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The Coaching Link will write a bimonthly column for Shanghai Expat.  

Check back every other Monday to read about ways to apply coaching to your daily life!

When people ask me to describe Shanghai, I often compare the city to a teenager. It is still finding its identity, exploring what mix of old and new to incorporate and doing things that make its parent shake his head. Shanghai has angst-filled growing pains and tries to assert itself as an individual.

What do I do next? Who I am when I am out of my comfort zone?  How do I find someone that gets me? 

In some ways, the people drawn to this city ask themselves many of the same questions.  How many people do you know that plan to retire in Shanghai? Exactly. Whether China is your home or host country, this is a city of people in transition. 

Asking powerful questions to get real answers

I am a personal and professional coach. Coaching helps individuals to gain clarity by asking powerful questions and providing a sounding board to reflect back what they are expressing as they consider the situation from a new perspective. Coaching helps clients to reach their full potential and achieve goals in an accelerated way.

Coaching operates on the assumption that the answer lies within the client.  In a coaching relationship, the coach partners with the individual as they explore together to find what those answers are. The coach stays curious and asks questions that allow the individual to examine the topic through a different lens.  

Solution-focused coaching is a tool that helps individuals set goals and identify ways to use their strengths as they engage in self-directed, self-initiated change. Coaching conversations offer a space that is free of judgment where individuals can discuss topics that they want clarity around. 

What coaching is and is not

Disclaimer: I don’t have the answers. You look at yourself in the mirror everyday. If I were to tell you that I know what you look like better than you do, I would be lying. As a coach, I can hold the mirror in a new way and ask questions that make you realize you should invest in better lighting or put in your contact lenses, but you come to those conclusions, not me.

Coaching is the spark plug that can get you from here to there. You have goals and vision, but may have difficulty organizing your action plan. The ‘A-ha!’ moments that come from coaching can help move you to action or realize the piece you’ve been missing that’s been right in front of you.  However, coaching isn’t all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes, it’s the kick in the shins that makes you stop and honestly take a look at what you are doing to contribute to your current situation and what you need to do if you want to change.  

This column will feature topics relevant to you, the Shanghai Expat, and ask coaching questions that will help you to reflect on where you are and where you can be.