Welcome to the second post of my series about Life Coaches – we’re on a mission to find out what life coaching can do for you. And this week’s interview is with New York-based super-woman Elizabeth McCourt from McCourt Leadership Group. If you’re reading this wondering whether she’ll be totally offended by the (technical) term ‘w00 woo’ used in the same sentence as ‘life coaching’, don’t worry. She won’t. Because a few years ago she would have told you that life coaching was a bit too woo woo for her.
How life changes, huh?
Like many other life coaches I had the pleasure of talking to, Elizabeth doesn’t quite call herself a ‘life’ coach. She calls herself a Leadership Coach instead, and I’ll explain why in a sec. Elizabeth has tons of qualifications – she’s athletic, has a passion for travelling, and is a real morning person. We had our interview on a Wednesday at 7am (her 7am, not mine), and Elizabeth had been up for a while too!
But all that aside, what’s Elizabeth’s take on coaching? What’s her ‘thing’?
How does life coaching help?
Elizabeth mainly works with executive and professional women and helps them to find out who they are and how they can be bolder in their choices, or, in her words, “to wake up that warrior within”. Because it’s notoriously hard to separate who you are in life from who you are at work/in the office/in your business, an element of business coaching also comes up in Elizabeth’s practice. Examples of her work might include helping someone grow their business in a different way or finding their feet as they transition from being an employee to being an entrepreneur, for instance.
Being in the middle of this transition myself, I realise how much of what I do now (from how I structure my days to how I make decisions) is a left-over from the mindset of working for others. Of working for the sake of being productive and getting stuff done. Because… well, isn’t that what work is all about? If you run your own business you need a completely different mindset, and I can totally see how invaluable the input of a coach can be in these circumstances – if you want to make braver choices you need a little Mindset Makeover. And that’s not easy to do.
Why can’t you do it by yourself?
So a coach can help you ‘find out who you are’. Still too woo woo for you?
Yes, I can see you over there, raising your eyebrows and rolling your eyes. “I know who I am. I don’t need to pay someone who doesn’t know me to tell me who I am, thanks!”
And you’re right. You don’t need to pay someone to tell you who you are. They don’t actually know. But you may also not know how to bring YOU into your own life and business. You may not even be consciously aware of this, but we all have an internal voice and dialogue that tells us things. That determines the choices we make or don’t make.
More often than not, these are our sabotaging voices. They’re usually motivated by fear and limiting beliefs. And a coach can help you understand how they get in the way. Who is that voice anyway? And what does it say? Be honest, dig a little deeper, and be prepared to find out some hard truths about yourself. It won’t be your coach finding them by the way. It’ll be you.
Can anyone be my coach?
This is something that’s definitely come up in all the interviews I’ve had so far – when you’re looking for a coach, it’s important that you find someone you feel you can work with. And to be fair, the feeling has to be mutual. Your coach must feel that they can work with you as well – they wouldn’t be able to help otherwise.
“There has to be a fit between the coach and the client. As a minimum, I think it’s important that the client is able to articulate what goals they have, and why they believe they need coaching. I tend to work a lot with people who are very ambitious and self-motivated. They already push themselves, but I help them with that little extra push they need to make a change. Often people come to coaching when they are at a crossroad – they’re trying to get somewhere and achieve something. But perhaps their limiting beliefs are holding them back, so I help them push themselves in ways they didn’t think possible – to find their edge.”
But how exactly do Life Coaches help with change so much? (Is it magic?)
“I think to be a coach you need to be very good at listening, but there needs to be an element of intuition as well. Emotional intelligence plays a bit part in the coaching process. I listen to my clients, but I certainly also challenge them. They won’t always accept the challenge, but this is part of how I work. I’m friendly, but this isn’t just a conversation with a friend – when I’m working with a client, I’m definitely challenging them.”
Elizabeth also reinforced a message that came out loud and clear from my interview with Life Coach Emily Hodge – coaching is about who you are now and going forward. “There are elements of our past that certainly inform who we are now, but if the past keeps coming back, with a strong desire to be able to analyse it, then it’s therapy that’s needed. Not coaching.”
So, would you work with a coach?
I don’t know about you, but personally, the more I get clarity (in my head) about what life coaches do and how they help, the more I can see that I need to work with one! Leaving my job and breaking my leg forced me to go through a huge amount of change. All at once. And now that I settle into a new life as a ‘new me’, I feel I need to do a little bit of work. On my values and my goals, for example. My life goals as well as my business goals. And these aren’t easy things that you can just work out ‘at will’ one sunny morning while sipping your coffee.
Life coaching isn’t woo woo. It works. For so many people and in so many different life scenarios and circumstances. And the fact that Elizabeth’s own life was totally changed after working with a Life Coach says it all, really.
She thought life coaching was a bit woo woo.
And look at where she is today.
What do you think? Could life coaching be for you? Do you think you could benefit from it?
You can find Elizabeth on her website or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And if you’re in the New York area and happen to be up for a yoga class at 5am, you can also hang out with Elizabeth in real life.