The Role of Life Coaches
with Julie-ann Odell & Angie Kaster
There is more to being a life coach than simply identifying peoples’ problems and helping them find solutions. To be successful requires a high level of empathy, and the ability to inspire and enthuse. Cairo West Magazine talked to two who are both sought after and experienced in their field.
Julie-ann Odell has lived in the Middle East for 40 years. She is a Certified NeuroTransformation Coach, experienced executive business coach, co-active life coach and team relationship coach, with many corporate as well as individual clients. Described by many as having ‘the vision of a laser beam’, she has the kind of inspirational energy that can kick-start even the most immoveable situation, and offers direction and self- knowledge to move you forward in your life.
She works between Dubai and Cairo.
Angie Kaster describes herself as ‘a coaching alchemist with a lifetime passion for transformation and healing, using tools learned and inspired from a Masters in Clinical Social Work and training in Neuroscience, Buddhism and Mindfulness, Psychology, Neurolinguistic Programming and Pranic Healing.’
She is based between Cairo, London and New Delhi.
CWM: What usually brings people to consult a life coach?
J.O: First of all not everyone understands what a life coach does. For instance we are not counsellors, and although we may touch on past issues we will not focus on them. My role is to help the client find their life purpose and achieve their dreams – – much like a swimming coach would champion an athlete on to win the olympics.
A.K: Many times there is a feeling of dissatisfaction or a plateau where the person feels there has been little to no change in their personal, relationship or work life. Most people reach out to me for coaching with a desire for personal growth and more happiness.
Why do people feel a need to have life coaching?
J.O: Often a person can’t understand why they are not achieving their career goals, finding that special relationship in their personal lives, or feeling happy – so they seek help and ongoing support in moving forward.
A.K: To have someone else who has collective experience with a variety of other kinds of people and circumstances as well as professional skills look objectively and confidentially at your own life and apply their expertise of personal development to your circumstances. This gives you access to tools, experience and solutions you may not have thought of alone.
What are the most common issues you encounter?
J.O: People often seek help from a life coach at critical times in their life, for example, pre, during or post divorce, or when they are not achieving career success, in a dead-end relationship, or feeling as if life has no passion. As humans often we won’t budge until a negative situation we are in becomes harder to live with than the fear of the unknown, and only at that stage we will take action, so a life coach can shorten the process by bringing awareness and clarity.
A.K: The most common issues can include career dissatisfaction, general unhappiness within, unhealthy relationship patterns, communication difficulties, a general disconnect with balance and clarity of one’s gifts and challenges.
How can life coaching help someone who feels stuck in their life?
J.O: It helps in understanding why negative patterns are repeating, often because of a limited belief system which is subconscious and sometimes instilled at an early age. So coaching brings awareness and it gives you the tools to change. A lot of people have negative self-talk in their heads which has become normal to them but stops them from achieving their goals – and they may not even be aware of this. Many people are living ‘on auto-pilot’, coaching can help them find their purpose and ignite their passion.
A.K: When we look at our own lives, we often reach a very superficial understanding of the unconscious and deeper patterns at play. This is why we become stuck or find repetitive patterns. Having someone unlock the awareness of what is at the root of the problems gives you freedom and choice. People typically expect some clarity around problems and tools to take away and apply in their lives to achieve the desired change and reach goals.
What is involved in a first session?
J.O: I usually ask for a brief synopsis of a person’s life, which I need to start to understand the patterns. We design an alliance together and then work towards sustained change and an empowered life. It’s a journey we take together that requires time and effort, but it offers a very rewarding destination.
A.K: For me, the first sessions require a personality profile alongside the instruction and homework of meditation. One can reach a quicker self-awareness through mindfulness, which is the ability to observe your thoughts, feelings and world from a distance, without labelling good or bad. It clues you into the present moment. This tool helps you develop self- awareness and then an opportunity to take responsibility for knowing what you need and meeting those needs.
How do you support and monitor your client’s progress?
J.O: The client commits to a course of sessions of at least twice a month, and I follow up at each session. The idea of commitment is a very important part of the process. This can be done by Skype or face to face and with email support when required.
A.K: I work with clients online with bi-weekly Skype sessions. In between sessions, we use a private forum where I allow unlimited written support. I also develop homework that is tailored for the client’s unique circumstances in between sessions that promotes deeper understanding and the cultivation of new habits.
How long does it usually take to reach some sort of ‘break-through’, and how many sessions are usually required to get a client to a stage where they feel more in control of their life path?
J.O: It takes at least 66 days for the brain to start firing a new neuron pathway and replace limiting beliefs with healthy thoughts and empowering habits. necessary to ensure sustained change. >>
A coaching program should last for six months and then a reassessment with the client to determine the way forward. Our brains are wired to seek pleasure, so change is something that requires focus and determination and coaching on a regular basis is
A.K: This can happen after a few weeks of coaching, if the client is motivated to do the initial self-awareness and mindful work first. When someone stops looking outward and can look inward with mindfulness and self-compassion, they can then uproot and shift the expired thoughts and emotions that are causing all the challenges. The mind is like an ongoing machine, it runs on autopilot until we get in there and intentionally rewire it to meet your life today, rather than reacting to situations from the past. By the 4th or 5th session, a client can feel more in control because they are aware of their own process and empowered to choose their own thoughts, emotions and feelings rather than simply be reactive to an auto process.
What is your approach if you sense that a person has deeper underlying psychological issues?
J.O: Some people can’t be coached because of such issues, and in this case I would refer them to a counsellor or psychologist. delete what was here
A.K: I luckily have a background in clinical mental health counselling, so I always have open conversations about what is coaching vs. counselling. We have an agreement that if the coaching triggers psychological difficulties, the client will seek therapy and I can still coach the client as long as both myself and the counsellor are aware of each other and our processes. A client is able to have difficulty, feel stuck, feel unwell without being classified as needing ‘psychological issues’ – to me, if a client is not able to function in their daily life or work, there might be a psychological issue. But there is a big space of depth, personal change and sometimes deep sadness that happens as a result of discovering the need for change. This is temporary, and I don’t mind holding the space for that process. Change isn’t always happy and easy all the time, but it’s worth it. It’s definitely worth it. We go to places that scare us, that require deep honesty and then the relief and freedom from going there is indescribable! I’ve been there, done that and continue to, it’s my life path and I offer the process to others.