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This review focuses on Jeni Mumford’s book, Life Coaching for Dummies, whose main purpose is to enable readers to find their own life coaches from within or by working with professional coaches in achieving the goals that they have set in life. Unlike most popular books on life coaching, this particular one downplays the notion that there is a one-fit-all formula out there, which can help an individual to change his or her life from one point to the next without necessarily putting in any effort.
According to Mumford (2009), effective life coaching is all about conversing with yourself in a manner that inspires you to change your life from its present condition to higher heights.
On the other hand, Mumford (2009) argues that life coaching is not the same as counseling or psychotherapy whereby an individual begins the journey of fixing problems in his or her life by first understanding and accepting them before moving on to resolving them. Instead, life coaching is all about understanding your potential and abilities that are required to overcome different challenges in life (Mumford, 2009).
Moreover, this book shows that life coaching is not similar to mentoring because the latter involves modeling your life around someone else’s experience, skills, and knowledge while the former requires individuals to consider themselves as life models (Mumford, 2009). Lastly, this book downplays the common assumption that life coaching is all about giving advice.
Instead, Mumford (2009) contends that life coaching, unlike giving advice, involves the process of facilitating an individual’s thought processes so that one can find practical ways of making better life choices. Essentially, this book revolves around the concept of non-directive life coaching, and it provides practical lessons on how individuals can become their own life coaches.
Right from the introductory part of this book, it is evident that the author does not believe that effective life coaching is all about advising people on how they should live their lives. More specifically, the author notes that, “Changes do not last; unless a real change has come from deep within you” (Mumford, 2009, p. 1). What this means is that an individual’s desire to change his or her life should come from within oneself and not from other people who pretend to have answers for everything.
Before reading this book, my idea of life coaching was very shaky considering that I had always thought that life coaches must have answers for every question that came from their clients. Moreover, I had always entertained the notion that the main objective of life coaching is to help clients to come to terms with their present conditions and work toward leading better lives.
However, after I went through the main themes presented in this book, particularly in relation to what works in life coaching, I came to realize that I was wrong all along. More specifically, Mumford (2009)’s ideas on the principles of effective life coaching really challenged my belief system.
Now, I understand that life coaching must begin from within and true to the words of Bonnell (2012); the core foundation of coaching should entail having respect for yourself and understanding how you can respect others. Moreover, it is important to know yourself in terms of your likes and dislikes because it is until you know your current position that real change will begin to take shape, and you will be able to move from point A to B (Dunbar, 2010).
This book provides practical lessons on how you can make life coaching sessions work according to your specific situation and how best you can manage different changes in your life. More specifically, the author contends that effective life coaching should enable people to develop questions regarding their current life situations and find answers that best fit their specific life situations instead of depending on other people’s advice on what works and what does not work (Mumford, 2009).
I concur with the author to the effect that it is imperative for people to initiate and take control of various changes in their lives. However, it is equally imperative to note that everyone needs help at some point, especially when everything that you do keeps on failing until you feel like giving up.
Hence, the author’s idea of seeking one’s own questions and answers in relation to certain complex issues in life may not work in some situations, particularly when you do not know the right answer for a given question. On the other hand, the author claims that a professional life coach should play a facilitative role instead of directing the client through the process of changing. This proposition leaves many questions unanswered; especially considering that the author does not tell us what entails the life coach’s facilitative role.
Here, note that if an individual is going to seek out questions and answers on a certain issue, then there should be another person, preferably a professional life coach who will help that individual in differentiating ‘right answers’ from ‘wrong answers’. Accordingly, readers would have benefited a lot if the author had defined the breadth of the life coach’s facilitative role.
This book provides many lessons about life coaching, some of which are entirely new to my current understanding of the whole issue of life coaching. Unlike many other books that talk about life coaching, this particular one is unique because it provides practical ideas on how to seek out the life coach within you.
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This is very important considering that everyone is unique; hence, there is no one universal life coaching technique that will suit everyone’s life situation. Hence, it is important for people to understand their life situations and problems from a personal perspective because in so doing, they will be able to work out solutions that best represent their needs instead of following a prescribed method from a television program or a magazine.
I am interested in pursuing the author’s approach to life coaching in my personal life coaching activities. More specifically, I intend to lead a happier life than presently by first identifying things that hinder my personal efforts toward living an ideal life before working out solutions to address any issues that may pop up.
However, this will all depend on how well I know my abilities and capabilities because real change begins when you know yourself and when you understand that you are definitely resourceful; hence, all the answers that you seek from others may as well be within your reach (Mumford, 2009; Skibbins, 2007). As a result, I am going to make an extra effort in every situation to ensure that I have searched for answers within myself instead of seeking help from other people or even from television programs and other forms of popular media.
Bonnell, K. L. (2012). The crowning winner inside of me: 10 principles of life coaching advice. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.
Dunbar, A. (2010). Essential life coaching skills. New York, NY: Routledge.
Mumford, J. (2009). Life coaching for dummies. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Skibbins, D. (2007). Becoming a life coach: A complete workbook for therapists. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.