching a con?

Life coaching is often misunderstood or misused, which can give it a reputation of being a con. There’s also a common problem with people claiming to be life coaches but having no legitimate credentials, experience or skills to back it up.

Reputable life coaches like Simon Ekin have plenty of happy clients that still keep in touch with him to this day. Testimonials, reviews and word of mouth can help you learn more about a life coach’s reputation. 

While there are plenty of legitimate life coaches that have transformed countless lives, there’s also a fair share of scammers that need to be avoided and probably have more work than they would admit doing on themselves! 

The best way to make an informed decision is to engage with one, test them out and ask them challenging questions! You can complete this ‘coachabilty questionnaire’ to see if coaching is an option for you at this time.

What qualifications do life coaches have?

You don’t need formal qualifications to start life coaching in South Africa or anywhere else in the world. However, clients will typically look for life coaches that have formal or academic qualifications, like a Life Coaching diploma or even a degree in psychology.

Each life coach has their own individual qualifications, so it’s best to speak to the coach and question them instead.

How does life coaching work?

First, a life coach focuses on your personal goals and what you want to achieve. Once you’ve settled on a desired outcome, a life coach will help analyse your life and identify areas that could be improved or changed to help you achieve that goal. They’ll then use their expertise to motivate you and help you overcome challenges so you can reach those goals in your life.

By encouraging self-growth and self-development, a life coach unlocks the potential within you and helps boost your motivation. By evoking these powerful emotions, you’ll find clarity in your visions which will boost your productivity and help you reach the goals you’ve set.

What life coaching is not

People often mistake life coaching for counselling or therapy. This is a term reserved for diving into the past of a client or patient to help heal them from emotional or psychological issues. A life coach is simply not qualified to offer professional advice for these types of issues.

Life coaches also do not consider themselves as mentors or consultants. This is because life coaches do not explicitly give commands in an attempt to better someone’s life. Instead, it’s about empowering clients to make personal changes and find new pathways through life.

Photo by Felipe Correia on Unsplash

Why is life coaching effective?

Life coaching is generally a longer-term process that aims to analyse your life to discover the best ways to make positive changes. But instead of merely giving advice and leaving, life coaches tend to stay with their clients like knowledgeable friends. They stay around to ensure that you integrate positive changes into your life and will continue to motivate and push you to achieve your goals. People also use life coaches on a project-by-project basis to achieve particular short-term outcomes. 

One of the key aspects of self-improvement is to simply have someone who is willing to listen to you. A life coach is there to listen to you and has the intent to help you grow. Their holistic approach to improving your life will give you a different perspective on how to optimise your time and aim for new heights. 

Research has shown that learning retention and results have far more ‘stickability’ if helpful and incisive questions are asked, rather than ‘advice given.’

How much does life coaching cost?

Different coaches bill in different ways. Simon Ekin prefers selling the coaching on a ‘results and value’ basis, going the extra mile and support that client in exceptional ways, as opposed to an hour-by-hour basis. 

Mostly, coaching is sold on an hourly basis and you should expect to pay somewhere between R2,000 to R5,000. A good coach will help you highlight your outcomes to put that kind of price in perspective. 

However, the prices for a session can vary greatly depending on the services you’re looking for. Some people find that multiple life coaching sessions in a week can help them solve challenging issues, but they might decide to only check in once or twice a month with their coach once they’ve reached their goals.

Can a life coach help with anxiety?

An experienced life coach like Simon Ekin can certainly help with anxiety. However, it’s important to remember that a life coach is not a replacement for a therapist or a medical professional. 

The approach a life coach takes can be slightly different when dealing with anxiety. In most cases, they’ll focus on identifying the immediate causes of anxiety and help you overcome it through encouragement, processes, tools and motivation.

Can life coaching help depression?

Much like anxiety, life coaching can help with depression as well. Again, it’s important to note a life coach isn’t a replacement for professional medical advice. Depression is a complex medical illness that may require prescription medications to help treat. 

However, there are some lighter cases of temporary depression that can be solved through the encouragement of a life coach.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Why life coaching?

Life coaching provides many unique benefits that can help transform your life. Some of the most common reasons to work with a life coach include:

  • Solidifying your identity or cultivating a completely new one.
  • Identifying goals and prioritising them in your life.
  • Seeking a source of support and comfort to encourage you.
  • Having someone to listen to you and help balance your emotions.

One of the major benefits of life coaching online is the short sessions that can easily fit into your lifestyle. Unlike going to therapy or speaking to a doctor, you can communicate with your life coach over the internet from the comfort of your own home. For many people, this makes life coaching far more comfortable and potentially cheaper.

What can life coaching help with?

Most life coaches specialise in helping clients improve in the areas of:

  • Assertiveness
  • Building and developing self-awareness
  • Confidence
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Leadership
  • Managing stress
  • Mastering Life 
  • Personal Growth 
  • Productivity
  • Professional Growth
  • Public Speaking
  • Resilience
  • Self Discovery
  • Self-actualisation
  • Self-belief
  • Self-discipline
  • Time-management

However, this isn’t a comprehensive list of the things that a life coach, like Simon Ekin, can help with. An experienced life coach has no limits to what they can assist with as everything is ‘figureoutable’ these days with the help of Google and the coaches and your network. 

They’ll listen to you carefully, research the topics that you’re struggling with and will be there to listen to you whenever you need a helping hand.

Why life coaching is important

Life coaching is important for many reasons, but it can often be summarised by having someone listen to you in your time of need. It’s not just the social interaction and encouragement that helps, but the idea of having a second opinion with an intent to help you grow. It’s all about having a different perspective and changing your way of thinking to unlock your potential.

What life coaching does for you

Life coaching helps you set goals, prioritise your life and establish a sense of identity and purpose. However, life coaching can go much deeper if you choose for it to. The experience changes completely depending on the life coach themselves and it’s important to discuss your expectations with your life coach.

Why life coaching works

Life coaching works because it’s all about having someone analyse your life and offer a different perspective to help you achieve your goals. When an analytical and or intuitive coach looks at your life, they can help identify areas that need to be improved, changed or removed to facilitate growth and positive transformation.

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

How long will I need to commit to working with a life coach?

People often speak with their life coach weekly to get a regular check-up. However, there are times when you might want to speak to your life coach every couple of days, especially if you’re facing challenging circumstances or want to make immediate transformations to reach your goals.

Thankfully, life coaching online with specialists like Simon Ekin allows you to control how much time you commit. You can choose to have short sessions that fit around your busy lifestyle, or you could consider setting time for longer sessions to cover more topics in a single day.

How do I find the right life coach?

Finding the right life coach is difficult. The key areas to check for are experience, expertise, reputation and ‘chemistry.’ Some life coaches specialise in different areas. 

For example, some may have a heavy focus on career progression while others might be more suited for personal growth. It’s important for you to research different life coaches, speak with them about your expectations, and potentially contact their clients for a second opinion.

Do life coaches work on personal or professional goals?

Both. Life coaches understand that both personal and professional goals are important in life. There are certainly similarities between the two, including identifying where you want to be regarding your current position and challenging the roadblocks that are preventing you from reaching your goals.

What’s the difference between life coaching and therapy?

The biggest difference between life coaching and therapy is in the approach. Therapy tends to focus on the mental health and emotional wellbeing of a client, whereas life coaching is more focused on identifying and reaching for goals. Life coaches are not equipped or qualified to deal with mental health concerns, but they can help with some mental health issues that could be caused by external problems.

Ready to take the next step and see if this is the right time for you to receive coaching? 

Fill out this insightful coachability questionnaire and Simon will be in touch. 

My take on life coaching in one minute with some singing to illustrate!

I’ll do what I want to…

the-power-of-self-discipline

Photo by Tembela Bohle from Pexels

Life is pretty simple. But not easy. The trouble is we have that logical side within us that says, ‘eat less…save more…speak up!’ And the emotional side that says, “f*ck it. I’ll do what I want.”

You can. There’s nothing wrong with that – if mediocrity is your game. But I know enough about human beings that it is far from ‘fine.’ (Feelings Inside Never Expressed.)

What’s the solution?

Keep your word. Do what you say. Honour your word as yourself. Exercise self-discipline. Maintain your own integrity.

This is how life WORKS.

Simple, but not easy. But far better than being ‘easy’ and not ‘simple.’

Be in touch with me if this resonates and I’ll help you out.

How to communicate anything in 7 steps

The Clear Communication Process

A Communication Process

I have found this process, which I have adapted from Marshall Goldberg’s, Non-Violient Communication – also known as the Clear Communication or Collaborative Communication model – an essential and valuable tool for resolving conflict and being able to communicate when it’s easier not to! It is a remarkable process and I urge you to try it.!

“Better out than in.” A young mother talking about her 3-month-old after a projectile vomit. The image below shows what the warm and positive after effects might look like.

The same goes for communication – particularly the difficult ones.

This process is designed to enable you to express yourself and for the other person to really hear what is going on for you so that you may both reach a common understanding and appreciation of where you are in your relationship. This maybe the first time you have actually expressed how you feel to another human being in a way that is safe for you.

Most of what gets us annoyed, angry or frustrated in our relationships with others it’s not what they do, or say, but what we don’t say or do.

Here is the process in 7 steps. 

By way of an example I will use the following:

You are deeply frustrated, angry and saddened by the state of the relationship with your significant other. You have gone for years not communicating clearly, lovingly courageously and openly with each other. You have had enough.

There is no benefit in pointing our fingers at the other person because this exercise is about personal responsibility, looking at our own behaviour, actions and words and expressing ourselves. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to speak in ‘I’ statements, not ‘you’ or ‘we’ statements. E.g. I feel frustrated and angry. Not, you make me feel frustrated and angry.

Step 1: Request

I would like to have around 20 minutes with you so that I can communicate my thoughts feelings and experiences and some recent events. It is really important for me to express myself and I would appreciate you giving me the time. (Don’t make it ‘heavy’ or ‘significant’.)

Step 2: Agreement/ contract

In essence, there are two reasons that relationships breakdown: 1. There was no agreement, or 2. There was an agreement, but it wasn’t clear, or structured wasn’t paid attention to, so it fell apart at the seams.

Without agreements, life simply does not work, yet we somehow convince ourselves that we can get by without making them or keeping to them. (See separate module on ‘being your word.’)

I request please that you do nothing but listen from beginning to end as I go through these points without interruption. When I come to the end please feel free to ask any questions to clarify what I have said nothing more at that point. When the process is complete, I would be very happy to exchange rolls either right after I have done this or a day or a few days later If you would like to.

3: Data

This is where you relate to the other person the data/facts/what happened and there is strictly no emotion or story involved in this part. The power of doing this is that the data is immutable and clear for both parties to see, even if one party doesn’t like what they hear, the facts are the facts! All too often a source of breakdown in our relationships is because we go to story, drama or emotion. It becomes very hard for each other to see each other and to appreciate where the other is because we are too busy defending our own version of the story.

There have been several things you have said that I would like to talk about, for example. we agreed after we got married that we would wait for a year before we started our own family. But then on the plane to Mauritius you decided unilaterally that you were ready to fall pregnant.  

Step 4: Feelings

The importance of sharing feelings cannot be stressed enough. If we do not express our feelings, we run the risk of becoming ill, angry, frustrated and resigned. We do not need hours of therapy we just need to share what those feelings are.

Feelings fall into five basic categories:

  • Mad (anger, frustration, intolerance, confusion, uncertainty etc.)
  • Bad (Shame, guilt, embarrassment etc.)
  • Sad (sorrow etc.)
  • Glad (happiness, joy, elation, love etc.)
  • Afraid (fear, scared etc.)

Initially when you said you wanted to start a family right away, I was confused as it was something different to what we agreed. I take responsibility for not at least challenging you on this and coming to an agreement that work for us both. Instead I just let it go and I allowed my anger and frustration to build.

Step 5: Needs

This is where you express your needs. It is surprisingly clear and easy for us to tap into our needs and yet we make it very complicated because we have tried in the past or become resigned and cynical to what is possible in our lives and come ‘from the past’ rather than listening to our hearts, gut or intuition, which never lies.

The power and beauty of expressing our needs is that we get to express ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether the other person can grant you those needs or not the most important thing is to express your needs.

I need to be able to communicate and connect with intimacy and courage in our relationship, free from feeling like I am being judged or having to defend myself.

Step 6: Requests

This is where you in “seal the deal” and make a request for what you want.

I would like to draw a line in the sand in our relationship and make a new start. What this looks like is having an agreement about what we are committing to and then carrying through on those commitments. Too often we have made agreements and then broken them. On the plane, you made a unilateral decision and I didn’t have the courage to challenge you on it. I want this to change so that we can work together and collaborate and have the wonderful partnership that I believe we can.

Specifically, I would lie to request that each of us on a piece of paper write down what we want for ourselves in our relationship and what we want for the other person and that we bring those together and create a loving contract together. I would like to do this within the week. Do you accept my request? This last question is very important.

Step 7: Appreciation

All being well you have made it to the space where the other person has listened to you and how you feel possibly for the first time. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate their willingness to listen and not interact and defend their position. It’s important to be generous in your appreciation to really feel it from your heart to guys.

Thank you for listening to me. I’m grateful that you have had me as it takes enormous courage to do that when one hears Is not always easy. I hope that I can return the favour for you and that we can create something magical going forward.

You can now invite them to do the process for themselves and you can give them some guidance in terms of the headings of how they can prepare for themselves and suggest that you make a diary appointment to do that in a few days’ time.

In summary:

1. Request

2. Agreement

3. Data

4. Feelings

5. Needs

6. Requests

7. Appreciation

We will find a way if we need to (great video)

My wife recently read a book by Martha Beck called Steering by Starlight – How to fulfill your destiny, no matter what. One of the things that the author talks about in the book is intention – i.e. if your intention is strong enough, you will make your dreams come true, no matter what.

She gives an example of the work that she did with heroin addicts. Many of them were living in appalling conditions, often on the streets, without very much by way of clothes or food to eat.

What she found astounding, though, was that they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars per year maintaining their heroin addiction. How could this be? These people were broke and on the streets, how could they possibly come up with all that money? The answer was simple – you don’t give yourself a choice, you go out and do whatever you need to in order to make sure that you score your daily fix.

I know this is an extreme example, but I think it’s a good one. So many of us have big goals that we want to achieve, but year after year we find that we are falling short of making our dreams come true. What do you think would happen if you gave yourself no choice about achieving them? If we treated those goals like a fix that we absolutely had to have? I suspect we’d find that we make far more progress than we currently are.

Another example, from nature, below gives an extraordinary demonstration that seems to defy gravity, of how, as beings, we can do extraordinary things when we really want to!

The incredible ibex defies gravity and climbs a dam | Forces of Nature with Brian Cox – BBC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG9TMn1FJzc

He wasn’t a genius – he just went searching

Werner Erhard with the Dalai Lama in 1979.Credit: Werner Erhard Foundation

I get some of my greatest insights in life when I do simple things like having a shower, boiling the kettle, or in this case, opening the fridge. I was opening the fridge recently and as I did,the phrase, “this is it and I’m satisfied,” came to my mind.

It was a distinction, or phrase, I learned from a Landmark Education seminar many years ago and I thought how incredibly profound and simple it is because I notice how much of my life is spent in a state of ‘this is not it and I am not satisfied!’

What I learned from that phrase was that when I can be in the present and accept things they way they are – that is, love them the way they are, and the way they are not, with no judgment – well, that’s pretty close to joy as I see it.

The trouble is the way we are constructed is, ‘this is not it and I am not satisfied…but I will be when I have x, y or z, or when something changes, hopefully, and normally for the better.’ Werner described suffering as, “things shouldn’t be this way.” Most of our lives, most of the time then is probably spent suffering.

I began thinking about Werner, whom I met on a couple of occasions and I found myself saying, “wow he was a genius!” Then a thought followed that, “No, I don’t think he was necessarily a genius – he just went searching (to find out what made human beings tick.)”

And that option – of searching – is available to all of us, all of the time.

What two boxing bouts in the Army taught me about resilience

Resilience: 5 lessons from boxing in the army
Inter-Company Boxing Night – Photo courtesy of Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

I didn’t have a very long or illustrious boxing ‘career’ – in fact it lasted just two bouts – but I remember it well. Whilst attending The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst – where the British Army trains it’s officers – we were introduced to ‘milling:’ 60 seconds of non-stop ‘controlled aggression’ against your opponent, with boxing gloves. With a twist: the ever-watching training staff would pair you up with a friend. This video will give you a sense of what it’s like.

From this process, a few of us were selected to box in the inter-company boxing night, along with all the pomp and ceremony that is the British Army. The day before, I discovered that my opponent had boxed no less than 32 times for the Metropolitan Police.

It was not a long fight. I ‘telegraphed’ my punches and he saw them coming. A jab here, a jab there (repeat) and after 2 rounds my nose exploded, covering the canvas with bloody crimson dots. My nose felt like a rock for the rest of the week with all the congealed blood.

But I didn’t give up and I didn’t shy away from the ‘milling.’ I was shit-scared of looking weak or beaten as adrenaline coursed through my veins, but it taught me the power of resilience or ‘getting stuck in’. The dictionary defines resilience as: the ability to recover from, or adjust to, misfortune or change. It has been an essential skill for me over the years; a faith and belief that everything will be okay in the end.

And this time of the global Coronavirus pandemic, with change and uncertainty rife, I believe that resilience is about the most important skill we can posses. Check out this post for some sound scientific tips on how to build it.

Now get out there and knock ’em dead, and shout if you need help. If you are looking for some inspiration, watch this remarkable short video on an exhibition of boxing resilience.

Why breakdowns are essential to success

Obstacles along the way

Often when we are in breakdown, we look at successful people and wonder how they did it.

The truth is, many successful people took a long time to get there, and not without their fair share of failure along the way.

Consider the following examples:

  • Henry Ford’s early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the Ford Motor Company.
  • When Jerry Seinfeld first walked on stage at a comedy club he was jeered and booed off.
  • Before JK Rowling became the phenomenal success that she is with her Harry Potter books she was severely depressed, divorced and virtually penniless.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his bestselling book Outliers – The Story of Success, talks about the 10,000-hour rule. In a nutshell, research has shown that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become masterful at something, irrespective of the particular field.

So consider that every breakdown that you encounter is an opportunity for you to keep learning and acquiring mastery.

Success will come; what success is really about is stumbling from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm. (Attributed to Winston Churchill, but no proof exists.)

A note on success:

To me it’s about self-acceptance, setting my mind to something and being committed, yet unattached to the outcome – which is a lot easier said than done, like most things. I experienced this when cycling through Africa. The success was cycling 13,000km’s over a period of 14 months. The ‘failure’ was that I was forced to abort and fly over Algeria, which I viewed as an abject failure at the time, but what I now see as an essential part in getting my partner and me home as I may have died in the desert as I had malaria at the time.

Why, “What about me?” is a rotten question

Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

Don’t we so often get so stuck, absorbed and over-interested in ourselves? What we want, what our purpose is, how we can make money, what’s my legacy?

What about asking a different question? What if we were to ask, ‘What does the world want from us?” Or, “what were we put on this earth to do?”

It’s like the difference between seeing the world through our own eyes, and then having a transformation where we view the world from the world’s view.

I was chatting with a good friend and I asked him this question. He runs a retail business and is really, really good at it. He didn’t hesitate for a moment, “To encourage others.” I was moved to tears in a moment. Why? Because that is exactly my experience of him. He is one of the most selfless, caring, loving human beings I know. I know he got the power and clarity of his answer too.

What came to me the first instant I asked this question was, “to connect with people.” That has evolved to, “to influence, inspire and enable people to unite, connect and celebrate our shared humanity, rather than focusing on the differences that separate us.”

What’s yours? I’d love to know.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer

Photo by Mike Kotsch on Unsplash

In a conversation with a client recently, I used a phrase: one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

I was unsure whether or not to use it, as I thought he might experience it as demeaning, or patronising; or that I was just throwing out a quote or a cliché.

That was until I chatted to him at a function recently. I asked how he was doing and he said, “that quote you shared with me all those years ago really stuck; I have never forgotten it and it recently really helped me in dealing with a challenge I was having. .

Turns out it was perfect for him, in his place and time.

Never be afraid of sharing something that comes to mind as we will never know how it might land with someone and the difference it might make, as the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

Is there a word of phrase that sticks in your mind, or one that comes to mind as you read this?

Why Courage is the most important virtue of all

What about me? I don’t care about you.

I find it incredible to think that one day I will die. When I start talks with, “ok, so we all going to die,” the audience invariably looks stunned.

But it’s true, isn’t it? Yet our inner critic – what I call, “The Whining Dream Killer,” thinks that we will live forever, there is always tomorrow and this life is a dress-rehearsal.

That same voice is the one that whines, moans and complains; the same voice that is driving us to extinction, the voice that says, “But what about me? It’s not fair. It’s their fault.”

You can see it in everything that is wrong in the world, from wars, to violence, to hunger to an uncared for planet: My wealth, my power, my comfort, my ego.

Well the truth is I don’t care about you. Not The Whining Dream Killer you.

I do however, care deeply about YOU, that wild, loving, passionate, compassionate and creative being that is here to make this world a better place.

So, what are you going to do as a result of this?

Sit and wonder and think and give the Dream Killer space to play, or get up off your butt and go and do something amazing, powerful and helpful to others and the world.

I’d love to hear what you are going to do.

Go on, I D.A.R.E™* you!

Courageously yours,

Si.

D.A.R.E™ is:

• Decision: Make the decision. Everything changes when you do. Get rid of the alternatives.
• Action: Action is the real victory. It’s the process, not the outcome that counts. You always control the process.
• Result: You get the result you get, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always you get the gold medal for giving it a go.
• Evaluate: Now reflect on what you did. Did it work? Did it not? What did you learn and how will you apply that next time?