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July 7, 2022 Liadan Gunter

Life Coaching Topics to Bring to Your Next Life Coaching Session

Sometimes, it may feel like there’s nowhere to turn. Everything piles up, and suddenly it feels like you’re in a cluttered room with books stacked up every which way, where the drawers are all open and disorganized, the kettle is boiling, the kids are screaming, and you just put shaving cream on the ice cream instead of whip cream. “How did the shaving cream even get in the kitchen?” You may ask yourself. Never mind that—you’re so tired that you can’t even begin to imagine.

Can you relate? Life has this way of overwhelming us. Or on the other hand, life may feel like it’s just plugging along. The days start to blur together, and suddenly you wake up one day and wonder: where’s all the time going, and is this really my life? Things aren’t bad, but they’re not good either.
I like to call this the in-between. Or perhaps, things are relatively good, but you have a few areas you’re struggling to work through right now. Let’s call this group the specific focus-ers. Then, of course, we have the “everything’s going well-ers”. Some may call them the winners of the bunch. On the outside, everything is going well; great job, great family, great relationship, fulfilling hobbies. They’re so happy that, perhaps, they’re scared. Scared to lose it. Scared for the days when things don’t go right anymore.

You see, we’re all battling something—even when it seems like we’re not. This means that there’s always a place in our lives where we can benefit from receiving support. I’m a big believer that it’s best to train before you have a crisis. Would you run a marathon without any training? This will allow you to be better prepared when you have one versus starting completely from scratch amidst a crisis. Having support in place before things go awry also ensures that when things may hit the fan, you already have the proper support available. This is where life coaching comes in.

Having a life coach can serve as another means of support in your life. This support can help you maintain physical and mental health, ward off stress, and even reduce depression and anxiety. People who have strong support systems in place in their lives are more likely to achieve their goals and report better wellbeing. This is why the support of a life coach can make it more likely that you make changes in your life and be a total game-changer.

“But what can I talk about with a life coach?” You may be wondering.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Life Coaching Session

First, take stock of what state your life is in. Do you remember the four groups that I mentioned above? Ask yourself where you fall on that spectrum from being completely overwhelmed to everything is going great.

  • Are you completely overwhelmed?
  • Or are things going pretty well?
  • Are you a “going well-er”?
  • Or do you feel like you’re just plugging along?
  • Are things mostly going well, but you have a few areas you’re interested in working on?

The first step to knowing what to bring to a life coaching session is to consider where you’re at in your life right now.

I’d like to note that you may not completely fall into just one of those categories. Perhaps you sometimes feel overwhelmed, but most of the time you feel like things are going pretty well. That’s alright, and is completely normal to slide in and out of these categories depending on life events. The important thing here is that you know where you’re starting from. Start from where you’re at, and from there you can envision where you want to be.

All of this being said, regardless of where you’re starting from, life coaching is holistic, and anyone at any stage may benefit from discussing all of these topics at different times. Therefore, the second step is to choose topics in accordance with your current needs. You can assess your needs by identifying what state your life is in, in addition to assessing the areas that make up your life and how they are going.

To assess the areas that make up your life you can ask yourself the following types of questions:

  • Are you working? Or would you like to be working?
  • Do you have a fear that you can’t seem to shake that’s affecting your life?
  • Do you have some unresolved feelings that you’d like support and tools to work through?
  • Are you trying to learn something new?
  • Consider your routines. How are they going? Do you want to improve them?
  • How are you sleeping?
  • What people are part of your social circle?
  • How are those relationships going?

It’s this combination between life state and the state of the areas that make up your life that you can unravel topics that you may bring to your coach to work on.

The rest of this article provides life coaching topic inspiration based on your stage of life and current needs. Feel free to jump to the section that best applies to your current life situation.

  1. Topics for the Overwhelm-ers
  2. Topics for the Inbetween-ers
  3. Topics for the Specific Focus-ers
  4. Topics for the Going Well-ers
  5. Topics for Work-Life Balance
  6. Topics for Struggles with Mental Health
  7. Topics for Employees and Managers
  8. Topics for Parents

Topics for the Overwhlem-ers

Things get really tricky when we’re in a state of overwhelm. This can lead to many areas of our lives being compromised. If you feel overwhelmed, start by discussing your stressors. If you can identify yourself as feeling overwhelmed, that’s the first step in tackling it. In fact, this is a great topic to bring into your session.

You may simply tell your coach that you’re feeling overwhelmed. Your coach will know what kind of questions to ask you to reveal what those trigger points are for you. Perhaps you already know; feel free to share those topics with your coach, but if you don’t, your coach will help you discover where the source of the overwhelm is coming from. Some topics you may benefit from discussing with your coach are what specifically is causing this overwhelm and stress, and how it’s directly impacting specific areas of your life. If you’re unsure about what is overwhelming you, you may find it useful to talk about areas in your life where you are struggling.

An interesting topic to bring up is also where you would like to be. Consider talking to your coach about what you would like your life to look like.

  • If your current circumstances aren’t working, what could work better?
  • What do you fantasize about your life looking like?

These are great topic to bring up with your coach as it provides a roadmap to where you would like to go. This can help you when working with your coach to make changes. Once you have an idea of where you would like to go or what kind of life you would like to have, you can create goals to make those changes.

It sounds so easy when putting like that right? I don’t mean to make it seem as if it’s not terribly challenging to put this all into practice. It is challenging, but this is precisely why having a life coach is so beneficial. You can show up to a session with even just the smallest amount of awareness like “right now I am overwhelmed, but I don’t want to be overwhelmed anymore.”

The goal of bringing topics to life coaching is to give your coach a starting place to help you from. Your coach will help you figure out what topics may be helpful for you through utilizing a series of questions, even if you aren’t sure of what topics to bring up. However, it’s always useful to have some topics in mind already.

You may also benefit from analyzing the state. If you’re overwhelmed, it’s important to examine your lifestyle. Are you eating the right foods and sleeping enough each night? Lack of nutrition and a lack of sleep can cause a myriad of issues, so if you notice you’re overwhelmed, talk to your coach about your lifestyle. Additionally, talk to your coach about your responsibilities. Who relies on you? What kind of pressure is put on you either by others or yourself?

Topics for the Inbetween-ers

Do you feel like your life is just steadily moving along? Nothing is wrong, but you’re not inspired, or you’ve lost your sense of excitement. What if things could be exceedingly great? If you identify with this category, I want you to know that it’s completely normal. Life can become routine. We can feel like it’s all pretty much figured out, and life becomes predictable. For you, it could be useful to talk to your life coach about what this means to you.

  • How does this predictability make you feel? What do you wish were different, if anything?

I’d urge you to talk about this lack of inspiration with your life coach. Think about what truly inspires you.

  • Have you gone after your dreams? Talk to your coach about what your dreams are.
  • If you don’t have dreams now, what were they when you were younger?

Talk about the components that make up your life. Discuss which ones are serving you, and which ones aren’t.

  • What makes you happy and excited?

Discuss a time when you felt inspired and motivated.

  • What did it look like?
  • What was different then compared to now?

Talk to your coach about what you would like your life to look like.

  • Would you like to wake up excited every day ready to take on the day? Or are you content with things the way they are?

Discuss your fears.

  • What are you afraid of?
  • Is it of things staying the same, or of them changing?
  • Do you have fears that hold you back? What holds you back?

Talk to your coach about the relationship you have with yourself.

  • Are you in a good place with yourself?
  • Do you possess any limiting beliefs that keep you from going after a life that fills you up? If so, where do they come from?
  • Talk about your childhood. What was it like?

It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to these questions; this is also the point of coaching—to help you find answers to questions you may not have asked yourself that you are in need of asking. These are some areas to get you thinking. When we go into a coaching session, we may think we go in with one idea in mind: “life is just plugging along,” but what you will find is that you can leave having uncovered the depths of yourself that have accepted this life you are living. Here you have the chance to uncover why that is.

Topics for the Specific Focus-ersLife Coaching Topics to Bring to Your Next Life Coaching Session - woman video chatting a life coach on a video call at dining room table

In some ways, this is an advantage because you already know what you’d like to focus on. Dive right in! Bring these topics to the surface. Perhaps you’re having relationship troubles and need some help navigating it. Maybe you’re unhappy at work and want to change jobs, but you don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you want to become a better public speaker, but you have stage fright.

Bring these areas of focus to center stage. This doesn’t just mean: become a better public speaker despite my stage fright. It actually means exploring your fear of speaking in front of others. With your coach, you can unpack that fear.

  • Where did your fear start?
  • What helped it develop?
  • What keeps that fear in place?

Often, we have a fear of public speaking, and we think it’s just that. But what you’ll discover with coaching is that perhaps it’s not that simple. Perhaps it’s actually a fear of judgment. A fear of looking stupid. Together with your coach you can discover what the real meaning behind this fear is so that you can move past it. That’s how you will overcome it and be able to then begin the technical side of improving public speaking skills.

  • Talk about your career.
  • Discuss your family.
  • How is your routine serving you?
  • What was your childhood like?

Whatever your focus may be, your coach will look at it in relation to the rest of your life. So, when bringing an area to discuss with your coach, be prepared to look at it from many angles.

Topics for the Going Well-ers

If you find yourself in this category, you may think that you don’t really need a life coach or support. Believe it or not, there are still a bunch of things you can uncover with your coach. It’s not just for when things aren’t going well. This is when you can use the space to work on things you want to get even better at. Or explore areas that need more healing. The truth is: no matter how much we’ve got it all together, there’s always work to be done. We’re never done growing.

Many runners that run long distances think that when you get to a part of the race where the conditions are on a down slope, you should run slowly to give your body a break. What is better is to use that assistance of the easier terrain to make up speed. That’s when you should push it because you’re able to go further and make more progress as you have less resistance in the terrain.

Apply this principle to your life. When you’re amid a struggle or a crisis, take a family member’s death, or a divorce, it’s much hard to work through things in those states because you’re so grief-stricken. All of your energy goes towards simply getting through the grief. Therefore, it’s important to work on ourselves even when we’re not dealing with obvious or tangible issues at the moment but work on ourselves even when things are going well to make it easier on us when we are burdened by challenges.

  • Talk to your life coach about what is going well. Why is it going well?
  • What does this experience bring to your life?
  • Does it remind you of times when your life wasn’t going too well?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What would you like to make more of?
  • Are there things you’re still striving for?
  • Talk about what you want your life to look like in the future. It’s great now, how can you make it even greater in the future?

This is also a good time to maybe explore areas of your past that have been troublesome. Perhaps you battled depression or suffered an injury. Maybe you have unresolved feelings from your childhood that come up from time to time. This is a great time to evaluate your internal world.

  • How do you speak to yourself?
  • Talk to your coach about your internal dialogue and how you relate to yourself.
  • Talk about what happens when things aren’t going so well. Does that inner dialogue shift?
  • If so, why is that?
  • Talk about your core beliefs. Why do you believe them?
  • Discuss if your core beliefs are serving you or not.

Topics for Work-Life Balance

Another area you can consider discussing with your coach is work-life balance. Talk to your coach about your work experience.

  • Do you work overtime?
  • What kind of pressures are you facing at work?
  • What do you do in your personal life?
  • What’s important to you (in your work and personal life)?
  • What pressures do you face in your personal life?
  • How do you prioritize these pressures?
  • How would you describe your relationship with work?
  • How does work impact your identity and self-confidence?
  • Do you poor extra time into work even when you don’t need to?
  • Do you think you do need to? Where do these beliefs come from?
  • What are your beliefs about work?
  • How did your family influence these beliefs?
  • Did both of your parents work? Or did just your father, or your mother?
  • What beliefs did their role modeling engrain in you?

Talk about how you view your personal life as well. This will help you get insight into your relationship with work and your work-life balance. Your personal life is important understand because sometimes we pour more time and energy into our work because we are struggling in our personal lives. It’s a form of avoidance.

  • Is it important to you to have a rich personal life?
  • How do you feel in your personal life?
  • Think about if you are avoiding something if you pour extra energy into work.
  • What are your beliefs around having a rich personal life?
  • What was modeled for you growing up?
  • What did your family’s work-life balance look like?

Often, our family’s work-life balance habits influence how we end up structuring our lives.

Maybe you struggle to prioritize work, and you prioritize your personal life too much. Ask yourself:

  • Are you getting complaints from your managers about not putting in enough time at work?
  • Are you missing deadlines?
  • Are you procrastinating?

Talk to your coach about how you experience your working environment. This can shed light on your belief systems surrounding work.

  • Do you feel safe in it?
  • Or do you feel like you want to leave every chance you get?
  • Is it just this work environment, or is it all work environments?

Our families often influence how we view work ourselves. Alternatively, if we are struggling to prioritize work, or are avoiding work, it can be an indicator that something is troubling us with our work. Talk to your coach about what you like and dislike about your current job.

  • How did your family discuss work and career while you were growing up?
  • Did they build it up, or tear it down?

All these factors can influence how you balance your personal and work life. It’s not as simple as just making time for both, but examining the ideologies you have about work and your personal life. It’s challenging these beliefs and working to create a balance that is truly in alignment with you. Get clear on what a healthy balance looks like to you. Your coach can help you discover this.

Topics for Struggles with Mental Health

While a coach can’t diagnose mental health conditions, a coach can help support you in managing your mental health. Feel free to still bring up topics surrounding your mental health. Talk to your coach about what you’re struggling with.

• Is it anxiety?
• Is it depression?

Talk about your diagnosis or struggles with your coach, and how it’s impacting you. It’s helpful for your coach to have a full picture of you and your life so that they can best support you.

Feel free to talk about some of the beliefs you have because of your mental illness. Perhaps you are depressed and have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Maybe you feel uninspired and that nothing will ever get better. Your coach can be there to support you in talking through some of these things and help you in changing these narratives. Again, coaches are not therapists, but they can be there as a sounding board to support you as you navigate these lows.

Perhaps you’re facing anxiety and are worried about an upcoming event. Perhaps you have to give a speech at a wedding, and you’re worried you’ll say the wrong thing, or that perhaps people will judge you. Talk to your coach about these worries. They can help you sort through these worries and reframe them.

I also recommend talking to your coach about your lifestyle. When someone is battling a mental illness, it can just be a feat to get out of bed in the morning.

Talk to your coach about how you can add positive things into your routine to help support your wellbeing and mental health. It’s okay if you struggle—this is what your coach is here for—hear you out, to encourage you, and to inspire you to take those difficult steps to support your mental wellbeing.

The most important thing to remember is that your coach is not here to judge you. If you are worried about sharing a mental health concern, just know that coaching is a safe place for you to show up as you are. It’s a place for you to get the help you need right in your current mental state. So, you missed all your workouts this week and didn’t follow your diet. Your coach isn’t there to judge this! Your coach is there to help you work through this, to help you identify why you couldn’t do it this week. Come as you are. Your coach will be there.

Topics for Employees and Managers

So, you’re a manager, or you’re an employee, and you want to become better. Not just better, but the best employee or manager that you can be. Topics that can be useful for you to cover with your coach can range from your performance and productivity to your confidence. I would suggest starting by talking to your coach about your performance at work.

  • How productive are you?
  • What kind of feedback are you receiving?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Do you agree with the feedback you receive?
  • What is your personal perception of your work?

Talk about what your career goals are.

  • What are your beliefs about your work? Talk about them, and how you feel at work.
  • What are you confident in?
  • What are you lacking confidence in?

Talk about your relationships at work.

  • Do you get along with your colleagues?
  • How do you feel as a manager?
  • Do you feel like you can lead with authority?

Talk about how you feel as a leader. Talk about your beliefs in yourself as a leader. Discuss when you have been a leader in your life.

  • When did it go well, and when didn’t it go well?
  • What did those experiences teach you about yourself?

Examine your relationship with your abilities. Talk to your coach about them.

  • What do you think you’re good at?
  • What do you think you need to work on?

Try to create goals with your coach in accordance with where you’d like to take your career.

Talk to your coach about how it’s going with your current team.

  • How are you doing in your current position?
  • In which areas are you feeling overwhelmed?
  • Are there areas you feel you’re exceeding in?

Topics for Parents

Talk to your coach about your children.

  • How many do you have?
  • Would you like more children?
  • Are you a stay-at-home parent?
  • Are you working full time?

Talking about how you feel about how you are showing up in your child’s lives can uncover a lot of challenges.

  • What’s hard about parenting for you? What’s easy?

Discuss how your parents raised you, what you liked about it, and what you didn’t like about it. Compare that to how you’re raising your kids.

  • Are you the parent you want to be? If not, how would you like to be different?

Talk about the stresses you’re facing with parenting.

  • Do you feel worn out?
  • Do you have time for yourself?

Talk about how you are caring for yourself. Talk about areas that you’re neglecting with yourself because of your parental responsibilities. Discuss how you can manage it.

Talk about your relationships with your co-parent, if you have one. You may find it useful to discuss your relationship with your partner in-depth with your coach.

  • Are you still together? Are you separated?
  • How is your dynamic?
  • Are you taking enough time together (where appropriately applicable)? What makes you happy about it, and what struggles are you facing?

Talk about your conflicts and your attachment. Your coach will likely refer you to some self-assessments where you can uncover your attachment style, conflict style, and even your love language. Discuss these topics with your coach.

Finally, discuss the relationship you have with yourself with your coach.

The relationship you have with yourself will determine the relationships you have with everyone in your life. It undoubtedly will affect your partner and your children. Feel free to share about it. Are you happy with yourself? What areas are you struggling to accept about yourself? Often with parenting, your child becomes a mirror for you. It helps you see areas you need to work on. Talk to your coach about what you see in that mirror. What comes up for you?

To conclude these lists, I’d like to say that you’re doing great. Being open and beginning to ask yourself these questions and explore these topics with your coach shows how much you care about yourself and your development. These topics are just suggestions of what you can bring to your coaching sessions. Feel free to use them as inspiration if you’re stuck, or even as a guide if you like to ask yourself tough questions. Coaching can allow you to explore yourself and make the changes you are hoping to see in your life. All it takes is knowing where to start and a little courage to dive in. I hope this post helps you on your journey. So, what will your next move be?

 

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Disclaimer

By participating in/reading the service/website/blog/email series on this website, you acknowledge that this is a personal website/blog and is for informational purposes and should not be seen as mental health care advice. You should consult with a licensed professional before you rely on this website/blog’s information. All things written on this website should not be seen as therapy treatment and should not take the place of therapy or any other health care or mental health advice. Always seek the advice of a mental health care professional or physician. The content on this blog is not meant to and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Liadan Gunter

Liadan Maire Gunter is a Coach, Behavioral Scientist, and Founder of The Rewiring Lens.

She is trained in neuroscience, psychology, and anthropology, before creating her own path in the field of self-development.

At Nivati, she works as a life coach and content writer where she bridges the gap between science and self-development.

She also runs a company, The Rewiring Lens, aimed at bringing science-backed tools designed to rewire people’s brains so that they can create their best selves. There she co-hosts a podcast on the same subject.

Liadan speaks three languages (English, Spanish, Italian), and has lived in 5 countries, and worked in 5 others. She holds a Bachelor’s in Neuroscience from Boston University, and a Master's in Behavior and Cognition with a specialization in Neuroscience and Primatology from Universitat de Barcelona.

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