Analyzing the life coaching Research Proposal

Pages: 15 (9312 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 25  ·  Level: Doctoral  ·  Topic: Education

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The emphasis of counselors is client aspirations. Therefore, the activity of counseling entails change as well as choice. Counseling may be termed as the "run-through" for action, in certain instances (Casey, 1996, p. 176)

In the U.S., counseling emerged as a profession somewhere between the latter half of the 1890s and the start of the twentieth century. All through the early part of that century, vocational guidance represented the chief emphasis of counselors; psychometrics was a component of its initial groundwork as well. During the 30s, the counseling profession started expanding beyond vocation-related issues, and the world witnessed the emergence of the notion of guidance through education (Gladding, 2004). Only in the year 1942, with Carl Rogers' work, Counseling and Psychotherapy did the notion of guidance -- offering recommendations, training or a focus -- start vanishing from counseling-related literature. The mid-20th century saw the reinforcement of the counseling profession through events such as the American Personnel and Guidance Association's founding, the founding of the Counseling Psychology branch of the APA (American Psychological Association), the formulation of novel counseling and guidance theories, and the 1958 National Defense Education Act's enactment (Gladding, 2004). Counseling spread its wings and ventured outside the academic setting during the 70s, accompanied by the introduction of programs in cultivating helping skills and professional organizations, as well as counseling licensure. The next decade witnessed the emergence of the concept of standardized counselor training certification, thereby transforming counseling into an independent, recognized profession, accompanied by diversification of counselor specialties with major emphasis on development and growth (Gladding, 2004).

During the life counseling process, the clients are assisted in identifying their problems as well as specifying specific solutions to overcome their mental challenges. Life counselors are expected to specialize in a given approach of counseling such as Applied Behavioral treatment. More importantly, the psychological problem affecting the client usually determines the type and approach relevant in offering counseling therapy. Life counselors explore the thoughts and emotions of human beings to provide therapeutical changes which are relevant to the individual life. Life counselors encourage their client to speak their problems out to identify causes and effects, and possible solutions to the outlined problems. In most cases, the counselors will give the individuals advice on how to cope with the life issue or induce the reconciliation mechanism between the client and their life issues. Likewise, the process of life counseling is conducted through face to face communication, through telephone counseling or even online counseling. The life counseling approach is dependent on factors such as age, gender and the counselor's techniques.

Literature review

Hudson (1999) explains that coaching is an art of helping and guiding an individual toward a fulfilling future. Some believe that learning begins and ends with childhood; therefore there will be more working than learning. But in modern professions, there is a great deal of reinvention and small chapters that will require learning. This could be in form of getting new jobs or switching career paths. Continuous learning and personal renewal could be essential in adjusting to the changes, and each person is responsible for devising their curriculum. These challenges face individuals, teams, and organizations.

This is where the life coach comes in. The coach is a teacher, and whether it is an individual, a client or a company, the relationship is usually deeper than that. Their function is to relate particular goals to the whole plan created in close consideration with the client's core values. The coach helps the client see more options and resources that might be at their disposal, while guiding them through a learning process of managing change rather than fearing it.

He adds that, during the 80s, many organizations adopted the prevailing philosophies of management that encouraged eliminating the middle managers so that the employees could get more freedom to manage their own results with minimal mentoring. However, trends started changing again and organizations now emphasize on working teams. This necessitated the need for a coach especially when the team hit an obstacle. To be a coach for an organization, there are specific skills of leadership, reliability and maturity, are essential. These skills are required to train teams effectively and guide organizations through transitions. A coach in an organization will deal a lot with collaboration, long-term planning and organizing. The coach will be expected to follow and nurture the organization's culture.

Caspi (2005) similarly focuses on the growing popularity of life coaching and the issues and challenges that come with it. He argues that it is important to identify the two undertakings involved in coaching which are a method and a movement. The second usage, a movement, is the description that tends to cast coaching as a practice with its unique scope that is already on a path to becoming a profession or a discipline. This is being accelerated by the presence of a gradually growing body of research and organizations offering training and credentials to individuals who want to practice life coaching. This is making it increasingly easy for individuals to get the necessary knowledge and start offering life coaching services than it was before.

Caspi (2005) adds that coaching is a goal-oriented approach, unlike most traditional psychological treatments that focus on alleviating the problems at hand. Nonetheless, both methods focus on changing behaviors, feelings and attitudes of patients for the betterment of their lives. This difficulty to distinguish the two practices, especially among the patients is what is of concern to the profession since the two don't technically offer the same service. This can result in individuals offering services they are not qualified to offer or using coaching to circumvent licensure.

Caspi (2005) insists that social workers are well qualified to do coaching and there is no need for individuals with little or no qualification providing essential psychological services. Coaching previously emphasized on helping employees in a corporation to improve productivity. However, the growing popularity of life coaching has extended its business application to personal and life domains of psychology. The methods and approaches used by life coaches in the business domain are being applied in personal and life psychology; methods which in most cases are not applicable in those situations. Most life coaches are knowingly or unknowingly taking over the roles that are otherwise meant for social workers and offering services that they may not be qualified to provide. The paper emphasizes the need for dialogue on the growing popularity of life coaching in terms of its licensing, ethics and how to distinguish social workers from life coaches.

It is a widely acknowledged fact that the life coaching approach is a behavioral modification and inspirational technique which facilitates establishment and attainment of better goals, thereby improving individuals' functioning and wellbeing (Grant & O'Hara, 2006; Newnham-Kanas et al., 2010). This "innovative" field has distinguished itself from the conventional therapeutic sphere -- life coaches do not adopt an expert's role; rather, they serve as "thought partners" (Newnham-Kanas, Irwin and Morrow, D. 2011). Furthermore, they do not offer advice, but believe their clients can independently generate effective solutions for themselves (ICF, 2015). These professionals do not feel clients need "fixing." Their emphasis is on results for the future and not on problems of the past (ICF, 2015). According to practitioners, the life coaching technique is strong and effective; this argument has been corroborated by a growing pool of scientific proofs (Maples, 1996).

Counseling, psychology and other conventional helping professions are closely regulated and standardized (Williams & Davis, 2007). But the life coaching field does not have to follow any strict regulations or training conditions, and this is considered a major future problem for the sector (ICF, 2012). A second challenge is the confusion clients experience with regard to the advantages of coaching and how it differs from consulting, mentoring and other practices (ICF, 2012). How life coaching is defined has been another well-debated topic (Williams & Davis, 2007). There are numerous perspectives, each of which offers diverse coaching contexts. For instance, Grant (2003, p.254) gives a broad definition for the term, claiming that life coaching represents a methodical, solution-focused, cooperative and result-oriented process wherein a coach helps enhance non-clinical, normal clients' life experiences and facilitate their professional and personal goal achievement.

There are numerous empirical research works that support the life coaching profession's validity (Newnham-Kanas, Gorczynski, Irwin and Morrow, 2009; Newnham-Kanas et al., 2011). But methodological rigor is absent in most of these research works. Several empirical analyses do not include any operational description of the method of coaching employed, rendering it hard to figure out exactly what the authors are referring to when they use the word "coaching" (Newnham-Kanas et al., 2009). There are various descriptions and definitions of the term "life coaching," but these definitions probably offer diverse contexts for analysis; this suggests diverse life coaching processes and results (Grant, 2003; Williams & Davis, 2007). By means of a cohesive description of the term, research scholars can assess modifications in wellness, behavior and life that may be ascribed… [END OF PREVIEW]

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