I’ve done four weeks ‘standing’ as a market trader in Bolsover town centre. On each Friday I have manned my market stall, offering appointments either locally nor on Skype, for either counselling or for life coaching. Over time I am getting to know local people. People stop to chat about what’s happening in their lives. Banter builds up with other traders – “If I have to tell customers again the price of those plastic squirrels (another traders !) I’ll go nuts !”
So when I make my first appointment I celebrate by buying one of the plastic squirrels. At the suggestion of another trader I name him Cyril. As in ‘Cyril the Squirrel’. Like Oleg, the baby Meerkat.
But I’m fascinated that the public don’t really know what are meant by counselling and life coaching.
Counselling is a talking therapy used to help when you have a problem – like in your relationships with other people, in your opinion of yourself or when other worries in life seem overwhelming. There are occasions when you need to ‘sort your head out’, to make a plan about what needs to change in life to bring you happiness.
Life coaching is when you want to make the most of who you are – to develop your abilities to the max. To be the best you can be. So you systematically, with help, make a plan about how you develop many different aspects of your life. Because life is made up of lots of ‘bits’ which interact to make a whole ‘you’. If you want to look your best, for example, comfort eating to deal with what’s on your mind doesn’t help.
And in either discussion we don’t do ‘labelling’. All that… ‘What type of personality are you ?’ is in the same category as ‘What star sign are you ?’ Sorry, that’s our approach ! Others may do things differently. It’s a free country. But if you want ‘You suffer from Borderline Fell out of Your Pram Syndrome’, you need to see somebody else !
And just curing symptoms doesn’t help. If you suffer from panic attacks, there’s little value in simply teaching relaxation (which does have its place). It would be useful to talk about what causes the panic attack.
Cyril the Squirrel doesn’t have any special powers. He doesn’t cure people, he’s just a mascot. The person who decides about your life is you.