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Why Coaching?

What is Coaching?

If you haven’t experienced life coaching, you may be wondering what it is exactly, or wondering whether it could help you.

Stripped down to the barest essentials, coaching is about helping you get from where you are to where you want to be.  Don’t know what you want?  It helps you with that too.

When the field of life coaching first began in the 80s, it was primarily about creating a plan with action steps and having accountability. These days coaching is so much more.  For real and lasting change to happen, there usually needs to be an inner shift.  My training was in “Transformative Coaching” and it incorporated psychological dynamics as well many proven tools that facilitate personal growth.

Transformative Coaches take time to examine what you really want and need rather than just starting in on a goal.  We take a step back to look at what’s working and not working in your life, how you’d like it to be different, and why it’s important to you in the first place.  We ask “What’s stopping you?” and pay attention to the answer.  Maybe it’s a self-limiting belief, an unmet need, a fear, or a past hurt. The transformation happens when we shine light on those inner dynamics that are holding you back from what you really want.  And finally we help you identify what next steps will help move you in the direction of your goal.

Most of all, coaches ask good questions and are attentive listeners who know how to tease out your own wisdom, your own answers, and your own solutions. Coaches don’t impose their own opinions or advice on your situation, because you know yourself and your own life better than anyone else could.  We just help you to reconnect with your own brilliance.  

Coaching vs. Therapy

One way to understand coaching is to compare it to psychotherapy.  Coaching and therapy are both incredibly valuable, and in fact have a lot in common, with a few key differences.

What coaching and therapy have in common:

They both involve the facilitation of personal growth in order to help the client have a better life.  They both provide a safe space for the client to be heard and to receive support, a caring presence, and attentive listening from the practitioner.  They draw on a variety of techniques, helping clients to become more aware of their own thoughts and emotions, understand themselves more deeply, and make more conscious choices in their lives.

How they differ (these are generalizations with much overlap and many exceptions, but can be helpful for the purposes of defining):

  • Therapy is more focused on the present and past, whereas coaching is oriented towards the present and future.
  • Therapy is focused more on healing, such as healing of past trauma, whereas coaching is focused more on forward growth and creating a life in greater alignment with your inner truth.
  • Clients seeking therapy often have more severe presenting issues, including diagnosable psychological disorders that they may be seeking treatment for.  (Again, this is a generalization, as individuals with diagnosable disorders can still benefit from coaching, and individuals without severe psychological issues can still benefit from therapy. Please note that coaching does not diagnose or treat psychological disorders.)
  • Coaches and therapists have different training, background, and licensing. Because coaching is an unregulated profession, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your coach has been trained at an ICF approved program and/or has ICF qualifications. (I trained with Animas Centre for Coaching which is fully accredited).

What’s it really like?

Of course, the best way to see what coaching is all about is to try it!  When I experienced coaching myself for the first time as a client, I was blown away by what a powerful and transformative process it was.  You can bring any topic you are struggling with, or any yearning you have for a better life, whether big or small, and prepare to be amazed at what possibilities it can unlock for you.  If you’re curious to learn more, book a time to chat with me.

In the words of my clients:

I never really knew what to expect from life coaching, as I would’ve had more experience with psychotherapy/counseling. I liked the life coaching as it felt a lot more directed and guided. It felt like I was “attacking” a problem instead of going around and around about it. Also with the clarity came a lot of compassion and empathy from Shannon. So it was really a perfect mix for me. I felt safe and guided in our session. It felt like Shannon really was there for ME and helped me to come up with a plan to support myself. After the coaching, I felt a lot clearer and empowered. I had been reminded about what I truly do want and felt rather good about it and myself.

Maren, Ireland/U.S.


Having had a lot of changes in my life recently, I was hoping to get clarity on my next steps, especially from a career perspective. This was fulfilled, but the coaching went even beyond the work aspect. It helped me understand other aspects of my life, how to feel satisfied with the current situation and how to plan for the months ahead.

Emilie, France/England


“I had reached something of a crisis point in terms of my creative work and professional development, and this also had a negative impact on my family life and emotional well-being. Working with Shannon allowed me to achieve three important things: to see my goals and talents clearly, to resolve some of the anxieties that were in my way, and to become very pro-active in finding a way forward. As a result I have been able to create a professional path for myself. All this has given me a sense of clarity in my goals and also benefitted my family life, which is much happier as a result. 

Tony, U.K.


“Shannon is truly amazing, as a person and as a coach. She won my trust easily and gracefully and I chose her as my personal coach because she made me feel I would be in good hands under her guidance.  Shannon’s coaching sessions are helpful, informal and in-depth. She also went the extra mile sending me extra resources to read and work on to achieve my journey goals.  Thank you SO much, we need more people like you! I 100% recommend.”  

Eli, Italy/England

Shannon Jones, founder of Thriving Relocation, works with individuals and families around the world to build thriving lives in new places. Originally from California, she has lived in Australia, Switzerland, England and several locations in the United States. She's a certified life coach, relocation advisor, trained facilitator of Adapt & Succeed Abroad, and a member of Expat Coach Coalition and Families in Global Transition.

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