That might leave you wondering if life coaches address emotions or thought patterns at all. Good life coaches address thoughts, feelings and actions, but not all life coaches are good at their job. Let’s face it- “life coaching” has a bad connotation thanks to many undisciplined practitioners invoking its title. Certainly therapy looks good versus general “life coaching” based just on the years of science behind it and the credentials required to be a therapist. This is where it is important for me to distinguish The Handel Method® from other forms of life coaching. At a glance, here is what makes The Handel Group® different and why we excel:
• We have a defined philosophical framework that tackles a person’s feelings, beliefs, thoughts and behaviors.
• Through our work with MIT and an independent study conducted by Dr. Donna R. Baptiste, of The University of Illinois in Chicago our methods have been demonstrated as effective. (Dr. Baptiste is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine at UIC.)
• Our selection and training process for coaches is extremely rigorous (usually at least two years) and professional and personal development never ends.
• Our coaches “walk their talk.” They aren’t perfect, but they practice what they preach.
The most salient ways in which our version of life coaching is different from therapy include:
We are most successful with already healthy people who want to be happier and more at peace.
Because we aren’t trained to treat illness, we work best with people who are already healthy but are struggling to be really successful or happy in one or more areas of life. Our work is philosophical and action-oriented. People who want to make significant changes in their lives enjoy the challenge of coaching. People in emotional crises or dealing with mental illness or depression often find more comfort in therapy. Obviously, we can’t prescribe medication.
We focus on action as the main access to shifting patterns.
Thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions. It’s a never-ending cycle and a person can intercede at any one of those access points. In The Handel Method®, we intervene in all of them, but we begin with action. It’s kind of remarkable how un-intuitive it actually is. People tend to want to figure something out or feel “in the mood” before changing something about their lives. We teach that in order to break out of a pattern: of thought, of feeling, of mood, of stagnancy, in any area of life, the first place to start is to change their actions. So, we’ll encourage everyone to start eating more healthfully right away so they can start to see the connection between a change of behavior and a change of feelings and thoughts. We are as fascinated by the mind as therapists are, but sometimes we just instruct the mind to “shut up” its chatter and attend to doing the thing that would make us proud.
We teach Personal Integrity® as the key to self-esteem.
Rather than understanding all the roots of a person’s lack of self-confidence, we teach the concept and methods of Personal Integrity. People are barely good at honoring their word when making promises to others, much less themselves. We believe that by teaching people to make and keep promises to themselves, we are giving them the keys to increased self-confidence. If you don’t believe it, you haven’t tried it.
We can coach on a short-term basis.
Some people choose to keep a coach in arm’s reach at all times, but often coaches can be brought in on a project or goal basis. Often clients come to us to lose some weight, resolve a family crisis, figure out changing careers or get into or out of a love relationship gracefully. We work well on a singular goal OR across the board in your life and have no problem with the idea of a finite goal or relationship.