According to their websites, life coaches claim to help people cope with stressful situations by “building empathy” through the use of humor or “learning how to express your emotions in new ways,” the website explains.
These can include situations in which the person with a physical or mental ailment is making a big deal about something but the “coach can provide a healthy, fun way to share their opinion by explaining the issue without getting in the way of the athlete’s ability to cope” the website says.
Many coaches use the concept of “coaching through resistance” to help an athlete take control of their environment, such as by using exercises to build muscle tone or by using specific techniques to reduce pain. There are also techniques from the “psychology of sports” which can help in this regard, though many coaches do not use these in their workouts.
Some experts say that there is no scientific evidence to prove that life-coaching helps people handle stressful situations better.
“In terms of [coaching through resistance], I don’t think it’s ever going to be proven in the long run that it works. There is this whole scientific community that has been studying this issue for as long as I can remember,” said Dr. Peter Gomes of University of Southern California.
“What seems to work is getting the athlete to understand that they are going to do something different than they normally would in the face of stress so you know if they start to get frustrated, for example they might take a step back to think about it and say this situation is different than it usually is.”
However, there are some experts who say that life coaches should be used to help athletes deal with problems not caused by their injuries:
“Yes, some coaches do things differently for particular situations or the body’s reactions to stress. But that’s not what we’re talking about,” explained Dr. Alan Gossamer. He is a medical doctor who teaches and works in elite sport psychology in Chicago and has studied the use of life coaching in sports like sports psychology and performance coaching.
“I’m not aware of any studies that have examined if life coaching works in situations that aren’t caused by an injury. I don’t see that people use life coaching to cope well with situations that aren’t caused by sports injuries. At least in my experience, people used it as part of coaching and that’s fine.”
Gossamer also told CBS News that he believes athletes should approach their coach with
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