Photo by  Andrew Neel  on  Unsplash

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

I recently had a friend from the United States stay with me for a few nights. She is a keen traveller, interested in world culture and seeing the many faces of a country or city. I am a keen Londoner interested in showing off the many faces of this immense city. We were the perfect match!

As this is her third visit to London she has already visited the iconic sights most tourists rush to, so this time it was a great opportunity to show her some of the slightly off-beat areas and venues that tourists may not get around to seeing. Ones that shows the diversity of London away from the classical postcard images, that would give her unique stories to tell on her return. For example, we explored the disorientating architecture of the Barbican Arts Centre, the hipster bars of Shoreditch and the ever-evolving world of Elephant and Castle.

All the while, she had many observations and questions about what we were seeing and I did my best to explain why things were, how they were, and some of the recent history of how things have changed (or not!) over the years (Elephant and Castle shopping centre, you know who you are!)

What I found most interesting was the kind of things that she noticed, things that I was not really aware of. Like how most of the bars and restaurants in Central London are actually chains or franchises as opposed to independent establishments and how much I didn't know about the statues that stand tall in Parliament Square (most of which are my own countries' previous Prime Ministers! Shameful!)

It was really refreshing to be challenged on these things and it really made me see parts of my city in a new shade of light, not to mention make me go away and learn a thing or two. It was really fun being an amateur tourguide for a few days.

It's this kind of experience that really highlights what you know and what you don't about your life. Actually allowing somebody into your world, showing them around and allowing them to ask questions.

Guess what? It made me think how this is a bit like Life Coaching. Yes, you knew I was going to say that! After all it is in the title of this blog.

Working with a Life Coach is a bit like being an amateur tour guide of your own life. You are inviting the Coach into your personal world, where they haven't been before and showing them around, telling your story, where you're at, what you're doing. The Coach is like the tourist, open to new experiences, inquisitive and attentive.

While you are in full flow of explaining your situation, suddenly, the Coach says 'What's this?'.

You stop dead in your tracks.

Well, you never noticed that before, and you're not sure why. It may be a certain behaviour or habitual reaction that you brushed over quickly, or a little bit of your personal history that sparked some curiosity from the Coach. Suddenly you're like the tour-guide (myself just recently with the statues) who has gaps in their knowledge. The Coach may probe a little more to understand why you don't know something going on in your life, to understand whether you think it might be important that you examine it a bit closer. This may trigger a new path of exploration for you where you learn something new about yourself, that gives you a deeper understanding of your behaviour, patch up some kind of vulnerability or unlock a solution to a long-term problem. That is where the power of bringing an objective and unconnected 'foreigner' (for want of a better term!) into your world is really impactful.

A lot of people when they meet me ask me to explain what Life Coaching actually is and I have many different answers, but I like this analogy and I hope you do too. Afterall, I love travelling and being a tourist!

So fancy taking me on a tour sometime? It would be a real privilege.

Get in touch for a chat!

Take care for now.


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