Introductory Interview- How to get the most out of a Life Coaching Program

While there are no set “rules” for what helps and what does not in a coaching session, there are some guidelines that make a big difference in what you will get out of the Academic Life Coaching Program. At the center of the program is your relationship with your coach, your understanding of the concepts, and your ability to follow-through with the exercises between sessions. The bottom-line is that the success of the program is up to you, and just like in life, you will get about as much back as you put in.

Guideline #1: Trust Your Imagination.

Many of the questions your coach will ask you are designed to make you think about yourself and your situation differently. It is the coach’s job to ask hard questions that make you think deeply. Take your time and trust your imagination. Many of the exercises require mini-leaps of faith in thinking about what is true for you, and your coach is trained to help you pick apart the fluff from what is real. Trust yourself and trust the process.

One way to look at school and the ALC program is thinking about the kinds of tests and quizzes you have to take. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of assessments: those where the right answer is known (like on a math test) and those where the right answer is not yet known, but you know it when it clicks (like writing a fantastic college application essay). Many of the questions and exercises in the ALC program do not have “right“ answers—and no one really knows the right answer for you—but in the process you will discover an answer that works for you. To get there, you have to trust your imagination and go with it.

As you learn to trust your imagination and dream bigger, you will not only realize how powerful your imagination can be but also how achievable your goals are.

Guideline #2: Get beyond Right/Wrong and Good/Bad.

The idea of right versus wrong or good versus bad gets in the way and slows progress. Instead of thinking in those terms, I encourage you to get away from hard and fast judgments. The words right, wrong, good, and bad, carry so much emotional baggage of judgment that it makes creating positive change and habits more challenging.

      Instead of thinking in those terms, I encourage you to think in terms of things being useful, somewhat useful, or useless. Some habits are really useful. Some are not. When you avoid thinking about something being good or bad and instead focus on the usefulness it helps you make a positive choice without the extra step of dealing with the judgment and emotion of doing something “wrong” or “bad.” 

Guideline #3: Adopt a Growth-Mindset.

From the point-of-view of a growth mindset, success and failure are merely feedback on how you are doing. Neither changes the fact that you are still going to put in work and go after mastering your subject or craft.

From such a perspective, if you keep moving forward and putting in effort, success is going to happen. Failure is going to happen too. Both are useful for learning, and if you are not having failures along the way, you are not trying hard enough nor will you achieve as many meaningful successes in your life.

The key to failure is to learn from it and recover quickly. The quicker you get back on track and move forward, the better off you are. The key to dealing with failure is developing resilience, quick recovery, and adaptability—the ability to learn from mistakes and be flexible to try something new.

Between sessions you will inevitably do some of the exercises really well and be dismal at others. Your job is to fully apply yourself and go from uncertainty and practice to confidence and mastery. If you fail along the way, recover, and keep moving forward.