A Coaching Model By James Levin, Business Coach, UNITED STATES
The Idea of Work-Life Balance “Finding Integration”
The idea of work-life balance doesn’t work in the modern world. What started with the invention of the internet was accelerated tenfold over the past 2 years with the pandemic.
Now, your work is your home and your home is your work. People are recognizing the need for flexibility, autonomy, and control over their time. The new goal is integration, not balance.
This is a coaching model to empower business owners and others to live a well-rounded, integrated life. It begins with the belief that things can be different from the way they are and ends with a conscious framework for trying new things and making adjustments in order to integrate their business activities with their other passions and activities.
When someone starts a business, that person is usually full of optimism. There are dozens of benefits to being your own boss and being the one in charge. You cannot be fired, you can take a vacation when you want to, and you don’t have to work with anyone you don’t like.
But the novelty often fades early on, or even later in the journey. The other side of being a business owner is the feeling of being the only one capable of doing things correctly. It’s the reality of only making money when you’re working at the beginning. It’s the fear of not having the safety net of severance pay or references should you fail.
These realities, and the struggle to incorporate your business into your lifestyle, cause many business owners to get stuck. They stop moving forward, they stop growing, and their dreams of working 2 hours a day from a beach in Cabo get put on hold indefinitely. The passion that led them to start their own business gets lost in the worry, stress, and fear.
People who aren’t self-employed can have similar struggles. In modern times, many companies expect employees to be at their beck and call 24 hours a day. While remote work has increased, this does not always lead to increased autonomy. Meanwhile, many companies are demanding employees return to the office. People all over are finding their situation unbearable and leaving for something new.
For many, breaking free from their current reality and designing a life that is more in line with their wishes, desires, and dreams is difficult. We struggle to believe there is a better way. We resign ourselves to overworking or putting other dreams on the back burner in order to avoid facing the fear and uncertainty that comes with real change.
Enter “Finding Integration” a coaching model to create a life that allows individuals to build a schedule that enables them to make money, spend time with family, and explore their other passions in a way that works for them.
“Finding Integration” A Coaching Model to Create a Life
This model can be applied to individual areas of a person’s life. In each area, the client goes through the stages and focuses on making small changes that can have a big impact.
However, since we are dealing with integration, it is common that looking at a particular area will open up avenues into deeper issues that affect multiple areas. For example, a lack of satisfaction at work is often connected to poor health. A bad home situation can be the cause of behavioral issues at work as well.
Since every part of our clients’ lives is entangled with the other areas of their lives, the whole, not only the individual parts, must be kept in consideration when working with this model.
Step 1 – Recognize the Need for Change
A person is ready for this model when they are ready to face their dissatisfaction and find a better solution. When they are open to the possibility of change, that’s when the change can begin. Not everyone will arrive at this point. If they rebuff even the possibility of living life differently, the integration will not be possible.
Step 2 – Question Assumptions
A client will come into the coaching relationships with preconceived beliefs about what is possible and what is not. They may say they want to make a change but still not be in a place where they believe they can. At this point, the coach’s job is to empower the client to question what is possible for them. The client will be challenged to define why they can not meet a certain financial goal or why they can’t spend less time with clients. Assumptions such as “no one will pay me that much” or “I’ll lose clients if I take a break” must be questioned and evaluated to reach the root cause of such beliefs.
Step 3 – Visualize the Difference
Once the client has created space to imagine a different life, they can begin to visualize what their life might look like if they implement changes. They may imagine themselves in better physical shape or working only four days a week. These visions will enable the client to create goals and make a plan to work toward them.
Step 4 – Understand What Needs to Be Done
Once the client knows what they want their life to look like, the coach must help the client define what needs to happen to make that possible. It’s not enough to define the step that needs to be taken, it’s important to understand what that will mean in the larger picture. For example, a client might resolve to stop working on weekends. In order to do that they must define what constitutes work for them and what they will do with their time instead. If a client is not clear about a change they wish to make, the change will not take hold and the client will feel as if they have failed.
Step 5 – Try Something New
Talking about change is only the precursor to enacting a change. The client should take what they have resolved to do in coaching and integrate those changes into their daily routine. The client needs to have a chance to see what the change means when implemented in their life and whether that helps them toward the longer-term vision they desire to achieve. If the client does not take action and does not start creating integration, no forward momentum is possible.
Step 6 – Evaluate and Repeat
Not all changes will be effective. The client will be responsible for evaluating the effects of their changed behavior and deciding if that is helping them toward their long-term goals or only putting a band-aid on the source of discontent. The process of evaluating and sharing their observations is crucial in continuing to build an integrated life.
Finding Integration Creating a More Well-Rounded Integrated Life
If one area of our life is out of balance, that will inevitably leak into other areas of our life. This model is designed to help clients live a life where their work, family, health, and passions are an integrated whole.
Creating a more well-rounded, integrated life takes time and a willingness on the part of the client to do the work. Even once things improve for the client, they must continue to work and use the tools acquired in their coaching process to maintain their progress.
This model will equip coaches to guide clients to a more integrated life and empower coaches to equip their clients with the tools they need to maintain it.