Q: Dieter, you’re a certified professional personal life coach. Can you tell me a little bit more about professional coaching and your coaching practice?
A: Rather than give you an abstract definition of what coaching is, the bottom line is that people work with a life coach to improve areas in their lives that they are not completely satisfied with, or because they want to achieve a higher quality of life.
Whether someone wants a more rewarding relationship, to control their weight, to find a more exciting career, or create more business success, a qualified life coach can provide the support, guidance, and the means to create the changes they want in their lives.
I think we all find ourselves at certain moments in our lives and careers needing additional support, encouragement, direction, and guidance in order to get from where we are to where we want to go. Life coaching can provide that.
My focus is on life coaching and business career coaching because they are very closely related. As a coach, it’s difficult to work with a client without looking at what he or she does for a living. It’s all about people. It’s all about relationships. The quality of your relationships directly affects the quality of your life. Relationships are what keeps us together or drives us apart.
Q: How do we go about building quality relationships?
A: The fundamental principle for building strong and long lasting relationships starts with the relationship you have with yourself. How you feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life. Self esteem is the key to success and failure.
I’ve seen many people trying to live up to some sort of idealized self-image so they can fit in, feel validated, or live up to the expectations of others. For many, this leads to inner turmoil, addictive behavior, depression, anxiety and stress.
Stress coaching is probably one of the fastest growing niche markets within the coaching industry. A skillful coach helps clients create clarity about what it is they really want. When people get very clear about their individual ‘criteria’, meaning the things that are really important to them, they are more likely to create a fulfilling and satisfying life.
Q: Is a life coach like a consultant or therapist?
A: For sure, there are certain similarities, yet they are very different in their approach, methodology and outcome. Life coaching is not for people with severe emotional or psychological problems.
Working with a life coach is not a substitute for psychotherapy. While therapy goes in-depth about various issues, typically dealing with the past, life coaching is more action-oriented and focuses primarily on the present and a specific future outcome or desired result. A consultant operates more from an expert frame model, leaving the client with minimum responsibility for the actual outcome.
Even though I have over 25 years of accumulated experience in sales, marketing, coaching and self development, it is my coaching client who is the expert on his or her life.
We all have the answers within ourselves, yet we’re sometimes afraid or don’t know how to ask the right questions. I usually don’t get too involved in the story of the conversation; my focus is on the underlying issues, such as erroneous beliefs, unconscious rigid habits and self-limiting thoughts and behaviors that keep people from achieving the results they really want.
You might remember the dialogue in the movie “The Matrix,” between Morpheus and Neo, in which Morpheus explains the Matrix and says: “The Matrix is everywhere, it’s all around us. It is the world that has been pulled down over your eyes to blind you from the truth.” I think this is a great metaphor for the way we tend to live our lives.
We have internalized habitual patterns of thoughts and behavior based on past experiences and social conditioning that run our lives. We accept them as “the way it is.” We get stuck in one perspective and past experiences keep reproducing in the present. My goal as a professional life coach is to help my clients see the truth of their own situation.
Life coaches often illuminates powerful new options and choices that clients didn’t even realize were available. As a result of coaching, people develop new competencies strategies and skills to create the results they want.
Q: What types of clients do you attract?
A: The people who work with me are men and women from all backgrounds and income levels. But they all have one thing in common— they all seek change. Some are CEOs, some are professionals— such as chiropractors, attorneys, interior designers, network marketing professionals, and even artists.
I also work with sales and service professionals, such as insurance agents, mortgage and real estate brokers and consultants. Another growing niche in my client base is homemakers and single parents looking to make a change in their lives; they seek to create a better work life balance and a healthier life style.
Q: What types of issues do you help your clients with?
A: The issues I deal with are as varied as life itself. Everyone is unique, everyone has their own story. Some issues evolve around stress management, navigating uncertainty, career transitions, or time management. I regularly find myself developing my clients’ self confidence, communication skills, etc. I also use many coaching skills to replace negative erroneous self-fulfilling beliefs that keep people from achieving their goals and dreams.
Q: Why do you think life coaching is becoming so popular?
A: Life coaching has been very popular in Europe and has developed more significantly in the US during the last decade, particularly in the business environment. There is more uncertainty in the workplace than ever before and our family structures are much more fragmented. People are looking for new support systems because the traditional means of support are breaking down. More people are waking up to the fact that we need to get back to what really matters, what really will have an impact on their sense of safety, security, and well-being.
Increasingly people are starting to reevaluate their life’s direction and purpose. This re-evaluation is happening at an individual level and at an organizational level as well. Companies are realizing the importance of working with their employees to create great work cultures that stimulate, motivate, and inspire people to be the best they can be. Life coaching is about (re) connecting with what’s really important in your life and taking ownership and responsibility for your own life; it’s about creating positive change from within.
Q: I’d like to talk about coaching in the workplace. Are most people happy with their job? What is the number one reason people leave their job? How does professional coaching help people in the workplace?
A: Studies have shown that only 30% of people are engaged in their work, while the others are just marking time – putting in the hours to get a paycheck. The number one reason that employees leave their job is because of a breakdown in the relationship with a manager, supervisor or colleague. When people join or leave a company it is usually because of emotional reasons rather than rational reasons. So we’re back to the whole relationship issue. Many business professionals I work with feel that their lives are out of balance. They are looking for someone outside of their organization with whom they can discuss private questions and concerns. A life career coach fulfills that very important role of confidant and mentor.
Many of the business people I work with are sales professionals. These are people who are willing to invest time, money and energy to experience a higher level of sales success. Again, many times business coaching blurs into life coaching because you cannot separate your work from the rest of your life.
Q: Can someone at work be your manager and coach at the same time?
A: I don’t think so. We are talking about different skills and different objectives. Most managers are too busy to incorporate coaching into their existing workload. And even if they could, they are not likely to be completely objective and without hidden agendas.
Also, I don’t believe employees will be forthcoming with some of the issues or problems they are facing, because their manager is probably the one responsible for their job performance appraisal and bonuses. Therefore, trust and confidentiality are often a challenge.
Q: What can people expect from working with you as a coach? How does coaching work?
A: There is a lot of talking, thinking, listening, reflecting, feedback and yes…feeling. Since emotion drives human behavior, you cannot dismiss the emotional component in a successful coaching relationship.
My coaching programs are designed to empower and support individuals with the focus, learning, feedback and accountability in order to achieve consistent results in the most important areas of their lives.
The impact of coaching is something that must be experienced. It’s difficult to put it into words. It’s like telling someone what it looks like or feels like to fall in love.
Unless you have experienced it yourself, you can’t clearly imagine what it might be like. I offer every potential coaching client an introductory coaching session, so people can see for themselves and decide for themselves how coaching will benefit them.
Each coaching relationship is unique in that it is designed to fit each person’s particular needs, objectives, preferences and learning style. I always start with a two hour coaching orientation or intake session, during which we assess the main areas of his or her life at this moment (relationships, career, health, money, fun & recreation, spiritual growth, etc.)
We also discuss the main objective and primary focus they want to hold for coaching. After our intake session, we set up a regular coaching time and we meet or talk over the phone twice a month for one hour for the initial three months of coaching.
Q: How did you get into professional coaching?
A: I have always been interested in the field of psychology and human behavior. From reading self help books to attending self development and motivational seminars. Although my degree was in Business Management, my two favorite disciplines were philosophy and psychology.
During the past 10 years, I have had the opportunity to participate in mentor programs with leading coaching and motivational experts, including Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor.
I’m a Certified NLP coach from the Coaching and Training Institute of California and a professional coach member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a leading organization that sets and monitors the international standards for professional coaching ethics, training and practices.
When I started my professional coaching and consulting business, my initial focus was on self development training and motivational-inspirational seminars, which I still do. When more and more people expressed their desire to work with me one-on-one, I started to incorporate individual life coaching and career coaching into my business.
Q: How much does life coaching cost?
A: My monthly coaching packages run anywhere from $150 to $400 per month depending on the time commitment and structure. About 95% of my coaching clients start with my three month Power Coaching program.
Q: How do you attract new coaching clients?
A:Most new clients come through referrals from my coaching clients, networking colleagues, friends or other life coaches. Other clients come from my workshops and training seminars.
I also run several Coaching Master Mind Groups. This past year, I have seen a steady increase of people contacting me through my website.
Q: What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
A: You already know that whatever you appreciate in your life, will appreciate. Whatever you don’t appreciate will depreciate. I feel very fortunate to assist people in appreciating themselves more fully and helping them build a healthier self esteem, higher self confidence and more clarity, so they can create the results they want and experience more fulfillment and happiness.
Anne Frank wrote that “We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different, and yet the same.” To be able to join people at least for a while, on that journey, is a gift for which I’m grateful.
Q: Do you have a secret formula for happiness?
A: I wouldn’t define happiness as having lots of money, or finding true love, or a having a house at the beach or a penthouse downtown. I think that when you are able to really enjoy the work you do by using your talents and unique capabilities, be with the people you love, and feel that somehow you’re making a contribution to something larger than yourself, you’re well on your way to experiencing a high degree of happiness, success and fulfillment.
Q: Dieter, you’ve co-authored a new book with Deepak Chopra, Les Brown & Mark Victor Hansen, called “Success is a State of Mind.” Your chapter talks about the power of beliefs. Can you tell us a little bit more about your contribution and where we can buy the book?
A: The title of my chapter in the book is called “Unleash the Power of Your Beliefs.” It illustrates that the beliefs you hold about yourself, other people and the events that have shaped your life, have very important consequences for every aspect of your life; your career, your relationships, your financial success, even your health.
It outlines how to identify and change limiting or erroneous beliefs in order to create, achieve and attract the results you want. The book will be available online by visiting my website.