5 Adult Learning Principles Every Coach Should Know

Are you a life coach, looking to improve your practice? Like any coaching profession, coaching is a skill that needs to be developed. Coaches should understand how human beings learn and how to apply these principles in coaching sessions. It’s important to realize that coaching isn’t just about asking questions and listening – it’s an adult learning process. As a life coach, you need to know the following 5 adult learning principles so you can become more effective, improve your coaching skills and be mindful of the coaching process.

Adults are self-directed learners.

Adults need to know why the content is relevant to their lives. Good coaches put the client first and let them direct their own learning. In coaching sessions, clients take the lead and decide what is good for them.

Self-direction should be a goal of coaching sessions. As a coach, you need to avoid thinking you know everything or can tell your client what they “should” do. The coaching process should be about the client’s needs and their wellbeing – not about yours.

You may find it difficult to make plans for the future of your business without any understanding of where you are going as an individual business owner/ leader or as a company. A business coach will provide you with insights into how to get businesses growing – making them ideal partners for your business growth plans.

Adults are focused on solving their problems.

Adults come to coaches looking for help to solve real-world problems. A good coach helps them set goals and put plans in place to achieve these goals.The coaching process is focused on the client achieving their goals in coaching sessions. However, they face problems along the way and coaching allows them to problem-solve these issues.

Good coaching involves coaching your clients to solve problems in coaching sessions, not just having them talk about what’s wrong or how they feel. This can be done by using open questions when you ask for more information necessary to make progress towards a goal. By asking open questions, life coaches encourage clients to focus on solving their issues instead of talking about what isn’t working in their lives.

coach on your side will motivate, inspire and drive you forward with results that will put smiles on all of those who rely upon you (not just yourself).

Adults have experiences – use them.

Working with adults means that they come with a considerable amount of experience. Helping them make sense of and use these experiences can make coaches much more effective. You can use the power of coaching to help adults make sense of their past experiences and determine how these experiences impact them and their thoughts/behaviors now. This process is challenging but coaching your clients to understand the links between their past experiences and current patterns will make you a better life coach.

 

Adults learn through reflection.

John Dewey said, “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” A good coach should help their clients explore and reflect on their prior experiences. Reflection is especially important in coaching because it allows clients to explore their goals and the obstacles that stand between them and their goals.

A coaching session should involve reflection about what has occurred in coaching sessions. Some coaching frameworks use journaling to overcome problems faced in coaching, discover new perspectives on issues/goals, or summarize key points of coaching sessions. This can be done during your coaching sessions when you ask questions so your client can identify effective ideas they want to pursue moving forward.

The Environment Matters

Adults often learn best in environments where they feel comfortable sharing and learning without judgment. Showing empathy and setting a positive environment can help coaches be more effective. Good coaching involves making your coaching sessions a safe space for clients to voice their experiences and explore the life coaching process.

During the sessions, a coaching environment should be light and friendly. This will help to remove barriers that prevent the client from sharing information with you. Information is critical to coaching success. Adult learning becomes successful when your client provides accurate information.

If your coaching environment doesn’t feel right then the coaching sessions will be a waste of time since your client won’t be open enough.

Conclusion

In summary, to improve your practice as a life coach, you should help your coaching clients to:

  • set goals and put plans in place to achieve these goals
  • make sense of their past experiences, motivations, obstacles, and current patterns
  • explore ideas for achieving coaching goals
  • reflect on coaching sessions.

While adult learning principles are not exclusive to coaching, they are important components that every effective life coach should keep in mind. By applying the abovementioned five adult learning principles to coaching sessions you will significantly improve client satisfaction and coaching outcomes for the better!

We have discussed 5 reasons you should have a life coach, but the list goes on. If you are looking for a coach, send us a note at partnerships@led2win.com. We can help you find a trained professional who will help grow you as a person.

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